Texas Trucking Company Insurance Requirements
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Motor vehicle accidents may involve all types of vehicles and legal issues, but those accidents involving 18-wheelers stand apart from the rest. Semi-trucks are much larger, heavier vehicles that tend to cause significant damage to other vehicles when involved in an accident.
TEXAS LIABILITY INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR TRUCK DRIVERS
Trucking companies are required by Texas law to have proof of commercial liability insurance for each vehicle registered to the business. Additionally, truck drivers in all states are required to adopt the minimum liability insurance requirements established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In Texas, trucking company insurance requirements vary based on the type of goods being transported:
- For interstate passenger carriers that fit 16 or more people: $5,000,000 of liability coverage must be obtained.
- For an interstate passenger carrier that carries 15 or fewer passengers:$1,500,000 of liability insurance coverage is required
- For non-hazardous materials property transportation: regulations must provide for at least $750,000 of financial responsibility..
- For-hire and private trucks transporting hazardous material, wastes, or substances (In interstate, foreign, or intrastate commerce, with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds):$1,000,000 in liability insurance is required.
- For-hire and private trucks transporting hazardous substances transported in cargo tanks, portable tanks, or hopper-type vehicles with capacities in excess of 3,500 water gallons (In interstate, foreign, or intrastate commerce, with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds):$5,000,000 in liability insurance is required.
Keep in mind that these policy limits are minimum amounts and companies may have higher limits to their policies.
WHAT IS COVERED BY TRUCKING COMPANIES’ INSURANCE?
In Texas, truck companies provide liability insurance for their employees and are required to take on the risks that come with owning and operating a trucking business. However, the insurance only covers cases where the truck driver’s actions are unintentional and within the scope of employment.
Additionally, truck insurance typically covers the following:
- Erroneous delivery of products resulting in damage.
- Actions of a driver while representing the insured and on the premises of others, such as, loading docks, truck stops, etc.
- Bodily injury and property damage liability.
- Personal injury liability.
- Medical payments.
Truck Drivers’ Insurance
When truckers are employed by a company, they may be covered by the liability policies of their business. However, truckers are still typically required to carry their own non-trucking liability insurance, which covers injury and damage they may cause while not on duty.
There may also be instances in which truck drivers are independent contractors or own their own companies. Independent truck drivers are required to carry their own primary liability policies.
FILING A CLAIM FOR A TRUCK ACCIDENT
After a trucking accident, you may have injuries that require medical attention, a hospital stay, or multiple surgeries with lasting damage. Don’t make it any more painful than necessary by refusing to hire a trucking accident attorney. To learn more about the benefits of hiring an attorney, view our article: Do I Need a Trucking Accident Lawyer?
If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, an accident attorney may:
Assist you in determining liability.
An experienced lawyer may assist you in determining how much you may be entitled to for your injuries based upon each party’s percentage of fault. A lawyer may also help you determine who or what may be responsible for your injuries.
Assist you in collecting and organizing evidence.
An attorney may conduct a thorough investigation to collect as much evidence as possible, which includes: names of witnesses and other parties involved in the accident, medical records and costs of treatment, and any photos of the accident scene. Your attorney may be able to find additional evidence, such as black box data. Black box data may confirm how long the vehicle was in motion and whether the driver violated federal hours of service requirements. Some black boxes may also include information about whether the driver stepped on the brakes and when.
Negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance adjustor.
A lawyer may understand how much your case is worth and may assist you in conducting negotiations with the insurance company in order to help you seek a fair settlement amount.
Assist you in proving a driver’s negligence at trial.
In a car accident lawsuit, you’ll have to show that the other driver was negligent. In order to prove negligence, the following must be proved:
- That the other driver owed you a duty of care. All drivers owe others on the road a duty to exercise reasonable care and attention.
- That the other driver breached their duty of care, meaning that the driver failed to exercise reasonable care.
- That the breach caused your injuries.
- That you were, in fact, injured.
Learn More: Do I Need a Truck Accident Lawyer?
COMMON MISTAKES WHEN DEALING WITH A TRUCKING COMPANY’S INSURANCE
Accident victims may face adversity when seeking full recovery from an insurance company. Here are a few common mistakes victims make in the process:
Failing to Contact An Attorney
A trucking accident attorney may not only help with gathering your claim documentation, but may also help you establish liability and seek and negotiate fair compensation for your injuries. At Zinda Law Group, our experienced trucking accident attorneys have the maximum knowledge and resources necessary to help you build the strongest case possible and to seek the maximum compensation you may be entitled to.
Providing a Recorded Statement
Remember that insurance companies are in the business of making money and are only out to protect their own interests – not yours. This is true even if the insurance company that contacts you is your own insurer. It’s likely that insurance adjustors from both sides may contact you for access to your medical records and other evidence relating to the accident. You should never say anything about the accident. If the insurance company finds out that you were untruthful about anything, your claim could be denied coverage. Instead, it’s best to contact simply refer the insurance company to your attorney.
ACCEPTING A SETTLEMENT OFFER WITHOUT HAVING YOUR ATTORNEY REVIEW IT
Do not give any recorded statements or sign any settlements without review of an experienced lawyer. Insurance companies know that many accident victims are unaware of how much their claim may be worth. Because of this, insurance companies typically offer unrepresented victims a settlement that is lower than the actual value of their claim in the hopes that a victim may take the offer and forfeit their right to a legal claim.
COMPENSATION IN TRUCKING ACCIDENT CASES
Typically, damages for personal injury claims fall under two categories: economic or non-economic damages.
The two main types of economic damages are medical expenses and lost wages. Medical expenses may include:
- Ambulance transportation
- Hospital fees
- Costs of rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Costs for possible future medical treatment
Lost wages represent the time you are off from work due to your injuries from the accident. Lost wages may include:
- Vacation time
- Loss of earning capacity
You may also be entitled to compensation for the cost to repair or replace your vehicle after an accident. This may include the cost of a rental car while your own vehicle is undergoing repair.
Non-economic damages are losses or injuries that are suffered by an accident victim, but are not defined in monetary terms. Non-economic damages may cover:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Physical impairment
- Physical disfigurement
- A lowered quality of life
- Mental anguish
Damages in Fatal Trucking Accidents
The types of damages that may be available to you in a wrongful death action may include:
- The lost earning capacity of the decedent.
- The loss of inheritance, including what the decedent would have reasonably been expected to earn and gift had he or she lived.
- The loss of companionship, society, comfort, and love of the decedent.
- Lost value of household services.
If your claim exceeds the policy limits of the insurance carrier, the chances of obtaining more than the limits are slim. In Texas, certain assets are exempt from seizure for civil judgments. These exemptions include your primary residence; car; wages; personal furnishings; and tools, equipment, books, and apparatus, boats, and motor vehicles used in a trade or profession.
TRUST THE TRUCKING ACCIDENT LAWYERS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP
At Zinda Law Group, our experienced trucking accident attorneys have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you build the strongest case possible and to seek the compensation you may be entitled to.
Our firm believes that an injured victim should never have to worry about their ability to afford excellent legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your personal injury claim. That’s our No Fee Guarantee.
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