Trucking Accidents In Washington & Oregon: Proving Owner/Operators Lost Income And Loss Of Use

Posted by Benjamin P. Melnick | Sep 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

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There are generally two types of trucking accidents. Many people think only of those where the semi causes catastrophic injury or death. A fully loaded tractor-trailer can be dangerous.  Those instances certainly exist, and they are worthy of special time and attention in their own right.

But what about when another driver hits a trucker? That happens, too. And those cases present some unique challenges.

Many of the truckers are owners/operators. They rely on their tractor and trailer to make their living. Without their equipment, their income can dry up. Some truck damage can take weeks or months to repair. The parts are not as easily available, and the specialized repair shops are not nearly as common as a typical auto body shop. 

Proving the lost income can be difficult. The damages fall under loss of use, and collecting them presents a whole different set of obstacles. 

Proving Lost Income

As an independent owner/operator, the amount of work can fluctuate. Who were the people or organizations assigning work? Did the hourly rate bill vary depending on the dispatcher? Can we calculate a reasonable past average of income, either on a yearly or monthly basis to establish what was lost? 

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Collecting The Damages

Did the driver who caused the collision have good insurance coverage? Did the trucker have uninsured or underinsured coverage? What about property damage coverage for both drivers? How much were the repair costs? What about diminished value? Was the trucker out of work due to physical injury, being without a vehicle, or some combination of the two? After all, if the injured trucker was out of work due to physical injury, that is bodily injury damages. However, if he was out and only waiting on repairs, that should be categorized as property damage. 

Experience Helps

Gathering the right information, making sense of the above questions, and using strategic arguments to maximize recovery for our clients is no easy task. Our office has experience handling these cases. Reach out for a free consultation.

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About the Author

Benjamin P. Melnick

Ben Melnick joined the firm in 2018. He graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor's degree in 2010, and went on to earn his Juris Doctorate from Gonzaga University School of Law. In 2016, he was named as the Clark County Bar Association's Rising Star. His practice focuses on personal injury, auto accidents, biking accidents, wrongful death, and insurance disputes. Outside work, Ben likes spend time with his wife outdoors—mostly running, hiking, and skiing—and playing soccer.

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