By: Attorney Kelsea Eckert
A downtime claim happens when a truck is in an accident and unable to earn income. When it is the result of an accident that’s the other guy’s fault, most states allow for the victim to be paid lost income. If this has happened to you, don’t take no for an answer!
Below I have listed some questions I am often asked and some helpful responses to these same questions. If you would like to discuss any of these matters in more depth, please feel free to give me a call at our office. (904) 278-7688
Q: Why should I go out of my way to rent a truck while mine is in the shop? I’m the victim here!
A: It’s your responsibility to mitigate (or lessen) your damages. If you don’t, you may not be able to recover some or most of your losses.
Q: What if I can’t afford to rent a truck?
A: You should at least try several rental locations. Keep written proof of these attempts and denials. It will help you in court later.
Q: What if my motor carrier won’t let me rent a truck?
A: This is valuable evidence that you were unable to mitigate your damages. Be sure to get a letter from your motor carrier stating they don’t allow temporary rentals.
Q: What if I have specialized equipment that can’t be temporarily rented?
A: Contact several rental locations and ask them to send you a letter or an email stating they do not rent the type of equipment you need. Take photos of the specialized equipment and explain why the specialized equipment is necessary in your business.
Q: What if the cost of a rental does not make business sense?
A: You might need your bookkeeper or accountant’s help here. Show all the costs incorporated in the rental and how it would be impossible to make a profit because the costs are too high vs. the income that the rental could generate.
Q: If I can’t find a large enough truck or trailer, should I rent a smaller truck or trailer and run smaller loads even though they pay less?
A: If that makes business sense, do it. Your loss will be smaller and it will show the judge you made an honest attempt to mitigate your damages. Make sure you get proof in writing from rental companies that no large equipment was available.
Q: What if the other guy’s insurance company says it’s their company policy to not pay downtime claims?
A: Just because a company says that doesn’t make it the law of the land. If the case goes to court, the company ahs to do what the judge says, not what their company policy says.
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