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When a semitruck accident causes downtime claims for your business, what are the legal steps to take?

When an Accident Crashes into Your Business

Picture it: It’s nearly 6 o’clock in the evening, and the sunset is just beautiful—blanketed behind orange and pink hues. Your driver-side window is cracked, letting in the cool breeze from outside. You smile in appreciation; this morning your windows were frozen shut as you started in Duluth, Minnesota. You’re on the border of Missouri now, about 30 degrees warmer and boy, you are loving it! Just a few more hours and you’ll be at your final stop, and you cannot wait to unload your trailer and end your long day.

Staying Safe on the Road

The traffic hums alongside your tractor. You’ve kept your space in the right lane, avoiding all the cars rushing to get home from their workday. There’s an occasional pickup truck or sports car that swerves around you to get off the interstate, but you are constantly aware of what is going on around you. You’ve been an owner-operator since your early 20s and finally decided that you were financially capable of running your own authority—going strong for three years now! You were able to pay off your 2021 tractor, stay on top of your insurance bills, and keep your driving record clean. You’re tremendously proud of your work, as you should be!

Car Catastrophe

But, regardless of how perfectly you drive in your lane, an SUV misjudges the distance between the two of you, glides into your lane, and WHAM! Your headlight is shattered. Your fender is crushed. The front of your truck is completely impacted by the collision. This has never happened to you before. You know to pull over and put your hazards on. While you wait for the police to arrive to do their report, you realize that there’s so much devastation to the front of your truck, but what about underneath the hood?

Filing a Claim

The report is finished. Your truck is towed. You purchase a hotel room for the night and call your insurance immediately to file a claim. You know that you are not liable for the collision, and you know that there will be even more money taken from your pocket because of what happened, but what else can you do? You also know that you won’t be able to use your truck for at least a couple of weeks—and that’s if they have all the parts available! Man, what you thought was going to be an easy end to your week has turned into a complete nightmare. You have your business to run, and your family to feed. You ask your insurance how you are supposed to work without your truck. The representative says, “While you have physical damage insurance coverage to fix the truck, you didn’t select coverage for rental or downtime losses when you purchased your policy.”

Downtime? What is that?

Downtime is the period when your equipment is down after an accident and you aren’t making money. Based on business decisions, some owner-operators have downtime insurance coverage, and some don’t. Either way, when you’re in an accident and the other driver admits liability, consider filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance for both repairs and downtime.

What if the other insurance company will pay for repairs but won’t pay your lost profits? They may say it is your job to mitigate, or lessen your losses, by renting another vehicle or driving for another company. Unfortunately, that’s often easier said than done. If they refuse to pay your downtime, consider hiring a law firm to assist in negotiations and settlement of your claim. Eckert & Associates, PA helps owner-operators all over the nation recover from instances just like above. We gather the information regarding your incident, calculate your losses from when you were unable to work, and demand the adverse insurance company pay the losses. Our knowledgeable employees work quickly and efficiently to help get you back on your feet.