Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements for Arizona
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Anyone who has been in a car accident can tell you that they often create a very stressful situation to deal with. Aside from the process of treating your physical injuries, car accidents can lead to lots of time-consuming conversations, paperwork, and negotiations in order to seek the compensation that you may be entitled to. If the other vehicle that was involved in your accident was a truck, then there are even more things to consider. Not only are truck drivers more regulated than the average driver on the road, but they are also often employees of a trucking company, which adds an extra wrinkle to the proceedings.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of an accident with a truck, call the truck accident attorneys at Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to discuss your case for free. If Zinda Law Group is unable to win your case, you will not owe us anything.
ARIZONA LIABILITY INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR TRUCK DRIVERS
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FCMSA) requires truck drivers to have a certain amount of public liability insurance to be licensed to drive their trucks. This insurance protects both the driver and the public when they are in an accident that is the truck driver’s fault. This insurance is comprised of bodily injury insurance, which pays for physical injuries suffered by the victims of an accident, and property damage insurance, which pays for repairs to the property that is damaged in an accident. The FCMSA requires that this insurance meet certain minimum limits of coverage—these limits depend on the weight and type of cargo being hauled and can range from $300,00 up to $5,000,000.
To learn more about federal laws that pertain to truck accidents, view our article, 18 Wheeler Truck Accidents: Federal Law
In addition, there are also Arizona trucking company insurance requirements. These commercial truck insurance requirements allow for truckers to be licensed to operate in our state. These requirements are very similar to the federal requirements, with minimum limits coverage ranging from $300,000 on up to $5,000,000 depending on the weight ant type of cargo that the driver is hauling. Hauling household goods generally cost less to insure, while transporting oil or hazardous material may cost a bit more.
Importantly, just because these are the minimum limits of coverage for drivers and trucking companies, does not mean that these are actually the limits of coverage that all drivers and trucking companies have. Any driver or company is free to purchase coverage that goes far beyond the minimum, and extra insurance coverage could end up making a difference in the compensation that you are able to seek in your case.
WHAT IS COVERED BY TRUCKING COMPANIES’ INSURANCE?
As mentioned in the previous section, what exactly is covered by a trucking company’s insurance will depend on their individual policy. Although there are minimums, there may be certain things beyond the minimums that some companies have chosen to cover, while others haven’t. Outlined below are a few things that typically are and are not covered by trucking companies’ insurance.
Guidelines set forth by both the federal government and Arizona require coverage for bodily injury. This means that any physical injuries that you may have suffered in your accident, whether it be a broken bone, a concussion, or lacerations and bruises, should be covered by the trucking company’s insurance.
Learn More: Common Injuries From Trucking Accidents
Coverage for property damage is also required by law for truck drivers. Property damage coverage will cover any damage to property that the truck driver is responsible for. Typically, this comes into to play in order to repair or replace the vehicle that you were driving during the accident, but any other type of personal property that was damaged during the accident could be covered under this section as well.
Bobtail coverage is not required by federal or Arizona law, so coverage of this sort will depend on the individual policy of the truck driver. Bobtail coverage covers a driver when they are responsible for an accident when driving a truck without a trailer under someone else’s trucking liability. For example, bobtail coverage would cover a driver if they get into an accident after they have delivered a load and were on their way to pick up their next load. Again, the only type of coverage that is required is bodily injury and personal property, so determining what else is covered will require looking at the individual policy of the driver and company that you are involved with.
FILING A CLAIM AGAINST A TRUCKING COMPANY
After you’ve been in an accident with a truck, the way forward can be a little confusing. Not only is it possible to file a claim against a negligent truck driver, but it also may be possible to pursue legal action against the truck driving company who employs that driver. While it will likely take the advice of an experienced to determine exactly who a case or claim should be filed against, there are a few steps that should typically happen no matter who the other party is.
1.Seek Medical Attention
After you have left the scene of the accident, it is important to seek medical attention as quickly as possible. There are a few reasons for this. One, some injuries may not become apparent until days after they happen. Addressing them quickly ensures that they do not become worse or cause more serious problems. In addition, a lengthy delay between your injury and seeking medical attention could be used by the other side to argue that your injuries are not as serious as you claim.
2.Speak with an Attorney
Soon after your accident, you may be contacted by attorneys or insurance companies, which can lead to communications that could damage your claim if you are inexperienced with handling them. An attorney will likely be able to help you with these communications, as well as aiding in the rest of the claim process.
Learn More: Do I Need a Truck Accident Lawyer?
After you have hired an attorney and a claim has been filed, they may be able to begin the lengthy process of gathering the evidence that you will need. This includes things like medical reports, receipts for damaged property, and depositions and interviews for any witnesses or first responders who may have been at the scene.
4.Negotiate a Settlement
Once all of the relevant information has been gathered, your attorney may be able to begin the process of negotiating a settlement with the other party or parties involved. This process will involve presenting your side of the story in the most flattering light possible while attempting to minimize any weaknesses that might exist in your case.
Learn More: How Do Truck Accident Settlements Work?
COMMON MISTAKES WHEN DEALING WITH AN INSURANCE COMPANY
It is important to remember that insurance companies are attempting to make the most money possible, and to that end, they want to pay out as little in your claim as possible. Here are some common mistakes that accident victims often make when dealing with insurance companies.
Settling Too Quickly
When the insurance company offers a settlement soon after your accident, it can be tempting to take the money and put the whole ordeal behind you. However, this is probably the smallest amount that the insurance company will offer in the lifetime of your claim. In addition, more facts may be uncovered that will increase the value of your claim. Taking your time and evaluating your options is most often sound advice.
Accident victims can sometimes feel that a white lie here and there may strengthen their case. However, being dishonest is always a bad policy. Every statement you make may be dissected, and a discovered lie could lead to a judge ruling against you.
Making Recorded Statements
There may be a time when it is to your advantage to make a recorded statement, but that is a decision that should be made after discussing things with your attorney. Making a statement or signing a document before you have reviewed them with your attorney could lead to you unintentionally and irreversibly damaging your claim.
COMPENSATION FOR TRUCKING ACCIDENTS
The compensation that you could be awarded after your accident will come from a combination of your economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are things that can be more readily quantified, like medical bills or damage to property. Non-economic damages typically refer to the physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering that you undergo as a result of your injuries.
Compensation can be impacted by a few other unique circumstances as well. For example, if the amount that the other party is found liable for exceeds their insurance coverage, then they may become personally liable for the amount. However, getting that money depends on if the other party has it to give. In addition, things change a bit when the victim dies, turning the case into a wrongful death case. In these cases, the person who typically receives damages is the surviving spouse, children, or parents. These parties may be able to recover for loss of consortium, which is essentially the loss of companionship of the deceased.
Learn More: Types of Damages In Truck Accidents
CONTACT ZINDA LAW GROUP TODAY
The post-accident landscape of a trucking accident is complex and difficult to navigate, and it will likely require the help of an experienced attorney to make it through. The attorneys at Zinda Law Group have the experience and resources to help you in such a difficult time. In addition, we believe that accident victims shouldn’t have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why we use a no-win, no-fee policy—you don’t pay us anything unless we win your case.
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