It’s no secret that COVID has created nightmares in the supply chain for aftermarket truck parts. Ports are backlogged, manufacturing is at reduced capacity, and parts are delayed. National trucking publications have been writing extensively about the problem too, so fellow attorney Jason Schafer and I decided to visit several truck dealerships to see what the locals had to say.
Salespeople for both new and used trucks are fit to be tied. Every sales rep we spoke with is experiencing similar problems – equipment and parts are in short supply and on back order. Factories are on reduced schedules while waiting on essential electronic chips and other vital parts.
Sales lots for new trucks are almost empty, regardless of brand. Used trucks are flying off the sales lots as quickly as they’re brought in. Fleets are struggling to find enough equipment to manage their clients’ orders. In this slim market, owner operators must be extra clever in finding reasonably priced equipment and parts.
One local truck sales executive said that the only trucks sitting on their lot are the dozens of customers’ trucks waiting on chips and other hard to find parts. Business has ground to a halt for these expensive pisces of equipment. Answers aren’t easy and the pain of short supply is longer term, according to the industry folks we spoke with.
So, how does this affect you if you have downtime due to something hitting your truck? Simply put, the length of time down may be longer and the income loss greater. Therefore, delays must be documented very carefully if you want to get paid by the at-fault party for all the time down. Show you did everything possible to get the equipment back on the road, including making temporary repairs if possible. Persistence and good record-keeping are the keys to successfully setting downtime claim.
Most repair shops won’t order parts until the equipment is in the shop and the parts are approved for payment. When the at-fault party’s insurance company delays the approval process, they create a sizeable loss of income. Then, if the parts are on backorder, the loss magnifies.
Insurance companies need to understand they’re exacerbating the delays. Downed trucks and trailers put businesses in financial peril, especially owner operators and small fleets. Truckers are businesspeople who make no money while sitting still, and in my experience, constantly do what they need to do to stay running. Yet, time after time, insurance companies blame the victim for delays in repairs.
If you’re having trouble dealing with and insurance company, contact a lawyer right away. Find a firm that understands the transportation industry and has experience collecting from at-fault drivers and their insurance companies. You may be able to pursue not only the repairs and downtime, but other related losses as well, such as towing, rental, hotel, diminished value, and more.
The information provided is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
For more information on this or other legal issues, please contact The Law Offices of Eckert & Associates, P.A.