How Insurance Requirements for Commercial Trucks Could Affect Your Recovery After an Accident

Liability insurance coverage is an important requirement for all motorists, particularly for drivers of commercial trucks. These vehicles are capable of causing significant property damage, catastrophic injuries, and even fatalities when involved in collisions with other, usually smaller vehicles.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates the safety of the interstate trucking industry, requires commercial truck drivers to carry a minimum amount of insurance to cover losses that might occur if he or she causes an accident. However, despite both state and federal laws mandating commercial drivers' insurance coverage, some truckers choose to drive uninsured or carry coverage that's insufficient for the type of vehicle they drive.

insurance_coverage_formIf you suffered injuries or property damage in a truck accident caused by a negligent commercial driver, insurance coverage is likely to be a hot topic, especially if they're uninsured or underinsured.

Here's what you need to know if you're planning to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation.

Required Liability Insurance

FMCSA regulations and Texas state laws require truckers to carry liability insurance, which includes two types of coverage: 

Liability auto insurance policies include two types of coverage:

  • Bodily injury liability protection. If a pedestrian or motorist is injured in a truck accident caused by a commercial driver, bodily injury coverage pays for hospital bills and other medical expenses related to the sustained injuries.
  • Property damage liability protection. This type of coverage pays to repair or replace another person's property that was damaged in an accident for which the commercial truck driver was at fault.

Minimum Insurance Coverage Requirements for Commercial Trucks

Interstate commercial truck drivers are legally required to meet minimum insurance coverage requirements outlined by the FMCSA. The minimum insurance needed varies depending on the weight of the truck and the type of freight hauled.

FMCSA minimum insurance coverage requirements for interstate truckers are as follows:

  • $300,000 for non-hazardous freight transported in trucks that weigh less than 10,001 pounds
  • $750,000 for non-hazardous freight moved in trucks that weigh more than 10,001 pounds
  • $1,000,000 for oil transported by for-hire or private carriers
  • $5,000,000 for other hazardous materials moved by for-hire or private carriers

It's important to note that while the liability coverage amounts listed represent the bare minimum insurance coverage commercial drivers need to be in compliance with FMCSA regulations, there are clear benefits to purchasing additional insurance coverage. Also, many shippers and brokers in the trucking industry require their drivers to carry liability insurance limits much higher than those mandated by the FMCSA, regardless of truck weight or type of freight.

Recovering Compensation From Uninsured Truck Drivers

Truck accident victims may be entitled to compensation through their individual insurance policies if they've added the optional uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This type of coverage steps in to bridge the gap when the commercial driver doesn't have any insurance or doesn't have liability limits high enough to compensate the victim for property damage and physical injuries sustained in an accident.

Consult an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney

If you were seriously injured in a truck accident and are concerned about how the status of at-fault commercial driver's insurance coverage could affect your recovery prospects, it's important to consult a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. McGartland Law Firm's award-winning legal team can help you understand your rights, explore your legal options and fight for the financial recovery you deserve.

Do you have questions about a potential truck accident insurance claim or lawsuit? Contact McGartland Law Firm today to schedule an appointment for a free, no-obligation initial case consultation.