Owner Operator Work Comp Claim Notice
May 31, 2018
Author: Ben Droessler
You just received a letter from the state informing you an owner operator filed a work comp claim against you. Now what?
After the initial shock and panic subside, a sense of calm sets in because you made the investment in proper contracts and insurance policies to protect you. Starting with an attorney well versed in trucking and independent contractor laws drafting your lease agreement. Followed by requiring contractors purchase work injury insurance (Occupational Accident in most cases). Finally, purchasing a Contingent/Contract Liability policy to defend and settle these claims.
Step 1. Take action quickly! Report the claim immediately to your Contingent/Contract Liability carrier and your agent. Policies have short claim reporting windows, as little as 7 days. Insurers set small claim reporting periods because quick claim handling can dramatically improve outcomes.
Step 2. Assemble your file reinforcing independent contractor status to include the lease agreement, 1099s, and any other documentation the claim adjustor needs. The adjustor will hire an attorney to defend you.
Step 3. Work with the adjustor and their legal counsel toward a resolution. The attorney may recommend a settlement. Although undesirable, settlements are a much better alternative than a judge awarding employment status. Your Contingent/Contract Liability policy will pay the settlement if properly structured.
Unsure how your company or policies would handle this scenario? Contact Ben Droessler with Cottingham & Butler’s Contractor Services Team.
Truck Insurance Group, Vice President