How Does Insurance Work in an Interstate Semi-Truck Accident in Mississippi?

How Does Insurance Work in an Interstate Semi-Truck Accident in Mississippi?Interstates like I-55, I-20, I-10 and I-29 are popular places for 18-wheelers as they are making their way through states to deliver products and goods on time. Due to the traffic on these Mississippi roads, it is common for someone to make a simple mistake or error, causing a dangerous or traumatic truck accident at any time.

If you find yourself in an interstate semi-truck accident, it is important to know and understand how insurance might work.

What type of insurance do trucking companies require for interstate drivers

All trucking companies are required to purchase commercial trucking insurance. When large semi-trucks collide with small passenger vehicles, the smaller vehicle usually experiences significant damage, and the driver and passenger inside suffer catastrophic injuries.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires the following coverage for interstate truck drivers:

  • Non-hazardous freight moved in vehicles under 10,001 lbs.: $300,000
  • Non-hazardous freight in vehicles over 10,001 lbs.: $750,000
  • Oil moved by For-Hire & Private Carriers: $1,000,000
  • Other Hazardous Material moved by For-Hire & Private Carriers: $5,000,000

A motor carrier number (MC) also required by the FMCSA when hauling goods at an interstate level.

Interstate trucking vs. other commercial drivers

Interstate trucking insurance coverage will almost always cost more than insurance for other commercial drivers. The reason for this is the added protections required by the FMCSA. Another type of commercial driver, such as a flower delivery van, will not rise to the requirements of the FMCSA. This means that this type of commercial truck driver can purchase regular commercial insurance and feel comfortable with their policy limits if they are in an accident.

An MC number is not required in addition to a DOT number when the following applies:

  • When your vehicle is only being used for intrastate commerce
  • When you are hauling your own products and not someone else’s or hauling your own vehicles
  • When hauling construction equipment you own to and from a construction site

What makes commercial trucking insurance different from personal motor vehicle insurance?

Mississippi requires that all drivers have insurance.  However, personal motor vehicle insurance is different from commercial trucking insurance in multiple ways:

  • The coverage and premiums are different: Commercial trucking insurance aims to protect the company’s assets, and personal motor vehicle insurance aims to protect the person’s own personal property. Therefore, trucking companies should expect higher premiums and coverage amounts because commercial truck driving comes with higher risks.
  • The terms and conditions are different: The terms and conditions for commercial trucking insurance are different from personal motor vehicle insurance. This is because there are usually more options to think about, such as workers’ compensation, liability insurance, cargo insurance, hazardous material insurance, and more. These extra coverage options are not available for personal motor vehicle insurance policies, but they are something that trucking companies need to think about when it comes to protecting themselves.

Is it challenging to file a claim against a commercial truck driver or trucking company?

Just like with accidents involving automobiles, claims against commercial truck drivers and trucking companies are typically resolved by agreeing on a specific settlement with insurance companies. However, it is important to know that it can be much more challenging to go up against a trucking company. Truck accidents are typically more catastrophic, the compensation you may need is likely much higher, and there could be several different insurance companies involved. The following are some of the obstacles you may face when you file a claim against a commercial truck driver or trucking company:

  • Proving who is at fault: While you might know that the truck driver is at fault for the accident, you will need to have significant proof to back this up. This can be challenging because the insurance company will conduct an investigation to determine liability. Depending on what they find or discover, it could impact the amount of compensation you may receive or whether or not the insurance company is willing to cooperate and agree to a settlement. Insurance companies and car accident attorneys usually look at fault differently, which can cause disagreements and delayed compensation.
  • Negotiating a fair and just settlement: When insurance companies are investigating, they are likely looking for ways that you may share some of the responsibility for the accident. If they find any proof that you were responsible for any part of the accident, they may offer a low-ball settlement or refuse to offer a settlement at all.
  • Dealing with policy limits: Another challenge that you may encounter when filing a claim against a commercial truck driver or trucking company is the fact that insurance companies only pay claims that equate to the amount on the policy. A majority of shippers and brokers require commercial truck drivers carry at least $1 million of insurance no matter what it is they are hauling in their truck.
  • Finding regulation violations: In order to get higher compensation amounts, there must be proof that a truck driver or the trucking company violated a rule or regulation. There are several trucking regulations put in place by the state and federal government.

If you have been struck by a semi-truck in Mississippi, you need an experienced and helpful law firm by your side. At Merkel & Cocke, PA, we have built a solid reputation in our community, and we are known to work with the best experts in the industry. Our truck accident lawyers are ready and available to legally assist you with your interstate semi-truck accident case today. We go above and beyond for our clients and always keep their best interests in mind. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule your free consultation at our offices in Jackson, Clarksdale, Greenville, or Oxford. Our team looks forward to meeting you soon!