When you are involved in an accident with a commercial truck, there’s a good chance the damage will be extensive. Whether it’s damage to your vehicle or physical harm to you, you’ll likely want to get reimbursed for the bills that result.
The good news is that truck drivers and trucking companies in Texas are required to have extensive insurance coverage to cover the costs of damages sustained in a truck accident. This coverage can help compensate you for things like medical costs, missed wages, car repairs, and pain and suffering. The federal and state insurance requirements for Texas truck drivers and trucking companies vary depending on the type of commercial vehicle and what’s being transported.
Trying to get reimbursement from an insurance company can be tricky, which is where an experienced commercial truck accident lawyer comes in. They can help you wade through the particular insurance company’s coverage to recover as much of the cost of your accident as possible.
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Liability and Other Insurance Requirements for Trucking Companies
Under both federal and state laws, Texas commercial trucking companies are required to maintain minimum liability insurance policies for each registered vehicle. Both the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Texas Department of Transportation detail specific instructions and minimum liability insurance coverage requirements for trucking companies. Whether Federal law or State law applies to the commercial vehicle’s insurance requirements depends on whether the truck operates interstate (across state lines) or intrastate (within Texas borders only).
The minimum liability coverage in Texas depends on the type of vehicle and the cargo being carried. For example, commercial motor vehicles that weigh over 26,000 pounds and transport household goods must have at least $500,000 of liability insurance.
If a truck that weighs 26,000 points or less and transports household goods only in Texas, the minimum liability insurance is $300,000. But if household goods are being transported outside of state lines and the truck weighs 10,001 or more pounds, the FMCSA requires minimum liability coverage of $750,000.
Both Texas and the FMCSA require trucks carrying oil to have at least $1,000,000 in liability coverage and those carrying hazardous materials to have a minimum of $5,000,000.
In addition to minimum liability insurance, trucking companies in Texas are required to maintain other types of insurance coverage.
Cargo Insurance Coverage
For trucks carrying household goods, trucking companies must have at least $5,000 for loss or damage to a single shipper’s cargo, and at least $10,000 for loss or damage to multiple shippers’ cargo.
Accidental Insurance Coverage
Trucking companies must also have accidental insurance coverage or workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. Coverage must be at least:
- $300,000 for medical expenses for a minimum of 104 weeks
- $100,000 for accidental death and dismemberment, including 70 percent of an employee’s pre-injury income for at least 104 weeks when compensating for loss of income
- $500 maximum weekly benefit
Depending on their insurance policy, trucking companies may also have coverage for things like physical damage, non-trucking liability, uninsured motorist coverage, and rental reimbursement. Our Austin commercial truck accident lawyers can review any insurance policies involved in your accident to see what your options for reimbursement and damages may be before you file a commercial insurance claim.
What Insurance Are Truck Drivers Required to Have?
Just like any other driver, truck drivers are required to have insurance. Truck drivers who are independent contractors must have their own primary liability policy, which means they are covered in the case of an accident. Independent contractors may also have business liability insurance that helps them cover damages.
If a truck driver is an employee of a trucking company, they are typically covered by the company’s insurance when in an accident during the course of work. Because the commercial trucking company is likely to have a bigger insurance policy, there’s a better chance of recovering damages from the company rather than the driver.
It’s not always obvious if a truck driver is an employee or independent contractor, but it’s an important distinction, since it could mean the difference between getting reimbursed for only some damages or for all. An experienced Austin truck accident lawyer like those at FVF can help determine if the truck driver involved in your accident is an employee of a trucking company to get you the best recovery possible.
How Do I File a Commercial Insurance Claim?
When it comes time to file a commercial insurance claim, you want to make sure you have all the necessary information at hand. Insurance adjusters for Texas truck drivers and trucking companies will want to know your side of the story, including when and how the accident occurred, if you played any part in the accident, and what medical and other bills you incurred as a result of the accident.
You’ll typically first go through your own insurance company to detail the accident that occurred and give them the other party’s insurance information. With that information in hand, your insurance company will talk to the trucking company’s insurance adjuster to start your claim.
It can be intimidating to interact with an insurance adjuster when you’ve been in an accident, but a truck accident lawyer can help. The attorney you choose should have extensive experience helping people manage insurance claims and getting the results they need.
Schedule a Free Consultation with FVF
Our team of experienced commercial truck accident lawyers in Austin can help determine who was at fault in your accident and the amount of insurance liability coverage involved. With that information, we will fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation today.