Trucking companies, known as motor carriers are required by Texas law to file proof of commercial automobile liability insurance for each registered vehicle. The minimum amount of coverage depends on the type of vehicle and cargo. This is outlined in 43 Texas Administration Code (TAC) §218.16(a). The insurance requirements for truck drivers and trucking companies ensure they are covered in the event of a serious accident or injury. Unfortunately, truck accidents are more common than you’d expect and the financial impact can be tremendous for victims. It’s important to know your rights after a truck accident and the ways insurance companies try to avoid liability.
Before pursuing an insurance claim after a truck accident, we recommend you reach out to The Krist Law Firm, P.C. at (281) 283-8500. We offer free consultations with a skilled Houston truck accident lawyer.
We’ll explain your rights, what to expect, and how to recover the maximum compensation possible.
Insurance Requirements for Commercial Trucks
Truck drivers in every state must adhere to the minimum liability insurance requirements established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Commercial liability insurance covers the costs of financial damages sustained by the victim of a truck accident. It might cover medical bills, repair costs, and even funds for suffering and future expenses. It protects drivers and trucking companies when they cause a serious accident.
The minimum insurance for truck drivers depends on the weight of the vehicle and the type of load being hauled. For example, trucks that weigh over 10,001 pounds that carry non-hazardous materials must have $750,000 of liability insurance. Trucks of the same weight that carry hazardous or explosive materials, on the other hand, must obtain $5,000,000 in liability coverage.
Large Passenger Vehicles
There are also special requirements for large passenger vehicles, like buses. For interstate passenger carriers that can fit 16 or more people, $5,000,000 of liability coverage must be obtained.
When the same vehicle carries 15 or fewer passengers, the requirement is $1,500,000. The only exceptions are for small vehicles that carry less than seven people, like taxis and small buses. Those who operate these vehicles are exempt from the limits listed above.
For commercial vehicles that only travel in Texas, policy limits may be lower. Trucks that carry only household goods only need $300,000 in commercial vehicle liability coverage. Trucks that carry general freight only within Texas need $500,000 in coverage. Other trucks must maintain FMCSA requirements.
Other Types of Trucking Insurance
For trucks carrying household goods, the company must have a minimum of $5,000 for loss or damage to a single shipper’s cargo and a minimum of $10,000 for loss or damage to multiple shippers’ cargo.
Motor carriers must also provide workers’ comp coverage for its employees or accidental insurance coverage of at least:
- $300,000 for medical expenses for at least 104 weeks
- $100,000 for accidental death or dismemberment – including 70% of the employee’s pre-injury income for at least 104 weeks
- $500 for a maximum weekly benefit
Independent Truck Driver Insurance
When truckers are employed by a motor carrier, they may be covered by the liability and cargo policies of their business. Truckers are then required to carry their own non-trucking liability insurance to cover injuries and damages they may cause while not on duty.
However, some truck drivers are independent contractors or own their own companies. In these cases, they must carry their own primary liability policies.
Compensation after Houston Truck Accidents
In Texas, truck carriers take on many of the risks that come with owning and operating a trucking business. As a result, if you or a loved one become injured in a trucking accident caused by a driver or the company’s negligence, the best way to recover the compensation for your losses is to file an insurance claim against the trucking company and the appropriate insurance company.
When you are involved in a truck accident, you can often obtain compensation because of the insurance truckers must carry. A car accident is a different story.
In Texas, the insurance requirements for passenger cars is $30,000 per injured person, $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage. In a typical car accident, the other driver’s insurance will likely be insufficient for covering many costs.
Call a Houston Truck Accident Lawyer to Get What You Deserve
After any serious truck accident, talk with an attorney as soon as possible. Through a thorough investigation, your lawyer will determine who was at fault, who is liable for your injuries, and identify all relevant insurance policies. Then, your attorney will pursue the maximum compensation possible.
Whether your truck accident led to a minor injury or a life-changing condition, you deserve to be compensated. By filing a personal injury lawsuit, you can recover a variety of damages, like medical costs, disfigurement, and lost wages.
The Houston truck accident attorneys at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. have spent years helping people gain the compensation they need to move on with their lives. We know the insurance issues you’ll encounter and how to overcome challenges.
Call (281) 283-8500 for a free, no-risk legal consultation.