You’re in an accident with another semi. The other driver admits fault, so you file a claim with their insurance company. The claims process should be easy, right? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
Even if the other driver’s insurance company agrees to fully repair your truck, they may not agree to pay all of your other losses. The biggest loss you may have as an owner operator is the loss of income while your truck is being repaired. With today’s delayed parts, repair times are longer and it’s easy to get upside-down financially.
Facing the fallout of a not-at-fault trucking accident and the related insurance claim can be challenging. Here are five important things you need to know to navigate the process and get your finances back on track:
1. Document Everything:
Immediately after the accident, document all the relevant details. It’s up to you to prove the other driver was at fault. Take photos and videos of the accident scene, both vehicles’ damages, license plates, and any visible injuries. If safe to do so, speak with any eye witnesses about providing statements about the accident. Make sure to get their contact information for later communication.
2. Seek Medical Attention:
Even if you don’t feel seriously injured, seek medical attention after an accident. Some injuries may not be apparent right away, and having medical treatment can strengthen your claim. Be sure to keep accurate records of all medical visits, bills, and expenses.
3. File a Claim with the Other Party’s Insurance Company:
Even if the other driver admitted fault, their insurance company may not be as swift at handling the claim as you hope. Speed up the claim by being organized and prepared with all claim information, including accident details and any documentation you’ve gathered. Consistently follow up with the adjuster to ensure your claim progresses as quickly as possible.
If your claim relates to the repairs of trucking equipment and/or downtime losses, the claim will likely be handled by a property damage adjuster. If your claim relates to personal injuries, the claim will likely be handled by a bodily injury adjuster. Accidents with both property damage and bodily injury claims may have two adjusters assigned.
Your own insurance carrier may need to be involved in the process, especially if the other driver’s insurance is uncooperative. No owner operator likes to file a claim on their own policy, especially if not at fault. However, if the other driver’s insurance company is delaying payment, it may be a reasonable solution to getting equipment repaired and back on the road.
Hire Legal Counsel:
Being proactive and seeking legal advice may help to avoid becoming financially upside-down after a trucking accident. If the claims process is moving too slowly or you’re not receiving fair compensation on your own, consider hiring a lawyer experienced in helping owner operators with trucking accidents and claims.
Attorneys are trained to calculate losses, negotiate settlements, and review releases. Your attorney will advise you on each step so you don’t give up your rights to pursue any portion of your claim. It is best to find a trucking attorney who will listen to you, advocate on your behalf, and help negotiate a fair settlement.
If you’ve been the victim of an accident, Eckert & Associates, PA would like to discuss your case. Contact us at your earliest convenience for a free consultation. Please be aware: accident claims have limited amounts of time to pursue prior to the statute of limitation expiring.