Posted in Truck Accidents on April 15, 2020
Most people are aware of the most common types of insurance for businesses and vehicles. Insurance provides protection for those who sustain a loss for one reason or another, whether an accident, natural disaster, or other major incident. Truck drivers can sometimes obtain coverage through what is known as a “downtime claim” to get reimbursed for any income they lose for the time while their truck is being repaired after an accident. This is similar to business interruption insurance. It is important to understand what a downtown claim is and whether or not a truck driver might qualify for this type of coverage.
When most people think of truck drivers, they think drivers all employed by larger companies and that these larger companies own the trucks that are being driven. However, a substantial percentage of truck drivers own their own trucks. These owner-operators typically do not work directly for a company, but contract with them to make deliveries of cargo. If these truck drivers are in an accident that damages their truck, this means that they are not making any money while the truck is getting repaired.
That is where downtime claims can be important. If a driver is eligible to file a downtown claim, they can get reimbursed for the losses they incur while the truck is being repaired. Downtime claims are typically filed against the at-fault party in an accident.
If the driver is entitled to make a downtime claim, they will need to be able to prove they have sustained losses. Proving these losses requires some investigation into the driver’s finances. First, a driver will look at their gross income over a certain time period before the accident occurred (as short as 90 days or as long as a year). They will then subtract expenses for things such as fuel, maintenance, tolls, etc.
Using this information, a driver can determine their daily net income by dividing the figure they calculated by the number of days they drove over that period (this data should be recorded in driving logs). Using the daily figure that was calculated, a driver can then calculate their total losses for each day the truck is out of commission due to repairs.
Drivers who wish to make a downtime claim will need to provide extensive documentation. This can include:
Along with the requirement that a person seeking a downtime claim was not at fault for the incident, they will also be required to mitigate their damages. This is a legal way of saying that they have worked to minimize their losses while the truck is being repaired. This can include taking actions such as trying to rent a replacement truck and taking no actions that would delay repairing or replacing the truck.
As with any insurance claim, a downtime claim can be incredibly difficult to prove. From demonstrating losses to showing mitigation of damages, a driver may not have the legal experience or resources necessary to properly prove their claim. To ensure maximum compensation, an affected driver should speak to an experienced truck accident lawyer about their downtime claim.
COVID-19 Update: Lawyers and staff are working both remotely and in the office to provide the best legal representation to our clients. If you need assistance, please call or contact us. We can do consultations over the phone or on a video conference. For referring attorneys, we’re still open for business and want to discuss partnering with you on your cases.