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The Truck Chronicles, Part 2
Getting into an accident with a big truck can be a harrowing experience, as the truck is so much bigger than one's car. But how about tangling with a big rig as a pedestrian? That can be even more overwhelming. Is there any way to sort out the situation short of a multi-million dollar settlement?
This is Part 2 of The Truck Chronicles, stories from truck accident adjusters from David Morse & Associates (http://www.davidmorse.com), and how they have resolved truck accident claims by helping people and finding out the truth. This one is from Ray Hemphill, truck adjuster from DM&A's Los Angeles office.
Big vs. Small = Stress
"My name is Ray and my job is going to the scene of truck accidents and resolving claims. I love this job and the great variety of experience it offers.
"I find that people who have been in accidents involving big rigs are often overwhelmed and frightened. Just the size of an 18-wheeler can put normally mild-mannered folks into a panic, ready to call an attorney. I weigh about 160, don't have a lot of hair left and am not at all intimidating. Often I am able to calm and reassure the claimant, get the facts and, if warranted, get him or her a fast and fair settlement. This is one of the pleasures of the job - helping normal folks get through a time of stress and helping my client by doing so.
"A good example of this particular aspect of the job was an incident involving a truck and a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Our driver made a right turn and didn't see the man crossing the street until the last second. The pedestrian threw up his hands as the truck screeched to a halt and he was knocked backwards, striking his head on the pavement.
"I was able to get there quickly and found the claimant sitting on a bench. He was a small man, didn't speak a lot of English, and was a bit timid. The police had arrived, completed their interview and now the locals were surrounding him, attempting to get him to an attorney. I got the police to back the locals off and took his statement. He said he was not injured. At about this time, the paramedics showed up along with a hook-and-ladder fire engine, making a huge racket. Our claimant would have nothing to do with them and refused transport. He had already had more than his fill of huge, loud vehicles for the day.
"To me it was obvious that I was not done here. I could see he was concerned. Left alone, worried, he could have easily fallen into the hands of those who would seek to profit from his stress. I asked if he would like to get checked out by a doctor and he said yes. I called my examiner who did not fully understand the nature of the situation and was puzzled by the request for a credit card number so that I could take him to the Emergency Room to be examined. Fortunately the Safety Director arrived on the scene about this time (the incident occurred within 30 miles of the truck depot). No questions from him about why I wanted to do this, and he had a company credit card.
"Our claimant drove with me to the nearest hospital Emergency Room. The fates were with us - it was midday and there was no wait. While he was examined the Safety Director and I tried to make arrangements to pay the bill as soon as the examination was complete. Sorry, that is just not within the realm of medical possibility in the 21st century. The bill must be processed, massaged, converted to secret code impenetrable to mortal man, treated with the appropriate escalations and multipliers and then - in the fullness of time - it must be sent to the patient's address.
"Arrgghh. This had been a major worry of the claimant as we drove to the hospital - he could not afford any medical bills. And of course I had assured him that we would be paying the bill on the spot.
"The examination was completed quickly and he received a bandaid and a clean bill of health. We explained that the hospital wouldn't let us pay that day but assured him that the minute the bill arrived he was to call the Safety Director or me. I handwrote a release that guaranteed we would handle the bill. He refused all cash for inconvenience, suffering or any other thing, and signed the release.
"Some weeks later, he called the Safety Director and together they went to the hospital and paid a bill for slightly over $2,000. He was healthy and very pleased with the outcome.
"This was a satisfying conclusion. An honest and very nice man got through a stressful situation. Our client avoided what could have been a significant exposure. And straightforward care for the person or persons involved in a truck accident once again proved its merit as a basis of operation."
Ray Hemphill, Los Angeles Truck Adjuster
Look for Part 3 of The Truck Chronicles coming soon.
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