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Downtime – Don’t Take No for an Answer!

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.

 

The information provided on this site is general in nature and is not legal advice. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements. One of our goals is to assist you in making that decision by assuring that you know more about the law and the nature of legal issues which are of concern to you. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience.

What If the Other Side Doesn’t Believe They’re at Fault and Won’t Fix Your Truck?

By: Attorney Kelsea Eckert

Every Case has two steps: 1 – Proving liability (the other side is a fault), and 2 – Proving damages (your losses). If the other side doesn’t believe they are responsible, they aren’t going to pay for your repairs. In order to get rolling again, you might consider paying for your own repairs or filing a claim with your own insurance company for your equipment’s damages.  Once repaired and back on the road, you can proceed ageist the other side for your downtime and any repairs and out of pocket expenses that your own insurance company didn’t pay.  If the adverse doesn’t believe that are at fault, it will be important for you and your insurance company to prove that they were at fault. Proving liability may include you doing the following:

  1. Take pictures of the scene of the accident, as well as your truck and theirs.
  2. Preserve dash cam footage.
  3. Get names and contact information of eye witnesses.
  4. Find out if the other party was cited and what happened with that ticket.
  5. Hire an accident reconstructionist to prove how the accident happened.

As an owner-operator, you have right which vary from state to state. While this article does not give any legal advise, you do have the right to speak with an attorney about your downtime claim.  With the proper actions and attention to detail, it is possible to collect your compensation. We can help you with us. Call us at (904) 278-7688 for a free consultation.

 

The information provided on this site is general in nature and is not legal advice. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements. One of our goals is to assist you in making that decision by assuring that you know more about the law and the nature of legal issues which are of concern to you. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience.

Downtime Claims for the Owner Operator- Don’t Leave Money on the Table after an Accident

By: Attorney Kelsea Eckert

You’re properly parked at a rest stop and WHAM! Some new driver takes out the front of your cab while trying to park his rig.  With a sick feeling in your stomach, you know you’re going to be down for quite a while and it’s gong to cost you a lot of money.

Everything starts out fine.  The new driver has insurance and admits he’s at fault. His insurance company even agrees to pay for your repairs after some negotiation.  Your truck goes in the shop and 3 weeks later, you’re back on the road.  But what about your lost income while the truck was down?  Do you get compensated for that?

While some insurance companies and adverse parties will pay a fair amount of downtime, many won’t.  By following a few simple steps, you will have a better chance of collecting downtime and out of pocket expenses.

  1. Keep a diary (chronology) of everything you do related to the accident and everyone you speak with from the day you’re hit until your equipment is rolling again.
  2. Document all communication with the adverse party or their insurance company in writing through emails.
  3. Stay in constant contact with the repair shop and document the reason for delays.
  4. Keep your losses as small as possible by borrowing or renting other equipment while your equipment is down.
  5. If you can’t rent other equipment, prove why (specialized equipment, motor carrier won’t allow, etc.).

 

The information provided on this site is general in nature and is not legal advice. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements. One of our goals is to assist you in making that decision by assuring that you know more about the law and the nature of legal issues which are of concern to you. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience.

What’s Up with Downtime?

LandLine Magazine, July 2013

Can Your Business Survive a Not at Fault Accident?

Benton & Parker, March, 2012

Opinion: Owner-Operators, Keep Those Wheels Turning

Transport Topics, February, 2012

Downtime and Subrogation

Transport Topics, October, 2010

Downtime is a viable claim

Summer, 2010

But I thought I had Insurance!

Spring, 2010

Arbitration is OFTEN an option

Fall/Winter, 2009

Steps to Take if You Are in an Accident

Summer, 2009

Summer Newsletter – Arbitration

Spring, 2008

Steps to take if you’re in an accident.

Spring, 2008