Accidents involving commercial trucks otherwise known as semi-trucks or tractor-trailers are particularly dangerous for the occupants of other vehicles due to the massive size of the truck. Weighing up to 30 times more than passenger cars, a commercial truck is had to stop, turn, or maneuver. Because of this, the federal agency tasked with regulating the trucking industry requires truck drivers or the owners of trucking companies to provide an increased amount of liability insurance to compensate the victims of these accidents. However, what happens when the truck driver is uninsured.
If you were in an accident involving an uninsured truck driver, your case is will likely be a complicated one. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help you understand your legal options.
The Insurance Requirements for Truck Drivers
Because of the extraordinary risk of serious injury or death posed by other roadway users if involved in an accident with a semi-truck, commercial truck drivers or trucking companies must carry more liability insurance.
The insurance requirements for the trucking industry include:
- $750,000 to $500,000 of liability coverage for most commercial vehicles hauling more than 10,000 pounds of freight. The amount of insurance required depends on the type of freight the truck is hauling and the weight.
- Commercial vehicles (such as buses) with a seating capacity of fewer than 15 passengers must carry a liability policy of at least $1.5 million, while buses that seat more than 15 passengers need a $5 million policy.
- Trucks transporting household goods must also carry cargo insurance of $5,000 per vehicle or $10,000 per occurrence.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires proof of applicable insurance upon registration of the truck with the agency.
Why Does It Matter?
Insurance pays nearly compensation for traffic accidents. While you may file a lawsuit against an uninsured truck driver or the trucking company that failed to prepare the driver and truck for the job, those without insurance can rarely afford to pay for injury expenses out-of-pocket.
What Happens to the Uninsured Truck Driver After the Accident?
If a truck driver operated a commercial vehicle without insurance, they face legal consequences including traffic citations, losing their driver’s license, or even incarceration. Trucking companies who fail to insure their trucks not only face responsibility for compensating the expenses and impacts incurred by other roadway users but can face monetary penalties from the FMCSA as well as losing standing with the agency.
Unfortunately, none of these consequences will assist those injured in the accident obtain compensation.
Possible Options After an Accident with an Uninsured Truck Driver
Only 16 percent of the fatalities and injuries in truck accidents involve the truck driver. Sixty-seven percent of those injured or killed in these accidents occupy other vehicles, and 15 percent are vulnerable roadway users, such as bicyclists, motorcyclists, or pedestrians. Overall, more than 10 percent of the people killed in accidents on U.S. roadways are involved in large truck crashes.
In addition to a high number of fatalities, truck accidents often result in severe or even catastrophic injuries. Because of this, victims need compensation. However, without insurance on the commercial vehicle, obtaining compensation can be difficult, even if the facts of the case are clearly in your favor. One of the many services an experienced truck accident attorney will provide is a thorough exploration of your legal options for obtaining compensation. Here are some possibilities that you and your attorney can discuss.
Other Liable Parties
Not all accidents feature one liable party. Many accidents are the result of errors committed by multiple drivers. Your attorney will examine the details of your crash to determine if other liable parties can compensate you.
Uninsured Motorist Policy
Several states require drivers to purchase an uninsured motorist policy as part of their minimum insurance requirements. Drivers in other states can purchase this type of coverage as a policy add-on. If you have an uninsured motorist policy, you can use it to seek compensation for the expenses you incurred from an uninsured truck driver.
Other Insurance Policies You Have
Uninsured motorist policies are not the only type of insurance coverage you can seek compensation from after being involved in an accident with an uninsured truck driver.
Other types of coverage that you have that can assist you in paying for the expenses of your truck accident injuries include:
- Personal injury protection policies, which some states require
- Med-Pay policies
- Employer or self-provided health insurance policies
Suing the Uninsured Driver or Trucking Company
In many cases, suing the uninsured truck driver or the trucking company responsible for insuring the truck remains an option worth exploring with your attorney. In many cases, if you receive a judgment in your favor, there will be collection options available, including the garnishment of the at-fault driver’s wages. Your attorney will know how to recover your award.
Uninsured Truck Driver Crash Into You? A Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
Truck accidents can produce some of the most serious, life-altering injuries a person can suffer. These injuries often require a higher level of compensation due to the permanent impacts on the sufferer. If an uninsured truck driver injured you, let an experienced truck accident attorney determine the best way to seek compensation.