Waste Product Troubles on U.S. Roads

It was a morning truck loss call. Started out like many others, two trucks involved, disputed lane change. No injuries reported, but lots of damage. Then I found out the claimant truck was hauling ‘human solid waste’, and it was tipped over. I knew right then that this assignment was going to stink.

When I arrived on scene with my trainee, we immediately spoke to the officer on scene. We obtained his permission to park out of the way and talk to the people involved. We were also given permission to take pictures. I had the trainee take photos of the vehicles, the scene (including what was now escaping from the claimant truck) and get the license plate and VIN information. (Thank heaven for trainees. This one is going to make it – excellent photos despite environmental challenges.)

I went ahead and obtained the statement from the adverse driver of the human manure truck. It was a disputed claim at this point and had to leave it at “I’ll get back to you on the liability decision.” I could tell he was not happy about that. (We mutually agreed to not shake hands.)

While his vehicle was being up-righted and the road cleaned, the adverse party then decided that he was injured. Even though he had informed the officer on scene he was not hurt and had given me a sworn recorded statement he was not injured. I knew we were going to have a case on our hands. What was on the road was about to hit the fan.

I interviewed the insured driver at this time. She was young and very nervous. It was her first accident and she had not been with the company for very long. I calmed her down. Let her know I was here to help. I even gave her a clothes-pin for her nose. Her eyes were blood shot and she was extremely skittish. Her rig had gone completely off the freeway and down a ravine. The rig was new, but it was possibly a total loss.

I then spoke to the examiner on the phone, and it was agreed that the insured driver be taken in for a drug test. The closest one was over 80 miles away. We retrieved all of her personal belongings and went to the clinic. We informed the insured driver that she would need to ‘pee in the cup’ and then we could go. We bought lunch on the way in and then arrived and checked her in. My trainee and I waited a little bit and the insured kept advising that she just did not need to go. I had the trainee go to the nearest fast food to get big drinks. We had her drink a 32-ounce diet soda. I had the trainee do a rain dance. I talked about my trip to Niagara Falls. Nothing seemed to be working. At about 6:15 PM, she asked when the clinic closed and we advised her it was a 24 hour facility. All of a sudden, she could go just fine.

P.S. She failed the drug test.

Rich Reed – DMA Trucking Adjuster

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