Renting out long-haul trucks, whether to carrier companies who need extra rigs to handle peak demand periods or to startup businesses lacking the capital to buy a rig, can be lucrative. But it does carry significant liability risks. Accidents involving your client’s rentals can damage property and cause injuries or fatalities to truck drivers, motorists, and pedestrians. Litigation following these accidents may target the rental company and may find it partially or wholly at fault.
Here are three accident scenarios for which your rental client may be held liable:
Risk #1: Tire Blowout
Chronic under inflation will damage the rubber and sidewall belting in tires. This damage doesn’t go away even after the affected tires are re-inflated to their proper pressure. A renter could abuse the rig’s tires in this way and then re-inflate them before returning the truck to the rental company. The company might then rent the truck to another customer without knowledge of the tire damage. The customer may then use the truck on a hot day (which stresses the damaged tires) and experience a blowout that damages the truck, cargo, and involves several motorists.
Risk #2: Wheel-Off Accident
Improperly installed wheels may come off while the rig is on the road. Excessive torque on the lug nuts can overstress and weaken the studs, which can break and cause a wheel to come off the trailer. Under-torqued nuts can come loose and cause a wheel-off accident. This mistake can be made by a renter or by the rental company. Runaway wheels have crashed into the windshields of moving cars, struck pedestrians, and crashed into the windows of nearby buildings.
Risk #3: Underride Accident
Poor maintenance of the rear underride guard of trailers has caused underride accidents. However, this accident can also occur when a car strikes the unprotected side of the trailer. This can happen when missing or burnt out trailer lights, or missing reflective strips make the trailer invisible at night. Empty flat-bed trailers are very difficult to see at night from the side, and the lack of lightning and reflective tapes will exacerbate the problem.
This night invisibility has caused cars to strike the trailer’s side without every braking before impact. Such accidents are catastrophic to the occupants of the car. Failing to wash mud off the lights and reflectors of a trailer can also cause the same problem.
The above are just 3 of many accident scenarios for which your long-haul trucking rental clients can be found liable. The more people they rent their trucks out to, the greater their liability exposure. Make sure they have sufficient insurance coverage. To learn about Prime Insurance Company and its long-haul trucking coverage, don’t hesitate to contact us.