Got Rear Ended. Liable Drivers Insurance Not Paying.

Topic 29008 | Page 1

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Scarlett F.'s Comment
member avatar

Please help with facts! I am in a predicament with getting a settlement.

Here are the facts: (I’m a Hotshot driver) I had a 6 month contract with my company before the accident. I was rear ended. My truck got totaled. It was the other drivers fault 100% proved by the Police report. The rental trailer I towed with had a separate claim. They are companion claims now. The trailer company is suing the liable drivers insurance for $25k b/c of their trailer getting damaged. Their reasoning is they have a “Contract for the trailer to be used (after we rented it) already signed for before the accident”

The problem: The insurance company has paid off the truck (since it was totaled) and paid off other damages b/c of the wreck. BUT, they are “considering” paying our 6 month contract, BECAUSE apparently the 6 month contract that got terminated (because of our truck not being able to fulfill running for the company) “Wasn’t due to the driver hitting us...” So they aren’t paying it automatically, only “considering.”

The ONLY reason we were not to continue our contract was because of this driver that rear ended us and totaled our truck. They are saying even though they are paying everything else, they cannot pay “future wages lost” even though that truck was our entire business and we lost it due to THEIR DRIVER ERROR.

This makes no sense as they are paying our “lost wages” but not “future lost wages” The truck was our business, we “lost business and future wages.” Please Help.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Hi and sorry to hear of your issues. It is very frustrating being a business owner. And unfortunately these are the things that happen.

When it comes to liability coverage, the coverage has limits. So if the person's limit was $50,000..... Then you get $25k and $25k to the trailer company.... Regardless of what the actual damages are. Different states have different liability laws also, so the law in the state may prevent "future losses". Reason being? You have a contract, but that doesnt mean you wouldnt renege on it. It doesnt mean the company wouldnt terminate you contract for whatever reason.

I am assuming you didn't have much equity in the vehicle since you said it was paid off but didn't mention enough for a down payment on another truck???

That could be another reason for not paying the future contract. The accident prevented you from working until the insurance company paid...you prevented you from working by not buying another truck.

I know this is lnt what you want to hear.... But my family had an auto body for personal and CMV and that is what happens.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards
Joseph I.'s Comment
member avatar

I do not understand what you want exactly. If you got paid for the truck and the trailer and any damaged load got taken care of the insurance should not cover what your contract would have paid you in the future. The insurance money should replace your truck and keep you going. If you are using this accident to try and get out of this business you are not going to have much luck with that and should not.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

As Kearsey said - this depends on the policy limits of the LIABLE DRIVER.

Typically - the way this goes - you make a claim on YOUR INSURANCE - YOUR INSURANCE SETTLES WITH YOU - and then YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY goes after THE OTHER PERSONS INSURANCE (called subrogation).

YOUR LIABILITY COVERAGE DOES NOT COVER YOUR DAMAGES (loss of wages, permanent injury, etc.) - THIERS DOES.

Now - if you have UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE - that coverage would cover YOUR LOSSES that go OVER AND ABOVE what the other parties liability coverage pays. In today's world of uninsured/underinsured motorists, it's FOOLISH NOT TO CARRY UM.

Example: I own no property, have nothing to sue me for (collection proof), so I carry the minimum liability on my personal vehicles. Attorneys work on a contingency fee basis (they don't get paid, if the client doesn't) - so once you hit the $10K limit, the attorney is going to bow out, because there's NO $$ THERE FOR HIM. When I DID own property, I carried a $1Mil umbrella, to prevent my house from being at risk in a lawsuit.

To collect YOUR LOSSES - you either have to make a claim against YOUR UM - or SUE THE OTHER PARTY.

Now, personally (in a personal vehicle), in "not at fault accidents", I make my claim DIRECTLY AGAINST THE OTHER PARTIES INSURANCE - keeps me from having a claim ON MINE. They pay to repair my car, etc. This of course, is assuming THE OTHER PARTY HAS INSURANCE.

In your case - where the INCOME FROM YOUR CONTRACT IS LOST (lost wages), this goes against THE OTHER PARTIES LIABILITY - either by filing a claim DIRECTLY AGAINST THEM - or by GETTING A LAWYER AND SUING.

As a BUSINESS OWNER, since I assume you are a SUBCONTRACTOR to the hotshot company (1099, or paid to a corporate entity) - you could (should) have had some additional coverage, to cover loss of income. I'm assuming since you're a small businessperson doing hotshot - you probably didn't.

ALSO - as someone who is a SUBCONTRACTOR - I HOPE YOU RAN THIS AS A CORPORATION (Sub-S, LLC, etc.) and NOT UNDER YOUR OWN NAME. A corporation gives YOU SHIELDING FROM PERSONAL LIABILITY. If this accident was YOUR FAULT - and you DID NOT HAVE A CORPORATION - then YOU ARE PERSONALLY LIABLE (home, personal property, etc. - are ALL AT RISK). A corporation - they SUE THE CORPORATION (which, if you are smart has FEW ASSETS - AND A DECENT UMBRELLA LIABILITY COVERAGE), and you just SHUT DOWN THE CORP AND START A NEW ONE (don't hate - this is how the business world works).

In your case - because the insurance company "is considering" paying your future earnings - you either allow them to "consider it" - OR YOU GET A LAWYER to assist in their "consideration". Sadly - this is going to cost you 25-33% of your settlement (if you can find a lawyer that will do it on a "contingency fee basis").

You (also) should have taken out coverage ON THE TRAILER - since it ate into your liability claim. Even had you done that - the trailer insurance would have gone after the "at fault drivers" insurance (subrogation, again) - and this gets done on a "first come/first paid" basis.

Those are pretty much your options.

This is a case of "lesson learned" - as far as what kind(s) of insurance coverage to maintain to CYA. We all think of insurance as a PITA waste of $$ - until we NEED IT. Health Insurance, Homeowners, High $$ Coverage on vehicles - what a waste of $$ - UNTIL YOU NEED IT.

Rick

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Yeah... NJ is really weird. Get this...

My sister was a passenger in a car that was rear ended. Because she was under 21 and deeite NOT having a driver's license....and NOT being on my mothers car insurance... My mother's car insurance had to sue the driver of her vehicle...and the driver of her vehicle had to sue the other person's insurance.

Also...Tort laws are different in every state. In NJ to be able to sue for pain and suffering you have to pay an exorbitant amount of extra coverage. Know your laws before you get into business.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Insurance payouts typically only serve to make you "whole", as in paying you for what you lost. Yes you lost your truck and the ability to make money in the interim between the accident and truck replacement, and you should be paid for that. But losing the contract doesn't prevent you from getting another contract after you replace the truck.

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