Seeking Advice on Insurance Deductible and Payroll Deductions After Accident

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by struckers, Jun 20, 2024.

  1. struckers

    struckers Bobtail Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I was recently working as an independent truck driver (1099) for a company and had an accident in Pennsylvania caused by hanging tree branches after picking up a load. The police investigated, and I didn't receive any tickets, violations, or citations. I even have a police report documenting the incident.

    Here's what happened: while letting an ambulance pass by pulling slightly to the right, some tree branches fell and damaged both the truck and the trailer. Despite not being at fault, my company deducted $2500 from my payroll to cover the damages. They also refused to allow me to sue the responsible party for the tree branches and assured me they would handle it, which they did not.

    I eventually quit, and now the company is refusing to pay me back the money they deducted from my payroll. I feel stuck and don't know what my next steps should be. Has anyone experienced a similar situation or have any advice on how to handle this? Is there a way to recover the deducted money, and what should I do about the company's refusal to address the issue?

    Thanks in advance for any help or guidance!
     
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  3. Eddiec

    Eddiec Road Train Member

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    Did the tree branches fall by themselves or did you hit them when you pulled to the right? It seems to me, as a contractor you damaged the owners equipment while using it and they charged your company ( you) to cover the damages. If the tree branches were lower than whatever jurisdiction you were in allows, then the owner of the tree, bears the responsibility for the damages. Sounds like the owner of the equipment probably went after the tree owner and you, and got money from both! That is why they discouraged you from seeking legal action against the tree owner.

    You need a lawyer to navigate this mess. Starting with the language in your contract.
     
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  4. tscottme

    tscottme Road Train Member

    The money is gone. Stop working for 1099 companies. Stop asking 1099 companies who you can sue. Read the contract you signed with the company, better late than never. You have virtually no rights and all of the financial responsibility when you pretend to be an "Independent Contractor." If they give you a truck, and let you pay for it (wow, what a deal) you are helping the trucking company avoid paying taxes. BTW, if you didn't save about 25% of the income to pay taxes later, you better have that amount of money when you do file taxes later. The IRS will get their money.

    No emergency lights authorize you to drive off road or make driving a semi-truck suddenly safe. Every road has 2 lanes. The lane you are not driving in is a full lane for the ambulance.
     
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  5. struckers

    struckers Bobtail Member

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    Jun 20, 2024
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    Thank you for your insights. Here’s what happened: I was driving within the designated path, but the tree branches were hanging low, which I didn't realize until I heard the noise. When I pulled to the right to avoid an obstruction, the branches hit the equipment. I didn’t intentionally damage anything, and I believe the branches were already lower than the local regulations permit. Even the police mentioned that if I had been on the curb or off the road, he would have written a ticket. However, he didn’t because I was on the road and following the rules.

    Thank you for your perspective. I appreciate your advice and understand the challenges associated with working as an independent contractor. I will definitely take a closer look at the contract I signed and consider your points about the financial responsibilities and tax implications.

    Regarding the incident, I was driving within the designated path and followed the rules to the best of my ability. The situation with the tree branches was unexpected, and I’m trying to navigate the consequences as responsibly as possible.

    I will also consider your advice about re-evaluating my work arrangements and ensuring I’m better prepared for future tax obligations. Thanks again for your insights and recommendations.

    This is what it says on my contract with company:

    ''INDEMNIFICATION, ICD hereby agrees to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless, including, but not limited to, reasonable attorneys’ fees and court costs, CARRIER, its subsidiaries and their respective members, directors, officers, employees, and agents from and against any injury (including death), damage, or loss arising under or in connection with this Agreement; provided, however, ICD shall not be required to indemnify CARRIER from and against any injury, damage, or loss resulting from an automobile liability claim. If ICD operates the equipment for any purpose other than the carriage of CARRIER’s lading, ICD shall hold CARRIER harmless and indemnify CARRIER for any damage (including attorney’s fees) arising from such use. This subsection shall remain in force and effect both during and after the termination of this Agreement. ICD shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless CARRIER, its subsidiaries their respective members, directors, officers, employees, and agents for any damage, injury (including death), or loss arising from the use of any additional equipment, including but not limited to, power take-off units (PTO), that may be used by ICD during this Agreement for any reason. In the event property is damaged, whether property of CARRIER, third-parties, or ICD, as the result of the negligence, gross negligence, willful misconduct, material breach of this Agreement, or the act or omission of ICD, ICD agrees to defend, indemnify, and hold CARRIER harmless for such damage. CARRIER shall furnish ICD with a written itemized explanation of such charges for damages to CARRIER’s property for which ICD hereby agrees to promptly pay upon receipt. In the event ICD fails to pay the charges for damages, ICD hereby authorizes CARRIER to withhold from ICD’s settlements all amounts owed to CARRIER for damages.''
     
  6. tscottme

    tscottme Road Train Member

    That language puts you on the hook for the damage. It also seems to commit you to paying for the legal expenses and penalties if your action causes the trucking company to get in trouble. Your agreement with the carrier doesn't restrict your ability to sue whomever is responsible for the damage due to tree branches being too low over the roadway. Sue the property owner or the town, your attorney would know which to pursue.
     
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  7. Ridgeline

    Ridgeline Road Train Member

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    get a labor lawyer, have them decide if you are an employee, then file with the DoL and IRS to force all the back taxes to be paid back.

    If you don't want to do that, just walk away, take the losses on your taxes.

    By the way, that clause should not hold up in court.
     
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  8. struckers

    struckers Bobtail Member

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    I discovered that this is a new version of the agreement, created after my accident, and it does not mention any deductions or similar clauses present in the previous agreement. It appears they are unaware that they cannot retroactively apply this agreement, as I was operating under the terms of the previous agreement at the time of the accident. It's concerning that they have introduced these new terms without considering the timing and circumstances.
    You are right, it seems like a good idea to consult a lawyer. However, every time I've spoken with a lawyer, they've said I need to pay $5,000 upfront. Do you have any advice about this?
     
  9. Ridgeline

    Ridgeline Road Train Member

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    Then you go to YOUR state department of labor and file a complaint. AND contact the EEOC and see if you can file a complaint there.

    $5k, being a 1099, that's should be pocket change.
     
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  10. Ridgeline

    Ridgeline Road Train Member

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    Sorry I read this and it didn't register, so what does YOUR copy say? YOUR copy is the governing document if it is signed by a company rep and you.
     
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  11. Metalicious

    Metalicious Road Train Member

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    This literally says ICD not required to indemnify Carrier against loss resulting from an automobile liability claim. Argue that. Tell them according to their contract, they cannot deduct from you the damages.
     
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