Kentucky Insurance Issues in Truck Accident Cases
Insurance law is complicated; and when a commercial vehicle is involved in an accident, these issues become even more complex. If you’re involved in an accident with another non-commercial vehicle, it’s likely that just two insurance policies owned by the two drivers are involved. When a commercial truck is in an accident, there may be a number of insurance companies and different insureds involved. This is all the more reason to contact an attorney if you’re injured in an accident involving a commercial truck in Kentucky.
Who has what insurance coverage?
A driver of a commercial vehicle might own or lease the truck or may be driving one for his or her employer. Drivers with their own trucking businesses (known as owner-operators) will own or lease their truck, and sometimes the trailer, too. These drivers need to meet the insurance requirements and regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the state or states where they haul cargo.
If the driver works for a trucking company, that individual normally wouldn’t carry his own insurance for commercial driving. Insurance would be held by the company employing the driver. These companies should also have the FMCSA-required and state-required insurance coverages for the tractor trailer.
A company that leases a tractor and/or a trailer to a driver may also have its own insurance to cover the leased equipment.
A company using an independent owner-operator to use his or her own equipment to haul the company’s load may also have insurance. This is to protect the cargo, but this coverage may come into play if the cargo had a role in causing the injury (for example, if it came off the trailer and created a road hazard that caused the accident).
How much coverage should there be?
FMCSA regulations set minimum financial responsibility requirements on motor carriers. Interstate trucking companies must have at least $750,000 in liability coverage. If hazardous materials are being hauled, the limits are higher.
Insurance policies covering motor carriers must include an MCS-90 endorsement. It’s supposed to ensure that there are adequate levels of insurance in case someone is hurt or killed in a truck accident. It also prevents an insurer from using what would otherwise be valid coverage defenses to a policy. For example, even if a particular vehicle or driver is not listed in a policy, the insurer cannot avoid providing coverage.
Why you shouldn’t try to negotiate your own case with an insurance company
If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, negotiating with an insurance company (or companies) on your own would be a mistake. Without a full, professional investigation of the truck accident, as well as knowledge of accident and insurance law, you won’t know whether a settlement offer is fair.
Don’t expect any favors from an insurance company.
- They are on their own side, not on your side, and they may be trying to find a way to deny coverage for the insured.
- If you’re the victim of an accident and contacted by an insurance company, their employee may sound helpful — but his or her goal is to help the insurance company, not you.
Insurance is a multi-billion dollar industry. Their goal is not to help accident victims but to make money.
- They do so through raising revenue (premiums and returns on investments) and limiting costs (including claims).
- The more claims they pay, the higher their costs, the lower their profitability — so there’s incentive to decrease the number of claims paid and the amount paid in each claim.
The insurance company’s interests are directly opposite yours.
- You should receive fair and reasonable compensation for all your accident-related injuries.
- The insurance company wants to make your case go away as quickly and cheaply as possible.
- The insurance company is not concerned about your rights and interests.
While communicating with an insurance company, you may state things damaging to your claim or sign forms that you don’t fully understand.
- If you don’t know the law or what kinds of evidence could potentially be used at trial, you may reveal information very damaging to your case, or omit information beneficial to you, without realizing it.
- You may sign a general release and give up rights you didn’t know you had or could fully appreciate. Signing such a release could end your chances of pursuing a legal action.
One of the major benefits of retaining us to represent you for a truck accident case is that we deal with the insurance companies on your behalf, saving you a lot of time, energy and aggravation while you recover from your injuries and get your life back on track. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in Kentucky involving a commercial truck, call the Julie Butcher Law Office at 859-233-3641 or fill out our contact form to talk about your case and your legal options.