February 11, 2021 | Truck Accidents
Trucking companies assume a lot of financial risks when truck accidents happen. These accidents can cause massive property damage and multiple injuries.
Because of this, trucking companies depend on their insurers to protect them after an accident. Without insurance, a truck accident could easily bankrupt a trucking company.
Insurers use MCS-90 insurance endorsements to record their insured’s financial status so that insurance claims can be paid more efficiently. The lack of an MCS-90 endorsement could delay your insurance settlement or even force you to file a lawsuit against the trucking company to recover compensation.
Here are some of the things that you should know about trucking insurance and the ways that an MCS-90 endorsement can improve the chances that you will receive an insurance check after a truck accident.
Liability Insurance for Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are different from car accidents in a few ways.
Here are some of the important differences:
- A fully loaded commercial truck can weigh 20 to 40 times more than your vehicle. As a result, a truck collision can cause severe property damage and injuries.
- Trucking companies are liable for injuries and damages when their drivers behave negligently. They are also liable if they negligently hire, train, or drug test their drivers.
- Interstate trucking companies require insurance policies that cover a trucker’s activities in any state in which they operate.
Because of these risks, the federal government regulates the insurance policies trucking companies must carry.
What is the MCS-90 Endorsement?
An MCS-90 is an insurance endorsement that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires trucking companies to have. The FMCSA makes all MCS-90 filings publicly available online.
From this form, your lawyer can gather some information about the trucking company’s insurance and financial status, including:
- The trucking company’s insurance carrier and policy number
- The policy limits of the trucking company’s liability coverage
- A legally binding assurance that the trucking company meets the federally mandated financial responsibility requirements
Your lawyer can use this information as they file your claim with the trucking company’s insurer. The insurer can also use this information to speed up the processing of your claim.
Insurance Claim Processing After a Trucking Accident
When you file a claim after a truck accident, the insurer for the trucking company will investigate the claim to determine:
- Whether there will be coverage of the claim under the insurance policy
- The liability of the trucking company in causing the accident
- The value of your claim, based on your documented damages
If the policy covers your claim and the trucking company caused the accident, the insurer will pay the claim. While the insurer may haggle with you over the amount paid, the insurer will eventually pay.
What If the Policy Does Not Cover the Claim?
A claim might fall outside the terms of a policy for a few reasons, which include:
- The policy did not list the truck as a covered vehicle.
- The policy did not include the driver as a covered party.
- The policy did not cover the truck’s cargo.
- The policy did not cover the location of the truck.
Keep in mind that the trucking company’s insurer has a financial interest in denying the claim. As a result, the trucking company might need to fight to have the claim covered. But if the trucking company filed an MCS-90, the trucking company and its insurer will fight this battle without your involvement.
The Policy Does Not Cover the Claim, But the Trucking Company Filed an MCS-90
Filing an MCS-90 assures the insurer that the trucking company meets the minimum financial requirements under federal law. This means that the trucking company has sufficient assets, insurance, and surety bonds to cover any damages arising from any accidents they cause.
The financial responsibility requirements depend on the size of the trucks being driven and the type of cargo being carried. For smaller trucks carrying non-hazardous material, the trucking company must have $750,000 in insurance, surety bonds, and assets. For large trucks carrying hazardous material, the law requires the trucking company to have $5 million in insurance, surety bonds, and assets.
If an MCS-90 has been filed, the trucking company has sufficient finances to cover its claims. In this case, the insurer will usually pay out for claims, even if the policy does not cover them. The insurer will then seek reimbursement from the trucking company. But since you received your payment, this battle will take place entirely between the insurer and the trucking company and you will not be stuck waiting on a settlement.
In general, this means that the insurer will not penalize you if the trucking company failed to secure adequate insurance coverage, but still filed an MCS-90. Instead, the insurer will pay your claim and hold the trucking company responsible for the cost of the payout.
The Policy Does Not Cover the Claim and the Trucking Company Failed to File an MCS-90
Failing to file an MCS-90 also sends a message. If this is the case, it means that the trucking company could not assure its insurer of its financial state. As a result, the insurer will not risk paying for claims because it has no assurance that it can seek reimbursement from the trucking company.
Insurers will almost always deny a claim that falls outside of the policy when the trucking company failed to file an MCS-90. Unfortunately, this shifts the burden of damages directly to the innocent victim of the trucking accident, who is forced to seek compensation without the aid of the insurer.
To recover compensation in this situation, you must file a lawsuit against the trucking company. A lawsuit could substantially delay compensation for your injuries.
Worse yet, the trucking company might lack the ability to pay a damage award, even if it loses the lawsuit. Since the trucking company failed to file an MCS-90, it might be on the verge of closing or filing bankruptcy. This could leave you without the resources to pay for your injuries.
Recovering Compensation for Truck Accidents
Unfortunately, you cannot control whether the trucking company responsible for your accident has an MCS-90 endorsement.
In case you need to file a lawsuit after the trucking company’s insurer denies your claim, you should:
- Get the truck driver’s information at the accident scene.
- Call the police to investigate the accident.
- Take photos at the accident scene with your phone’s camera.
- Consider hiring an injury lawyer that is experienced in truck accidents.
Taking these steps can improve your chances of winning a lawsuit against the trucking company. If the trucking company’s insurer refuses to pay your claim, a lawsuit might provide the only path for recovering compensation for your truck accident.