In most truck accident cases, the drivers are independent owner/drivers. They are with small carriers that have few assets. And they generally purchase the minimum amount of liability insurance required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA): $750,000.
In the event of a catastrophic accident, which most trucking accidents are, this minimum amount of insurance is not enough. It will not be enough to pay for one victim’s medical bills, let alone multiple victims’ bills. Emergency care, intensive care, and weeks or months in the hospital could easily be ten times this amount. There will be nothing left from this coverage to help accident victims with future medical and care expenses. That’s why it’s important to investigate all sources of insurance coverage from every potentially-responsible person or company.
The Lawyer You Hire Makes a Difference
A skilled trucking accident lawyer will think “outside the box” and explore all the options. He or she understands the interplay between Texas law and Federal law, since both regulate the trucking industry. An experienced attorney will dig deeper to find additional insurance coverage from other responsible parties—the people or companies that carry insurance beyond what the truck drivers carry.
Additional Sources of Liability
In addition to the driver, the motor carrier, and the driver’s employer, coverage can be found in unexpected places. We will review policies owned by the broker/logistics company, the safety company, the owners of the tractor and trailer, the loading company, maintenance company, shipping and operations companies and the route planner.
Moreover, motor carriers trying to hide behind its drivers’ independent contractor status to avoid liability, can no longer get by with that under the FMCSR. If the owner, operator, or lessee of the tractor-and-trailer equipment has coverage, or there is coverage on the equipment itself, any or all of these policies may be available to accident victims. Within each type of policy, there are hidden provisions or exclusions that we have used to force the insurance companies to pay the limits on a claim. The companies will try to get away with avoiding responsibility by denying coverage. But by digging deeper, a creative attorney can force them to pay.
Finally, the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1980 requires all interstate motor carriers to purchase a specific coverage endorsement to their policies. It protects the public and broadens the definition of who is insured and which vehicles are covered in catastrophic accident cases.
Call Us If You Have Been Injured in a Trucking Accident
Finding coverage in catastrophic accident cases, beyond the minimum that drivers carry, is essential to properly compensate permanently injured victims. We have the experience and knowledge to dig deeper.