Does Eighteen Wheeler Insurance Work Differently From Car Insurance?
Eighteen wheelers are responsible for a disproportionate percentage of serious motor vehicle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 60 fatal truck accidents in Colorado in 2014. Let’s put this in perspective. Nine percent of deadly highway accidents in Colorado involved commercial trucks. This is despite the fact that only three percent of accidents involved tractor trailers.
When a negligent truck driver or trucking company is at fault for an accident, the victims can suffer catastrophic damages. These victims need full and fair compensation for their losses. To get this, they must bring a personal injury claim against the truck’s insurance policy. Unfortunately, as filing a truck accident claim can be complex. Far too many victims are unable to get the full and fair financial relief they deserve.
There are many similarities between eighteen wheeler insurance policies and standard policies. However, there are some important differences as well. In this post, our experienced Denver truck accident attorney explains what you need to know about the differences:
Three Ways Commercial Truck Insurance is Different From Car Insurance
1. There are Larger Policy Limits
State and federal regulations require trucking companies to carry much larger insurance policies than ordinary Colorado motorists. The policy may be worth as much as 40 times more than a standard passenger vehicle policy. Though this depends on the size of the 18-wheeler and other factors.
Under United States federal law, all commercial trucks that weigh less than 10,000 pounds must carry at least $300,000 in liability insurance. Commercial trucks that weigh more than 10,000 pounds need to carry at least $750,000 in liability insurance. Though, in certain circumstances, the minimum requirement can be much higher than that. For example, trucks that carry hazardous materials need more insurance.
Additionally, commercial trucks must also meet any state-level requirements. If the state requirement is higher than the federal, the state requirement applies. Eighteen wheelers that cross state lines in the course of commerce must have an MCS-90 endorsement. With this, they can prove that they meet the insurance requirements for each state.
2. Multiple Insurance Policies Might in Play
Trucking companies often carry several overlapping policies. This is another difference between the two types of insurance. Trucking has become a very complex business. Many state and federal regulations apply to the industry. A trucking operation may have one policy to cover the truck itself, another to cover the trailer, a third to cover the cargo, and a fourth that covers the driver. To make matters even more confusing, sometimes truck drivers are independent contractors. In these cases, they may carry their own insurance coverage. In some cases, it might be unclear which policy is liable for the accident. This can often confuse accident victims. For example, a negligently loaded trailer could cause an accident rather than driver error. The facts could make a difference in the policy the victim implicates.
3. Commercial Truck Insurers are Notoriously Aggressive
Due to the complexity of legal regulations and the insurance policies involved, eighteen wheeler accident victims should always work with a qualified Denver truck accident attorney. Of course, this is good advice for those who were severely injured in an auto accident as well. Still, it is even more important when it comes to large commercial truck crashes. Unfortunately, large commercial truck insurers are aggressive. Truck accidents are more likely to result in severe damage and policy limits are high. This means there’s a lot on the line during these claims. Do not let an insurance company take advantage of you. Please work with a strong legal advocate.
Contact Our Colorado Truck Accident Attorney Today
At the Law Office of Steve Roberts, LLC, our top-rated eighteen wheeler accident lawyer is standing by, ready to help you. If you or a family member was injured in a crash with a large commercial truck in Colorado, please call us today at (720) 515-7058 for a free consultation. From our office in Denver, we represent truck accident victims throughout the region, including in Westminster, Lakewood, Centennial, and Aurora.