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Off topic but want objective opinions on this.....

Old 09-14-2005, 10:11 PM
  #1  
Fork Horn
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Default Off topic but want objective opinions on this.....

This is a bit off-topic, but I'm kinda familiar with some people here and would like the input.

Here's the situation. A 10 day elk hunt with six people. One person owns a 4-door diesel pickup that will be the vehicle that tows a borrowed 7x20 enclosed cargo trailer for all the equipment.

On the way home out of the mountains, the owner of the truck is driving his truck and the borrowed trailer. Up ahead more than 100yds away in the road is a very large rock- maybe between the size of a volleyball and a basketball. This section of road is a straightaway. The rock is positioned in the driver’s side tire path.

As he approaches the rock, the driver does not slow down and does not brake- and as he nears the rock slightly veers a bit left as to straddle the rock under the vehicle and trailer. At the last second, the driver realizes that the rock is too big to go over and cranks the wheel to the right to go around the rock. The truck just misses the rock, but since the trailer is wider than the truck the driver's side trailer tires squarely smash into the rock.

The damage to the trailer is two destroyed rims and tires, two bent torsion axles, and a bent frame of the trailer which may total the trailer.

The driver admits fault and says, “It was my fault, I screwed up.” The other people in the cab saw the situation coming and all agree that there was sufficient time to stop before the rock, slow down and go around the rock on the right shoulder, or even go into the oncoming lane since there was no cars coming from that direction.

Turns out the owner of the borrowed trailer has no insurance on the trailer and let’s say the driver’s truck insurance will not cover trailer damage. Let’s also say the trailer is totaled and is not worth repairing. Trailer cost is $6000.

The next day the driver says that he is only 1/6th responsible since the group borrowed the trailer and will only provide 1/6th cost of a new trailer. Who is responsible for the cost of the trailer? Is it a group responsibility since the group borrowed the trailer to go hunting, or is it the driver’s responsibility since it was an avoidable accident? Should the group have to pay for a bad error in driving judgement? Or should the damage costs be spread among all group members since the trailer was borrowed for all to use for the hunting trip? Or is it somewhere in between?
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Old 09-14-2005, 10:46 PM
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Nontypical Buck
 
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Default RE: Off topic but want objective opinions on this.....

You want my honest oppinion so I will give it to ya
Personally I feel the man driving the truck is responsible for the crew onboard and equipment being hauled.
I say if it was a complete accident,unavoidable,and had no insurance on trailer then all will be responsible.But the driver who had ample time to stop,slow down or whatever his actions permitted is responsible for the trailer.
Why was the trailer being used without insurance in the first place?
6 men should have know to check it beforehand.What would happen if the Trailer came loose and caused serious injury to another motorist?
I would think that the mans truck insurance will cover the expenses for the trailer.
Just be forwarned he wont come after the 5 of you guys for a little compensation for his insurance.
Another thought-----was this guy aware of the rock on the road?
Was he warned buy any of the passengers?
Maybe he was tired and never clued in till the last minute.
Im sure the truck insurance will cover it though.
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Old 09-14-2005, 11:24 PM
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Fork Horn
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Default RE: Off topic but want objective opinions on this.....

Why was the trailer being used without insurance in the first place?
That's a great question and hindsight is always crystal clear. The group made the mistake of not asking if the owner had insurance. One of those (big) things that slipped through the crack in planning the trip. Too late now and can't worry about why that question wasn't asked.

I would think that the mans truck insurance will cover the expenses for the trailer.
Doubtful. That's why you have insurance on a boat with trailer. Camper trailer. Livestock trailer. Depending on the insurance company, just because an insured vehicle is towing a trailer does not mean that vehicle's insurance extends to the trailer. But let's just say for the sake of the situation that the truck's insurance will cover nothing.

Another thought-----was this guy aware of the rock on the road? Was he warned buy any of the passengers?
It is unclear on how far in advance of the rock that the driver became aware of it. He was not warned by any of the passengers. Kinda like one of those things where you couldn't believe he doesn't see that rock out there ahead and you don't want to be the backseat driver by saying something.... He did slowly drift left of the centerline as to straddle the rock and at the last second decided that straddling wouldn't work and veered around the rock to the right.

Maybe he was tired and never clued in till the last minute.
Maybe a possiblility- don't know. Would that make any difference in the assessment of damage responsibility?
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Old 09-15-2005, 12:09 AM
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Default RE: Off topic but want objective opinions on this.....

I'll guess that the driver now ownes the totaled out trailer
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Old 09-15-2005, 03:03 AM
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Nontypical Buck
 
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Default RE: Off topic but want objective opinions on this.....

If you are a group, then the group pays for it. Yes the driver was at fault, but out of the 6 of you, how many would have done the same thing? It stinks no matter how you slice it, but the bottom line is the trailer was borrowed, and if you want to use it again, I would suggest everyone shell out some cash, get it fixed and not make the fellow suffer who was nice enough to loan you all the trailer. That said, sounds like the fellow driving made a mistake, which we all do, I would also suggest having some sort of agreement in the future to cover this type of situation.
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Old 09-15-2005, 03:22 AM
  #6  
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Default RE: Off topic but want objective opinions on this.....

If six hunters are elk hunting in the mountains and one of the hunters accidentally shoots another person he mistook for an elk on the opposite mountain range , are all six hunters responsible?

I know if I made a boneheaded mistake , regardless of the consequences , expensive or not , I wouldn't expect ,or want , those who were with me at the time to share the cost.
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Old 09-15-2005, 04:37 AM
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Default RE: Off topic but want objective opinions on this.....

My bet is that legally, the driver is responsible. Morally, I think each member of the group should chip in.
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Old 09-15-2005, 05:57 AM
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Nontypical Buck
 
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Default RE: Off topic but want objective opinions on this.....

Black Frog,

I would have the fellow that owns the truck check with his insurance company to see if it's covered under his policy.

The way I understand my auto insurance is as long as my trailers and or campers are attached to my vehicle they're covered under my normal policy but when they're not attached they're not covered.Ihave seperate coverage on all 4 ofmine as it'svery inexpensive insuranceand well worth not worrying about it.

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Old 09-15-2005, 06:19 AM
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Default RE: Off topic but want objective opinions on this.....

I think the group should take care of it. What's the difference if the trailer was rear ended and totaled. An accident is an accident. I agree, the owner should have had insurance though.
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Old 09-15-2005, 06:34 AM
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Default RE: Off topic but want objective opinions on this.....

First of all as long as it doesn't have an engine it should be covered under his auto policy. Second even though it isentirely hisfault, I still can't help but think you guys should split it. It sucks but you all borrowed it together and regardless of who tore it up you should all be responsible. If the guy was out in a field doing doughnuts or something then i would agree with you. But he was trying to get you guys home and he made a mistake (like we all do when driving). It could have been that another vehicle swirved in front of him and he had to swirve and hit the rock, would you guys have helped him then? If so then where exactly is that line that distinguishes just how much at fault the driver has to be before he is solely responsible andwho makes the determination of what the "cut-off" percentage is and who makes the determination of what the driver's actual amount of fault is in this instance? I am sure you guys don't want to spend the additional $$$$ but it is the right thing to do IMO. I am sure the guy didn't do it intentionally, he made a mistake. How would you feel if you had made a mistake and the others decided to bail on you and leave you holding the bill. It wouldn't be a good feeling. Like someone else said, legally it's the drivers responsibility to pay for it but morally it's everyones. I truely believethat is what I would do.
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