Multiple Insurance Companies
Because of the catastrophic damage a 72,000-pound big-rig can cause in an accident, interstate trucks are required to maintain insurance policy limits significantly higher than vehicles. More money means corporate trucking companies are going to mount a bigger defense to protect their money, including more experts and bigger legal defense teams. With multiple defendants come multiple insurers. This makes trucking accident more complicated and contentious then car accidents.
States have minimum financial responsibility laws from as little as $10,000 to as much as $50,000. However Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations require interstate carriers to maintain a minimum of $750,000 in liability coverage and many carriers maintain policies of $5,000,000 and excess coverage.
The purpose of the higher insurance requirements is to protect trucking companies as well as the motoring public.
There are a number of insurance related issues that complicate trucking cases over a typical car accident. Make sure you hire a trucking accident attorney who is familiar with insurance issues involving commercial vehicles. Call one of our knowledgeable truck attorneys today at (844) 800-8900.
Here are some of the insurance issues that arise in trucking cases.
Tractor Insurance vs. Trailer Insurance
Often the tractor and trailer are owned by separate entities. Generally, the trucker may own (or lease) the tractor while the motor carrier owns the trailer. The definition of "motor vehicle" includes a trailer pursuant to 49 C.F.R. 387.15. Therefore, this often creates secondary insurance coverage that may be stacked onto the primary policy to provide additional coverage.
Bobtail is an industry term to describe a tractor that is being driven without a trailer and therefore without a load. Since the owner/operator is not transporting a load under dispatch, a separate policy referred to as bobtail insurance may apply.
The term “Bobtail Insurance” is sometimes used in tandem with “Non-Trucking Use Liability Insurance, or NTLI. This is the type of coverage provided to an owner operator when he is not under dispatch to the motor carrier. In the event of an accident or damage, the NTLI would respond to the claim rather than the driver's primary auto liability insurance.
Insurance companies may be liable for the advice they give their motor carrier clients and therefore, may provide additional insurance coverage to victims involved in trucking accidents.
MCS-90 Insurance Endorsement
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act mandates that interstate trucking polices must include a MCS-90 Endorsement. This protects the public from insurers who attempt to avoid paying claims by asserting otherwise valid coverage defenses. This endorsement makes an insurer financially responsible to the public.
This law is different from private vehicle insurance wherein the policy defines the coverage afforded to the insured driver. For example, in a car accident, the insurance company may deny coverage if the driver does not fall within the definition of "insured" under the policy or is not listed on the policy. However, this exception does not apply in interstate trucking accidents.
Who is Representing You?
Trucking companies have extensive and sophisticated insurance companies representing their interests. Who is protecting your interests? Insurance companies have a vested interest to protect their money and they will jump on every opportunity they can to protect their assets, including taking advantage of an attorney who does not have the trucking knowledge to protect your rights.
Call The Truck Lawyers today at (844) 800-8900 for a free no obligation consultation. We will protect your rights!