Risk on the Road
Working on the road has become increasingly more dangerous for truck drivers over the past decade. The possibility of an accident remains a constant risk on the road despite certain federal and state standards that truck drivers must meet for preventative road safety measures. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s annual edition of Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts crash statistics reveal:
“From 2009 to 2015, injury crashes increased 62 percent to 97,000. From 2016 to 2018, according to NHTSA’s CRSS data, large truck and bus injury crashes increased 8 percent (from 112,000 in 2016 to 121,000 in 2018)” and “Single-vehicle crashes made up 23% of all property damage only crashes involving large trucks in 2018.”
It’s not easy being a truck driver. Between long hours on the road, transporting hazardous materials, and the physical demands of the job, there are plenty of chances for a driver to become seriously injured or ill. Some of these injuries or illnesses require ongoing medical care and support after the accident. As the risk for injury and property damage crashes increases, so does the chance of liability and workers’ compensation claims, which can turn into long-term expenses for employers over time as they age.
General Counsel for ARC Claims Management
“Liability Claims are not like fine wine – they do not improve with age," says Milane. "It is imperative that liability claims be promptly investigated and resolved – especially claims with potential bodily injury exposure. Investing the time and expense to make same-day contact with a claimant to control the claims is the cornerstone of prudent claims management.”
Employer Solutions for Complex Workers' Comp and Liability Claims
Employers often want a reduction in large, complex, and aged pending files that remain open with carriers and Third-Party Administrators (TPA), claims that lead to long-term costs overtime. Ultimately, complex trucking claims involving ongoing future medical care can lead to long-term costs and greater exposure each year for the employer as they age. Even seemingly small liability claims can become more complex the longer they remain open and escalate if not resolved quickly.
As the number of trucking claims increase, it’s important to stay ahead of claims that can lead to long-term costs. Involving a best-in-class professional administrator early on is an effective way to support claim closure for lingering claims with open medical.
Professional Administration as a Solution for Trucking Settlements
Injured individuals’ fears about settlement are often a large component of why some cases become difficult to settle. Many injured individuals want to settle their case to have more freedom
to treat but are scared to lose the support of their nurse case manager, adjuster, or attorney on their case. They may fear the proposed Medicare Set Aside allocation won’t be enough to cover their lifetime medical costs, the management of Medicare reporting, or that they won’t be able to treat after settlement. In many cases, the injured individual’s attorney, primary caregiver, and family members are also involved in important settlement decisions and weigh in on settlement outcomes. Having a neutral party offer a unique perspective to alleviate concerns in early settlement conversations can help push settlement forward.
“Engaging a neutral and experienced third party increases the probability of resolving a claim before it spins out of control,” says Milane. “A claimant is more likely to consider the opinion of the settlement value from someone whose experience gives him/her credibility and who has ‘no ax to grind’ with either party. This also provides the claimant attorney a means of controlling what may be unrealistic expectations of his/ her client.”
Administrators provide comfort and savings to injured individuals by fully overseeing and managing their future medical funds after settlement.
Professional administration provides numerous benefits, including:
- Savings on Healthcare – Discount networks save individuals on provider bills and all other medical expenses, allowing medical funds to last as long as possible
- Never Touching a Bill – All medical billing is handled after settlement by the administrator so injured individuals do not have to worry about payments
- Full Medicare Set Aside Reporting – In the case of a Medicare Set Aside, an administrator compiles any necessary reporting to The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
- Support – Injured individuals can rely on a team of settlement and Medicare Set Aside experts available to answer questions about their medical treatment and any reporting responsibilities
Not all professional administrators are created equal. Beyond these core benefits, forward-thinking professional administrators invest in their back-end technology to provide solutions for even the most complex settlement needs. These administrators continue to maintain the most up-to-date technology, including online member portals and mobile applications for tracking and managing settlement funds on the go.
Early Resolution Solution for Auto Liability Accidents
Best-in-class administrators continue to develop solutions to support faster settlement. For example, adapting to the needs of the trucking industry with fast resolution liability settlements (i.e. injury and property damage crashes) through an innovative prepaid card solution. This solution can resolve liability cases faster by offering an opportunity for instant settlements on the road.
A prepaid card can deliver funds to the injured individual instantly. If future medical is required, a combination of a prepaid card and professional administration can be a great option to ensure the injured individual has their medical care properly managed after the accident. This unique solution helps avoid obstacles that prevent liability settlements from closing, including bank restrictions with settlement funds and offers an alternative way to access the settlement proceeds.
An innovative prepaid card solution provides:
- Fast resolution settlements – Cards can be used to facilitate expedited settlements
- Funding in minutes – Cards can be funded in 20 minutes or less
- Convenient access – Funds are already pre-loaded onto the card and ready for use
- Works for small and large settlements – Up to $99,999.99 can be loaded onto a single card
- Avoid settlement obstacles – Can provide a way to deliver settlement proceeds to individuals with bank restrictions, or with no SSN or Tax IDs
“While it may seem counter-intuitive, it is the small claims that present the most risk,” says Milane. “Preventing the $2,000 claim from becoming a $20,000 claim is best controlled by a first call settlement. The opportunity to resolve the claim of an individual who is ‘shaken up’ in an accident decreases exponentially the longer the claim is open. A prepaid card that allows the adjuster the opportunity to settle a claim ‘on the spot’ is a valuable tool.”
Prepaid cards offer a creative strategy to facilitate closure, especially for smaller property damage claims, that may not get resolved quickly due to stretched resources and limited bandwidth. Employers can save on long-term expenses and improve company reputation by offering a fully loaded prepaid card to victims of trucking liability accidents with a short turnaround.
A Prepaid Solution in Practice
A 55-year old mechanic from Texas was involved in a rear-end motor vehicle accident with a box truck this past May. Luckily there were no incapacitating injuries, but they did suffer neck, back, and general soreness, which impacted the individual’s ability to perform at their self-employed service. The liability claim was referred to Ametros and within just one day’s turnaround, a settlement offer was made through the combination of a loaded prepaid card and Ametros’ professional administration solution, CareGuard. The offer of $15,000 settled with $10,000 on the prepaid card to be provided instantly at the time of settlement, and $5,000 to be professionally administered for any medical expenses related to the accident.
The solution made for a quick and simple transaction. Over a day’s time, the adjuster called the injured individual and went by their home to make the settlement offer. After a brief conversation with their wife, the injured individual signed all the necessary paperwork to accept the settlement offer, receiving access to the settlement funds on the same day. Both settlement parties walked away satisfied from the timeliness and convenience of the offer. Leaving limited time for the accident to escalate, this smaller liability claim closed with a successful resolution.
Involving a professional administrator helps injured individuals feel confident settling and provides coverage for both employers and injured individuals from potential liabilities after settlement.
Staying ahead of claims that can become more complex as they age with professional administration or a unique prepaid card solution, supports a long-term strategy to free up reserves, maintain control and reduce future costs with workers’ comp and liability trucking claims.
Learn More About How We Support Liability Settlements
Read the full article in USLAW Magazine.