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Exotic Loads and Downtime Claims

Some of our highest dollar cases are for clients who haul “exotic loads” – windmills, tankers, car haulers, oversized loads, houses, and government explosives. Many of these loads require permits as well as car escorts. What happens when these high dollar vehicles get in accidents?

Here’s One Example of an Exotic Load:

Jim and Sally are team drivers with their own truck and heavy-duty trailer. They specialize in hauling oversized loads that require permits and pilot cars.

During their recent haul of a large farm combine, a minivan blew through a red light and hit their truck. At the scene, they learned that the driver of the van was a 17-year-old kid with only $10,000 in liability insurance.

The semi sustained heavy damage, and the trailer and cargo were slightly damaged as well. The costs for clean-up, totaled equipment, and damaged cargo were over $100,000. Plus, the downtime losses of income were estimated to be another $50,000.

On the good side, Jim and Sally made it out without any personal injuries. But how were they going to recover their losses and get back to work?

Filing an Exotic Load Claim:

Begrudgingly, the couple filed a claim with their own insurance company. Their tractor was totaled for $75,000. Because of the truck model, it was going to be several months before it could be replaced. While they waited, they couldn’t earn income. Jim and Sally didn’t have any downtime insurance coverage, so they would have to pursue the other side for reimbursement. However, the teenager didn’t have enough insurance coverage, so what were they going to do?

Jim did some investigation and found that the van involved in the accident was actually owned by a grocery store, and it was being used for a delivery at the time of the accident. Through calls to the grocery store, he was able to locate their claims department. Jim filed a claim with the grocery store’s insurance company. Not surprisingly, the store had much larger limits of insurance than their teenage driver.

Jim and Sally filed their lost income documents proving their $50,000 downtime claim with the grocery store’s insurance company. After some time and a lot of effort, that insurance company paid the downtime claim.

Moral of the Story:

Make sure you locate insurance for both the driver and the owner of the at-fault vehicle.

Be aware: Never sign a release or cash a check from the adverse without reviewing it carefully. Because Jim and Sally filed a claim with their own insurance company, they had to be extra cautious. They made sure to not give up their own insurance company’s ability to pursue the other party for reimbursement of the $75,000 truck. This reimbursement is commonly called “subrogation” in the insurance world.

Eckert & Associates, PA is happy to speak with you about your heavy-haul claims. We welcome the opportunity to assist you in calculating your true losses and pursuing all of your transportation claims on your behalf.