How to protect yourself before, during and after a crash

December 2, 2021

SJ Munoz

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Sometimes a crash is unavoidable. So what should you do if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation?

Live From Exit 24” host Mike Matousek and OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh welcomed Jennifer Harris and Gary Wright from the OOIDA Claims Department to explain on the Dec. 1 show.

The discussion started with dash cams, which can help prove your side of the story should a crash occur.

“I think they are a great idea because they show exactly what happened,” Wright said. “The dash cam can show who’s innocent. Some insurance companies take some part of the deductible off if the dash cam captures a strike. So it might save you some money in the long run.”

Listen to ‘Live From Exit 24’

 

This has led to an increase in the use of dashcams, Harris said.

“We definitely are seeing more people use them, and since dashcams came out we’re seeing things change,” Harris said. “The old assumption was when there was a crash involving a truck fingers were pointed at the trucker. Now, they’re being disproved by dash cameras. It’s really helped out a lot.”

Documenting your load with photographs is another preventative measure drivers can take, Pugh said.

“One thing I did when I was driving was that if I loaded something and it didn’t look right or I wasn’t happy with something I would take pictures right there,” Pugh said.

A big issue with cargo is securement, and pictures can help drivers prevent a claim, Harris said.

“Ultimately, it’s the driver-carrier’s responsibility to make sure everything is secured properly,” Harris said. “If you have any issues at the shippers you should take a picture, but also notify them. If you have a broker you should notify them as well before you leave.”

Knowing your rights and how to handle a claim is critical information for every driver, and that’s where OOIDA’s Claims Department comes in.

“The biggest part of my job is to fight for the rights of truckers,” Harris said. “If they have an issue that might not even merit a claim, I will still help them with it. I’ll call and fight on their behalf.”

So, what questions should a driver ask?

“We get calls where people don’t know what coverage they have or what their insurance is,” Wright said. “Supplemental tow coverage, rental reimbursement and supplemental downtime are what people need to find out that they have. All those eventually will cost the owner-operator money down the line.”

A lack of adequate coverage is something the Claims Department sees often.

“It’s a problem that I see a lot,” Harris said. “The brokers are fully aware of how much coverage they have because they get the certificate of insurance. But, they’re loading them with cargo that’s valued well beyond what they are covered for.”

Many times drivers simply don’t think about any of these issues until something happens, Pugh said.

Not to mention the amount of time it takes for a claim to be resolved can greatly affect your business.

“It’s going to depend on when the paperwork is submitted,” Harris said. “For us, as soon as we get the paperwork we settle the claim that day, but you have up to nine months to file a claim. I’ve seen instances where a receiver has made a notation on a bill of lading that there was a shortage or some damaged product. The broker will just hold the carrier’s pay at that point and say they’re waiting for the customer to file a claim. So, it could be up to nine months before the customer files that claim.”

Fortunately, not only is the Claims Department here to assist your needs, but OOIDA’s Truck to Success is a great opportunity to educate yourself on these issues and everything in between.

OOIDA talk show

“Live From Exit 24” is scheduled for 7 p.m. Central every other Wednesday. Listeners can tune in to the show on the “Live From Exit 24” website, OOIDA Facebook page or on OOIDA’s YouTube channel. The next episode airs Wednesday, Dec. 15.

Survey

“Live From Exit 24” launched as a way to expand OOIDA’s communication with members and to hear directly from drivers across the industry. OOIDA is asking for truck drivers to fill out a survey to let the Association know how you are liking the show so far. Help guide what’s addressed during the program. The survey is here. LL

 

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SJ Munoz is the newest edition to the Land Line Media team. He brings a variety of skills to the job as he has experience as a reporter, photographer and in radio. He’s also written for Omaha Magazine, the Lawrence Journal-World, and PrepsKC.com.