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Trucking Companies, Drivers and Insurance Companies May Pay for Damages

Thousands of commercial trucks pass through the Houston metro area daily. When accidents with these vehicles occur, chances are the consequences will be catastrophic as cars that come into contact with a truck are frequently totaled, with their occupants suffering serious injuries or death. Understanding Texas commercial truck insurance requirements for carriers involved in these mishaps is essential for victims who may need to pursue injury claims. 

Victims involved in commercial trucking accidents can benefit from speaking with an experienced injury attorney. The Karam Law office represents people injured in large truck and other vehicle accidents throughout Houston and the surrounding area. Our experienced legal experts have recovered millions in compensation on behalf of our injured clients. Contact our office at (832) 859-8453 for a complimentary consultation to discuss your chances of receiving fair compensation.

Why Texas Requires Trucking Liability Insurance

Commercial trucks generally weigh thousands of pounds more than personal vehicles, with most coming in at over 10,000 pounds  Others can weigh much more. For example, an 18-wheeler semi-tractor trailer can weigh 35,000 pounds unloaded and as much as 80,000 lbs when fully loaded. Some also carry hazardous materials. This combination can spell disaster for motorists involved in accidents with such large vehicles.

Minimum Texas Trucking Liability Requirements

Minimum insurance requirements for trucks in Texas vary according to the size of the vehicle and the amount and type of load it carries. Liability insurance is intended to cover victims’ financial damages in accidents. Federal and state laws determine the amount of coverage. Frequently, trucks operating solely within the state may not be subject to federal regulations, while those crossing state lines will.

Minimum coverage amounts differ as follows:

  • Less than 26,000 pounds of cargo. When carrying 26,000 pounds or less of household goods, state law requires $300,000 in liability. However, if the goods cross state lines and weigh more than 10,000 pounds, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires a minimum of $750,000 in coverage.
  • More than 26,000 of cargo. Under Texas and federal law, a minimum of $500,000 of liability insurance is required.
  • Transporting oil and hazardous materials. State and federal laws require oil transporters to have a minimum of $1 million in liability, while those transporting hazardous materials must have at least $5 million. Other types of insurance may also be necessary.

FMCSA Oversight

All trucks crossing state lines are subject to FMCSA oversight. This organization also performs compliance reviews,  trucking terminal audits and oversees complaints to verify that companies follow federal trucking regulations. If the trucking company violates these standards, these facts may play a part in injury lawsuits.

What If the Trucker Involved is an Independent Contractor?

Although many truckers work for hauling companies, sometimes independent truckers may be involved in a mishap. Independent contractors must have their own liability policy, but frequently, their insurance policies are not as large as those of large trucking companies. Plaintiffs usually have an easier time recovering damages from larger companies.

Where are Catastrophic Accidents Likely to Occur?

Many commercial trucking accidents occur on the interstates and highways that cross the region. However, drivers of smaller vehicles cannot relax their guard on other roads as many regular intersections have proven deadly for truck crashes. Look at these dangerous intersections in Sugar Land, where numerous serious crashes occur annually.

Recovering Compensation From Insured Truckers

Texas has a fault-based system, meaning the negligent party’s insurance company is responsible for victim injuries when an accident occurs. Yet, insurance companies often don’t want to pay damages, claiming you were at fault for the accident. For catastrophic injuries or where truckers are underinsured, the amount plaintiffs receive may not be sufficient to cover expenses.

To effectively recover compensation from trucking insurance companies, plaintiffs must seek medical attention as soon as possible after the incident, along with getting all related medical records. Documenting all details involving the accident is critical. Obtaining photos of the accident is also essential.

Were You Severely Injured in a Trucking Accident in Texas?

Filing a claim against a trucking company in Texas can become complicated. You may be eligible to receive various damages beyond what an insurance company can pay you, as that compensation often isn’t enough to cover catastrophic events.

When you file a personal injury claim in Texas, you may be eligible to receive compensation for various damages, including payment for your medical bills, lost wages, and recovery from emotional trauma, pain and suffering. Contact us at the Karam Law Office, where we can help you determine your case’s validity. Call us at (832) 859-8453 to schedule your free consultation.