Being involved in an accident with another car is different from being in an accident with a semi-truck. These trucks can weigh 20 to 40 times more than vehicles commonly on the roadway. Depending on the load they are hauling, they could cause severe injury and severe property damage. When driver negligence is the cause of the accident, it is the trucking company that is held liable. Due to the amount of road covered by these drivers, the trucking companies must carry insurance that covers activities in any state that they may operate in.
What is an MCS-90 Endorsement?
An MCS-90 insurance endorsement is what all trucking companies are required to have under regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). All of the MCS-90 filings made through the FMCSA are made publicly available online. If you are involved in an accident with a semi-truck, your lawyer can gather information about the trucking company and the insurance, including:
- The name of the trucking company’s insurance carrier and policy number
- The policy limits of the liability coverage
- The legally binding assurance that the company meets federally mandated requirements for financial responsibility
By having all of this information readily available through the MCS-90 endorsement, your claim can be filed with the trucking company’s insurance, and the information can help speed up the process.
FMCSA Minimum Truck Liability Insurance Limits
The FMCSA requires that trucking companies meet a minimum limit of coverage for the trucks on their fleet. The minimum coverage that is required is dependent upon the type of freight that the trucking company hauls.
- Non-hazardous freight and a truck that is under 10,001 pounds: $300,000 minimum coverage
- Non-hazardous freight and a truck that is over 10,001 pounds: $750,000 minimum coverage
- Oil moved by a for-hire and private carriers: $1,000,000 minimum coverage
- Other hazardous materials moved by for-hire and private carriers: $5,000,000 minimum coverage
The minimum coverages are in place to help cover accidents, no matter the amount of damage that is done. The FMCSA expects that if an accident occurs and does damage, that the insurance coverage the trucking company has will cover it.
How the MCS-90 Works When a Claim is Filed
The MCS-90 endorsement is like a golden ticket that provides you with the reassurance that the trucking company has sufficient assets in the event of an accident. Even in the event of an accident where the coverage might not be enough to cover the damages, the insurer will likely pay out the claim and seek reimbursement from the trucking company.
The problem lies when there is not an MCS-90 on file for the trucking company. Not only could claims be delayed, but they will also be denied if they fall outside the policy limits. If the claim is denied, it falls upon the accident victim to seek out legal counsel and pursue compensation from the trucking company.
The even scarier part is when the company doesn’t file the MCS-90, their insurance coverage doesn’t cover your claim, and they are already on the verge of bankruptcy – meaning they don’t have the assets to pay out a claim, to begin with. Accident victims are then left without resources to pay for the injuries they sustained. No one wants to be left in this situation.
What You Can Do If Involved in a Truck Accident
If you are involved in a truck accident, even though you cannot control the MCS-90 endorsement status, you can collect information that will help in the event of a lawsuit. The truck driver should provide you with all of the information you need, such as their name, driving information, and insurance information.
You should immediately call the police to have a report filed, and an investigation completed if necessary. Make sure you take photos at the crime scene to help clear up any possible discrepancies in stories. This is another reason why calling the police and having a report filed is a good idea. It can help to clear up the question of fault.
Finally, when in doubt, seek out the advice of a truck accident lawyer. Truck accident lawyers have the experience needed to take on the trucking companies and their insurers. Truck accident lawyers can look and verify the existence of an MCS-90, use the insurance information to file a claim, and proceed with legal action if the insurer does not pay out the claim.