Truck drivers in Michigan must carry auto insurance in compliance with both federal and state regulations. Intrastate truckers who only operate within Michigan’s borders must follow state insurance regulations, while interstate truck drivers who drive cross-country must also ensure they comply with federal insurance regulations.
Purchasing the right amount of liability insurance coverage is essential for any type of vehicle, but especially commercial trucks. The vast size and weight of semi-trucks compared to other vehicles automatically put the smaller vehicle’s occupants at risk of severe injuries if a crash occurs.
When truck drivers and truck companies fail to carry enough insurance, they break the law. And they can face stiff penalties, particularly if their negligence results in a truck accident that injures or kills others. At Christensen Law, our truck accident attorneys have the knowledge and resources to help you pursue financial compensation if you’re hurt. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Types of Commercial Truck Insurance
There are many types of truck insurance. Some common types offered in Michigan include:
- No-fault auto insurance – Michigan is a no-fault auto insurance state. All vehicles, including commercial trucks, must have no-fault insurance, which provides Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits to injured people.
- Primary liability truck insurance – Primary liability truck insurance covers bodily injury and property damage resulting from any accidents caused by a truck driver. Federal insurance requirements mandate that interstate trucks carry anywhere from $750,000 to $5 million in liability coverage, depending on the type of freight they haul. While those numbers sound large, it’s important to realize that truck accident injuries can easily amount to millions of dollars in lifetime medical costs. And in multi-car truck accidents, the amounts of the at-fault truck’s insurance policy may be divided among multiple plaintiffs, which could mean victims collect less than what they deserve.
- General liability truck insurance – General liability truck insurance may cover certain risks apart from those associated with the operation of the truck, such as delivering cargo to the wrong location.
- Physical damage insurance – Physical damage insurance protects commercial truck drivers if their trucks are damaged in an accident. This type of coverage has two components – collision and comprehensive. Collision insurance pays for damage to the truck if it is damaged in a collision with a vehicle or a fixed object. Comprehensive insurance provides coverage for almost any other type of threat a truck may face, from vandalism to theft.
- Motor truck cargo insurance – Also known as “cargo insurance,” this type of insurance covers damage to goods and cargo in transport.
Michigan Large Truck Insurance Regulations
Michigan also has its own insurance regulations for large commercial trucks and freighters. The state requires that local commercial truck drivers carry a certain amount of liability insurance. The amount is based on a few different factors, including the type of cargo and the cargo’s destination.
Drivers who do not leave the state and whose rigs have a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of more than 10,000 pounds are required to obtain an intrastate-only U.S. Department of transportation number and carry at least:
- $300,000 in liability insurance for trucks carrying household goods
- $750,000 for trucks carrying general freight
- $1 million for trucks transporting oil
- $5 million for hazardous materials (hazmat) trucks
Federal Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements
Michigan commercial truck drivers who leave the state must also meet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) federal truck regulations. FMCSA requires truckers to carry commercial truck insurance to protect truck accident victims from hefty financial losses in the event of a collision.
- $750,000 to $5 million in public liability insurance (which provides for bodily injury, property damage, and environmental restoration) for general freighters depending upon the type of cargo being transported.
- $300,000 in public liability insurance for non-hazardous cargo, but only for vehicles that are less than 10,001 pounds.
- Freighters that carry household goods are also required to have at least $5,000 in cargo insurance.
Compensation for Truck Accidents in Michigan
Michigan’s no-fault insurance rules dictate that you first turn to your own insurance company for compensation after a truck accident. You may also be able to file a truck accident lawsuit if your injuries meet the state’s serious injury threshold, which says your injuries must result in a “serious impairment of body function.” No-fault rules also apply for truck drivers injured in collisions caused by negligent motorists or another party.
If you are a truck driver and on duty when the truck accident occurred, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to help cover costs such as medical expenses and lost earnings. While Christensen Law does not handle workers’ comp cases, we work hand in hand with workers’ compensation attorneys who may be able to help. But you should know that you could have a workers’ comp claim and a third-party personal injury lawsuit if someone else (not your employer) caused the crash. Our injury attorneys can help you with a third-party claim stemming from a job-related truck accident. A successful claim could recover costs not covered by your workers’ comp benefits, such as pain and suffering and excess lost wages.
Sadly, many truck accidents result in fatalities. If you lost a beloved family member in a wreck, a representative from the deceased’s estate could potentially file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the family. Through wrongful death claims, family members such as the driver’s spouse, children, parents, and others can recover different types of damages related to their loved one’s death, such as funeral and burial expenses, pain and suffering, loss of income, and more.
Contact Christensen Law Today
Being hurt in a truck accident can be life-changing, but financial help is possible. Talk to a truck accident attorney at Christensen Law today. We’ll examine all available insurance coverage from the liable parties to give you the best possible chance of maximizing your financial recovery. Contact us today for a consultation.