Whose Insurance Pays for a Truck Accident?

Truck Overturned on HighwayJust as in any other motor vehicle accident, liability for a truck accident depends on what caused the crash. But when an accident involves a truck, multiple parties – and therefore multiple insurance companies – may be involved and could be liable.

We recommend working with a lawyer to identify the responsible party(ies) and the liable insurance companies. You can call us at 425-242-5595 to review your case.

What Parties Carry Insurance for Truck Accidents?

Any entity along the chain of distribution in which the truck is involved likely carries liability insurance. These can include:

  • Trucking carriers. Trucking companies carry insurance to cover accidents caused by their truck drivers or their own negligence (e.g., negligent hiring, poor driver training, negligent maintenance and repairs, etc.).
  • Cargo owners. The owner of the cargo truck may also carry liability insurance. The cargo owner may be liable for an accident if the cargo was a factor in the accident or the injuries. Examples of when cargo can be a factor include when the cargo is a hazardous material or when the cargo shifted and caused the driver to lose control of the truck.
  • Cargo shipper/loader. There are strict rules about how to load and secure cargo during transport. When cargo moves while the truck is on the road, the truck’s center of gravity can change, causing the tractor trailer to careen, skid, or flip over. If improper loading or securing of the cargo was a factor in causing the accident or the injuries, the shipper or loader of the cargo can be responsible.
  • Maintenance or repair company. If the company responsible for performing maintenance or repairs was negligent in its duty, it could be liable for an accident if the accident is related to failure to make repairs or perform maintenance, or for poor repair and maintenance.
  • Truck or parts manufacturer. If a defective part on the truck caused or contributed to the wreck, then the part or truck manufacturer could hold liability too. For example, if a truck’s defective brakes caused the accident, then the truck or brakes manufacturer could be responsible for damages.
  • Other drivers. If another driver – not a truck driver – caused or is partially liable for the accident, the at-fault driver’s liability coverage may cover the injured party’s damages too. The minimum coverage for cars in Washington is: $25,000 per person for injury or death; $50,000 for two or more people injured or killed; and $10,000 in property damage

How Much Insurance Do Large Trucks Have to Maintain?

Commercial trucks must have at least the minimum coverage required by federal rules. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), trucks must have:

  • Liability insurance that protects the public for claims of bodily injury and property damage. The required amount can range from $300,000 to $5,000,000 depending on the truck’s weight and whether the cargo is hazardous.
  • If the commercial vehicle transports passengers, it must carry at least $1,500,000 of liability insurance, but some have to carry as much as $5,000,000 of coverage.

We encourage people hurt in a truck accident to review other parties and their insurance policies with a lawyer, as coverage may vary depending on the party.

Will a Driver’s Own Insurance Cover Their Damages?

Drivers who carry no-fault coverage like personal injury protection (PIP) or collision coverage may file claims with their insurer in addition to seek compensation from a third-party insurer, such as those listed above.

These no-fault coverage options pay damages regardless of fault. But if you recover compensation in a liability claim, your insurer may be able to seek reimbursement for the benefits it gives you. This is called subrogation.

If you have been in a truck accident, call Max Meyers Law at 425-242-5595 to explore the insurance policies that may cover your accident. We can help you gather evidence and build your case so you recover fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

Max Meyers
Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.