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Shapiro & Appleton

This page provides information about the complexity of trucking insurance and how it differs from regular car insurance. After you've had a chance to review this page, please take a look at our other articles, blogs, videos, and consumer guides on trucking topics.

Our law firm recently published a free consumer guide focused on what to do in case you get into a serious accident with a commercial truck.  Here is an excerpt dealing with the differences between insurance requirements for commercial trucks as opposed to regular cars...

Federal regulations dictate the minimum insurance policy coverage interstate trucks are required to carry.  Trucking companies are aware of the significant liability that they face if their operators cause a serious injury or death which is why you shouldn't be surprised if lawyers or investigators from the trucking company flood the scene of the truck accident.  Always remember that they are not there to help you. They're at the scene because they know there is a chance they'll face legal action and they want to control the scene as quickly as possible.

Federal Motor Carrier Regulations require these large commercial trucks, which cross state lines, to carry minimum insurance coverage-including minimum liability coverage. The federal law requires a commercial transportation company to maintain at least seven hundred & fifty thousand dollars ($750,000.00) of insurance coverage on the big rig (commercial vans/busses require higher rates depending on passenger capacities). This is true even for smaller companies which haul freight in interstate commerce. 

For big rigs, the complicating factor is that there may be insurance on the tractor, and a separate insurance coverage on the trailer being hauled.   Also, there are potentially several parties in that the person who drove may be hired through a freight broker or middle man. Sometimes, more than one company may need to be named as a defendant in a lawsuit to recover for your injuries.

The challenge comes when filing a claim against multiple insurance companies for the same claim. In addition, the question of whether you should also file a claim against the truck driver individually needs to be raised. The employer of a driver is automatically liable for acts of negligence done in the scope of his employment.  The company may have additional separate responsibility if it negligently hired a known dangerous driver or for mechanical problems that it caused by corporate wrongdoing. These issues can only be resolved on a case-by-case basis. It all depends on what exactly occurred with your specific accident. 

To get all of the information in our consumer guide, please take advantage of the free download here.
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