Rescue Your Revenue

The Ultimate Guide to Securing Downtime Claims and Lost Income Compensation for Truckers

By W. Kelsea Eckert, Attorney at Law
Posted Jun 1st 2023 12:10PM

Are you a trucker facing downtime after an accident and struggling to find a way to secure lost income compensation? Look no further, because in this blog post, we're going to introduce you to thoughts from Attorney Kelsea Eckert, who has made it her mission to help truckers recover financially after an accident.

Kelsea is a transportation attorney with Eckert & Associates, P.A. The firm handles downtime and property damage claims across the country. She and her staff’s experience in the transportation industry gives the firm a unique insight into the challenges faced by truckers, especially owner-operators and small fleets. She's here to share her expertise on pursuing downtime claims and obtaining the compensation you deserve.

In this post, we'll explore why it's essential to have an attorney focused on transportation law on speed dial, and suggested tips for protecting yourself against bad drivers, difficult insurance companies, and uninsured motorists. Don't miss out on this valuable information. We hope this information helps you get back on the road and secure the compensation you deserve.

Pursuing Downtime Claims and Lost Income Compensation as a Trucker

As a truck driver, your livelihood depends on being out on the road. As they say, “If the wheels ain’t turnin’, I ain’t earnin’!” So, when a traffic accident occurs, it may have serious implications for your personal and professional life. Knowing how to effectively pursue the necessary repairs and related lost income compensation can make all the difference in getting back on the road quickly, with the financial support needed to recover.. In this blog post, we will discuss the crucial steps you need to take to achieve a fair settlement and help you protect your financial future.

1. Understand downtime claims and their importance.

When it comes to downtime claims, understanding the key factors that influence the claims process can also help truckers maximize their compensation. These factors typically include the adverse party's coverage limits, the extent of your equipment damage, and the duration of downtime due to the accident.

Ultimately, taking proactive steps to understand and address the importance of handling claims properly can minimize the impact of unforeseen events and ensure equipment gets back on the road as soon as possible.

2. Document the accident and gather evidence.

In the pursuit of a fair and just outcome after an accident, it is essential that truckers document every aspect of their case meticulously. This documentation should include relevant details as to liability, such as accident reports, eyewitness testimonies, dash cam footage, and photographs at the scene.

Building a strong case for payment of repairs and downtime compensation begins with proper documentation of the accident, but it is also crucial to keep track of and organize all documents and evidence throughout the claim process.

Maintaining meticulous records of income and expenses, repair costs, towing costs, rental fees, logs of miles driven, and other related expenses is crucial, as these documents serve as evidence to support the claim. Furthermore, it may be essential to follow certain instructions and deadlines suggested by the insurance company to ensure a smooth claims process and improve the chances of receiving fair compensation.

Staying organized and maintaining a comprehensive record of all relevant information will contribute to a stronger case and assist your attorney in effectively advocating for all of your losses. By staying proactive, truckers can mitigate the financial impact of an accident and get back on the road to recovery and financial stability.

3. Calculate your lost income due to the accident.

In order to accurately calculate lost income, truck drivers must maintain thorough records of their earnings both before and after the accident. These records may include several months' worth of earnings (or longer), as well as information like the number of miles driven, number of loads or trips completed, and rates paid.

Documentation of lost loads or other lost financial opportunities should also be collected. Gathering this information may seem overwhelming, but it is crucial in presenting a strong case.

Aside from the direct financial losses, truckers should also consider the long-term impacts on their business contracts, dedicated loads, and overall financial future. By taking a comprehensive approach to calculate lost income and working closely with your bookkeeper and attorney, you will be better able to receive adequate compensation of the losses endured due to the accident.

4. Consult with a transportation attorney.

Consider leveraging the knowledge and experience of a transportation attorney to pursue your claim. This is particularly valuable when dealing with adverse insurance adjusters and self-insured trucking companies. Some attorneys offer free consultations to discuss your claim and handle claims on a contingency fee basis.

Once hired, a transportation attorney can assist with gathering vital information and evidence and presenting a strong and compelling case. The goal may be to resolve the claim for the lost income and out of pocket expenses incurred without litigation if possible.

5. Purchase uninsured motorist coverage for protection.

Owner-operators and fleet owners should make it a priority to research and invest in comprehensive uninsured motorist coverage plans to ensure their businesses are adequately protected from the uncertainties of the road.

Ensuring sufficient uninsured motorist coverage helps protect from losses sustained by an uninsured driver. Knowing you have coverage in case of these situations can alleviate stress and allow you to focus on your business without worry of potential financial loss.

Discuss your insurance coverage with your insurance agent. Ask how much UM (Uninsured Motorist) coverage and how much UIM (UnderInsured Motorist) coverage you have for both Property Damage and Bodily Injury claims. These are often called UMPD, UIMPD, UMBI, and UIMBI.

6. File a claim with the responsible party's insurer.

In order to successfully file a claim with the responsible party's insurance company, a trucker must gather all necessary documentation that supports the property damage and downtime claim. This includes the police report, photographs of the accident and damages, repair invoices, and detailed records of lost income. Providing clear and organized documentation can go a long way in expediting the claim process and ensuring that all losses are included.

Different states have specific requirements and limitations on the types of damages which can be claimed. For instance, some states may only allow claims for lost income up to a certain time frame (statutes of limitation) or have caps on compensation amounts. By staying informed of these state-specific regulations, truckers can better advocate for themselves and ensure that the adverse party and their insurance company are held accountable for providing fair compensation.

7. Negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company.

Navigating the complex world of insurance claims and negotiations can be an overwhelming task while at the same time grappling with the aftermath of an accident. In addition to the detailed records of income and expenses needed to build a solid case for lost income, truckers should keep in mind that communication and professionalism are key to reaching a satisfactory outcome.

Although it may be tempting to express frustration with the insurance company or the other party involved in the accident, maintaining a calm demeanor and focusing on the facts will ultimately work in your favor.

If the negotiation process sounds daunting, contact an attorney experienced in negotiating insurance claims. That attorney can be your mouthpiece. With the right resources and a proactive approach, you may obtain a fair settlement that takes into account your lost income and helps to restore your financial stability.

8. Consider legal action if the settlement is insufficient.

Transportation lawyers often provide litigation solutions when negotiation falters. This resource empowers a small trucking business to pursue a valid claim in court, which is particularly important when dealing with uncooperative adjusters and insurance companies.

While litigation may be a long and expensive process, it does provide a solution to challenge inadequate settlements and secure rightful compensation.

9. Stay informed about your rights and trucking regulations.

As part of staying informed about your rights, truckers should consider participating in trucking associations and online forums. These trucking organizations and platforms offer valuable insights, coordinate advocacy efforts, and share information about changes in laws and regulations affecting the trucking industry.

Staying connected to other truckers and professionals within the industry can lead to the development of a support network that proves invaluable when navigating the complex world of transportation.


Knowing how to protect your rights after an accident, and especially how to pursue lost income compensation, is crucial for your business. So, don't sit idly by—take these suggestions to heart and confidently protect your business, knowing you have the tools to succeed.

The information provided on this site is general in nature and is not legal advice.

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