3 Horror Stories Involving Uninsured Trucks

Strong Tie Insurance April 7, 2020 StrongtieInsurance

There is absolutely no question that truck drivers face a challenging and dangerous task. Being on the road puts them at greater risk for accidents than those who don’t drive as much. Even a safe driver can find themselves in a precarious situation from time to time. What makes these stories even worse is when the trucks don’t have the proper commercial trucking insurance.

While trucking insurance may seem like an extra expense that only hurts your bottom line, it’s actually the best way to protect your business, equipment, and drivers.

Here are some essential horror stories involving uninsured trucks for your consideration:

Not All Commercial Truck Insurance Companies Are Equal

It’s hard to argue that trucking insurance isn’t a necessity. But there are some trucking companies and owner-operators who look for cheap options without knowing what they’re getting. 

In January of 2020, Connie Free was sentenced to 180 days in prison, 180 days of work release, and four years of probation in California. She also had to pay restitution to her victims.

Free was convicted of 22 felony counts and one misdemeanor count for tricking 11 different victims out of at least $174,000. Her crime: targeting truck drivers to sell trucking insurance. She operated under the alias “Justyce Insurance” and “Pure Justice Insurance Agency.” and would act as an insurance broker and take premium payments from trusting truckers. 

The money never made it to actual insurance companies as she kept it for herself.

Most of Free’s victims were small companies and truck drivers who had trouble keeping their ability to operate as a motor carrier due to insurance. They were looking for inexpensive and quick commercial trucking options. While shopping around for trucking insurance is encouraged, it’s also crucial to work with established and professional trucking insurance companies.

The result for the truck drivers is that they weren’t actually covered. That means they were operating illegally in California for not having the appropriate insurance. These drivers would have been fully responsible for any damages they caused to people, property, cargo, and so on. Even a small accident could have ruined a small business.

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Close Calls Could Be Curtain Calls

Some horror stories are more about what could have happened as opposed to specifics to a particular occurrence. Kirisanthan Senathi had a close call that serves as an excellent learning point.

In June of 2017, Senathi started his first day as a trucker. He was excited to travel from city to city, meet other truckers, and join an elite group of unsung heroes.

Not long after hitting the road, Senathi heard a loud boom and felt a significant disruption. He ran into a bridge that didn’t have enough clearance for his truck. Senathi lucked out that his trailer was empty, there were no injuries, and little damage to the bridge. The trailer was beat up pretty good. He learned a valuable lesson on his first day.

While this example didn’t have many horrible consequences, it’s easy to imagine what could have happened. First, just think about the potential damage. The bridge itself could have been structurally damaged, resulting in thousands of dollars in repair costs. The damage could be furthered if vehicles or pedestrians were on the bridge when it was hit, not to mention the challenges facing those who relied on that bridge.

Taking the hypothetical situation further could include other vehicles or people who were damaged or injured during the accident. You also have to consider any cargo that may have been damaged. The time spent getting the truck free would also contribute to a delay in the shipment being delivered. All of these elements come with massive costs.

Now imagine if Senathi wasn’t covered by the appropriate commercial trucking insurance. He would be on the hook for all of the associated costs for his accident. If he was an owner-operator, he could find himself in significant trouble. If Senathi worked for a company that didn’t have insurance, the company could find itself needing to close its doors.

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The Trucker is Not the Only One Affected

If all accidents only impacted the person driving, it might be easier to be more flippant about driving without insurance. Sadly, others can be heavily affected by accidents. In some cases, not having the appropriate insurance can make things more difficult for innocent folks who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Michelle Gaines was hit by a semi-truck after the driver ran a red light. The accident caused Gaines to suffer from a broken pelvis, a punctured lung, and a traumatic brain injury. This young woman, who was getting ready to start college, was injured so severe that she now had the mental capacity of a 12-year old, including vision issues and short-term memory loss. Her life was drastically changed.

It’s easy to focus on how the driver made the mistake of running the red light. Safe driving could have avoided this entire incident, after all. But to add insult to injury, neither the driver nor the owner who had hired him had liability insurance. Gaines’ lawyers took the driver and business owner to court, and the jury awarded Gaines $8 million in compensatory damages. 

But the case didn’t end here.

After appeals, the case ended up at the Texas Supreme Court. This high-level court ruled against the victim. Due to legal loopholes, the driver and business owner were able to avoid being held responsible. This might seem like a win for the uninsured driver, but at what cost did this win come?

Gaines’ family was now responsible for covering all medical and care costs. Over the years, these costs added up, not to mention the impact her injury had on her, her family, and her friends. 

If the driver or owner had liability insurance, Gaines could have had her medical expenses covered and live out her days somewhat comfortably. A relatively small monthly premium for the driver could have saved tons of pain, suffering, and medical costs for an innocent family.

Commercial Trucking Insurance Makes a Difference

Having the appropriate trucking insurance is not only required by law. Trucking insurance helps protect you in case of an accident. It also helps to protect and take care of other people affected by your accidents.

Don’t run the risk of being another horror story. Make sure you have the proper coverage today.