After being injured in a crash with a commercial truck, it’s time to talk with a truck accident lawyer. Most personal injury claims are resolved without going to trial. Instead of going before a jury, you demand an insurance settlement. Commercial trucks should be covered by a significant insurance policy. But it often takes an experienced and aggressive attorney to get you the most compensation possible under the available coverage. To make sure you fight for what your truck accident claim is worth, call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 or contact us through our online form. We offer free consultations.

Commercial Vehicles Have Higher Insurance Limits

Truck wrecks differ from car accidents in many ways. One of the ways truck accidents are different is insurance coverage. The minimum policy limits under federal or Illinois law are much higher for commercial trucks than for personal cars. The higher policy limits mean you can recover a lot more compensation after a collision with a truck than with a small, personal vehicle. But winning that compensation requires getting the help of a skilled commercial truck accident lawyer who knows how to investigate the crash and build a persuasive case.

Federal Commercial Truck Insurance Limits

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) dictates how much insurance interstate commercial trucks must have. The FMCSA requires commercial truckers are covered by public liability insurance. Their liability insurance must include bodily injury coverage, property damage coverage, and environmental restoration coverage.

The minimum policy limits depend on the weight of the truck and the type of cargo it hauls:

  • $300,000 for non-hazardous freight in vehicles less than 10,001 lbs.
  • $750,000 for non-hazardous freight in vehicles more than 10,001 lbs.
  • $1 million for oil transported by for-hire and private carriers
  • $5 million for other hazardous materials transported by for-hire or private carriers

Other Types of Commercial Trucking Insurance

If you were hurt in a truck accident, you look toward the driver’s liability insurance to cover your expenses and non-economic injuries. But truckers also might carry other forms of insurance including:

  • Cargo Insurance: Owner-operators typically need cargo insurance to do business, even though it’s not required by federal law. When it’s required by federal law, the minimum limit is $5,000 per vehicle.
  • Bobtail (Non-Trucking Liability) Insurance: Bobtail insurance is liability coverage for drivers who lease a motor carrier that they operate under their authority.
  • Physical Damage Insurance: If a driver finances their truck, they’ll be required to carry physical damage insurance to cover damage to the tractor or trailer.
  • Trailer Interchange Insurance: This insurance covers a trailer the trucker doesn’t own but is using under a trailer interchange agreement.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: UM/UIM coverage kicks in when the person who caused the crash isn’t insured or has too little liability coverage.
  • Umbrella Coverage: An umbrella policy provides additional coverage when the other policies are not enough.

Who Pays for Commercial Truck Insurance?

Which party purchases insurance – the trucker or the trucking company – depends on the relationship between the two parties.

Some owner-operators work under their authority. They’re their own trucking company and are fully responsible for insuring their vehicle or vehicles. Owner-operators who act as a motor carrier must carry public liability insurance, also called general liability insurance. They also have to have primary liability insurance, which is known as trucking liability insurance.

Owner-operators can be under lease to a motor carrier. Instead of working as their own company, they own their truck (or multiple trucks), and they provide their truck and services to companies under a lease agreement. Owner-operators under lease often have less insurance because they’re also covered by the motor carrier. They usually don’t carry general or primary liability insurance because the motor carrier does. But owner-operators under lease need to have non-trucking liability insurance to cover the damage they cause others.

Truck drivers who work for a motor carrier and aren’t owner-operators don’t register with the FMCSA, their employer does. The employer has to prove they’re financially responsible for all of their trucks.

A Lawyer Investigates Commercial Truck Insurance Coverage

There might be multiple policies for you to recover compensation from. You might be able to pursue compensation under a trucker’s non-trucking liability insurance and the motor carrier’s liability policies. There also might be an umbrella policy that applies to the crash and your injuries. All of these insurance policies are how some truck accident victims receive million or multi-million-dollar settlements.

After you’re injured in a crash with a commercial truck, you need to figure out who has commercial truck insurance, the policy types, and the policy limits. Insurance providers, the trucker, and the trucking company will be hesitant to give you this information. They want you to have to negotiate in the dark. If you don’t know how much insurance coverage they have, you can’t push to receive the maximum limit, especially if they carry more than the FMCSA requires. By working with a lawyer, you have someone to go after this information.

Call a Commercial Truck Insurance Lawyer for Help Today

The personal injury claims process after a trucking accident is complicated. There are probably multiple policies that apply to your injuries. But finding out who is liable for your injuries and identifying the relevant insurance policies is hard. The trucker and trucking company aren’t going to be forthcoming with information. You’ll have to seek it out and demand answers, which is why it’s best to have a truck accident lawyer on your side.

Our team at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. are highly experienced in handling Illinois truck accident claims. We have a track record of winning great results for our clients, including $890,000 for a woman hit by a commercial truck and $140,000 in a wide-turn truck accident. Don’t hesitate to call us to discuss how we’ve handled cases similar to yours and the outcomes we’ve achieved.

You can reach us through our online form or by calling (312) 236-2900. We accept cases on a contingency fee basis. There are no upfront fees.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900