How Much Insurance is Required for Truckers and Why Does it Matter?
In Colorado, drivers of passenger cars must have at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability insurance. This means if a crash happens, insurers will pay up to $25,000 to each injured victim, but will pay a maximum total amount of compensation of $50,000 spread out across all victims. Drivers of passenger cars are also required to have $15,000 in property damage coverage per accident.
These minimum coverage requirements are often insufficient in cases of serious crashes, and many drivers buy more coverage --- but not all drivers do. If an accident happens with a driver that has too little insurance coverage, the victims often face difficulties collecting compensation. Drivers may be left trying to collect from individual defendants personally or trying to get money from their own insurer if they have underinsured driver coverage.
For those injured by truck accidents, however, concerns about inadequate insurance coverage are not as big of an issue. That's because there are federal rule regarding insurance coverage which set minimums much higher for liability insurance. Colorado Springs truck accident attorneys can provide help to victims of truck collisions in understanding what the insurance coverage minimums are and why this matters.
Insurance Requirements for Trucking Companies
Commercial trucks are typically subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and are subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). Among the rules set forth by the federal government which apply to most short-haul and long-haul truck drivers are rules requiring much higher liability insurance coverage than the average driver of a passenger car must carry.
For example, for trucks that weigh 10,001 or more pounds but do not carry hazardous material, the minimum insurance requirement is $750,000 in liability insurance coverage. If trucks carry hazardous material, trucks may be required to have $5 million in liability coverage.
This higher insurance coverage requirement ensures that there is more money available to provide compensation for victims of truck collisions. However, it is generally the motor carrier that must obtain the insurance – which often means that trucking companies have much more coverage than individual drivers who operate trucks.
Because trucking companies have such substantial insurance coverage, victims should typically pursue claims against the motor carrier instead of or in addition to the driver who was operating the truck at the time of the accident. Trucking companies can be held accountable for collision losses due to the company's own negligence, such as if the company failed to enforce hours-on-duty limits or didn't conduct proper screening of hire drivers. Companies can also be held accountable because drivers who are on duty are considered agents of the company, so their actions are the company's actions.
Colorado Springs truck accident attorneys can provide help to victims of truck collisions in understanding their options for pursuing damage claims and in holding trucking companies accountable so there will be insurance funds available to cover the costs of injuries. Contact an attorney for help as soon as possible after you are involved in an accident to learn more.