If you are involved in a collision caused by a commercial truck, the insurance coverage will be entirely different from a typical auto policy. The laws that govern determination of fault and legal liability are also different.
Truck drivers who operate commercial vehicles across state lines are governed by the United States Department of Transportation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was created to oversee trucking safety due to the dangers involved. Truck drivers face increased safety regulations and stricter laws. For example, they are legally not allowed to text or use cell phones, their hours on the road are strictly limited (to avoid driver fatigue), they cannot be driving while impaired even if their BAC is merely .01 percent, and they are also subject to a large body of law that imposes equipment safety standards on truck drivers and on the trucking companies that employ them.
Truck accident law is quite complex, and accident victims in these cases should always have legal counsel. Truckers are required under Federal motor carrier safety regulations to carry at least $750,000.00 in liability coverage. In some cases, the trucking company will be “self-insured,” meaning that they have posted a bond and established proof that they are financially able to pay for accident claims as they arise.
With so much money at stake, trucking companies and their insurance carriers always seek toblame the other drivers involved in any accident. They are slow to accept fault, thus it is often best to use collision coverage to pay for your vehicle repairs to avoid direct dealings with their adjuster. For more information about North Carolina truck accident law, see chapter 8 and the discussion of tractor trailer accidents and visit www.carolinatrucklawyer.com.
Homeowner’s Insurance - Umbrella Coverage
This is another type of excess liability insurance that is not part of a car insurance package. The policies are often issued by the same insurance company, but they are truly different policies. The homeowner’s umbrella is excess coverage that pays over and above the auto liability policy. The liability insurance coverage on the insured driver’s auto policy must be fully exhausted before the umbrella coverage can be accessed. The umbrella policy is essentially extra coverage available to pay for damages caused by the homeowner. It only opens and pays benefits in serious injury claims that exceed the value of all available auto liability coverage.
Umbrella policies are wonderful fund sources, and they typically carry $1,000,000.00 in additional benefits to cover victim claims. This coverage is pure excess, meaning that the coverage is not reduced by the amount of the liability payout. The clue that tells us there is likely umbrella coverage is an underlying auto liability insurance policy with coverage limits of $250,000.00 per victim, $500,000.00 per accident. Umbrella insurance providers typically insist on this higher level of auto liability insurance to keep the umbrella policy affordable. If we see the $250,000.00 per person limit, there is a very strong likelihood that additional umbrella coverage exists.
If the value of your claims exceeds the limit of coverage available on all available auto liability insurance policies, always look for homeowner’s coverage for every driver or vehicle owner who can be held legally responsible for your damages. If the opposing parties will not cooperate with full voluntary disclosure of insurance sources, a simple suit filing will allow you to force disclosure through the court’s discovery process.