Stephen Schultz | September 2, 2022 | Truck Accidents
In the commercial trucking industry, companies must comply with federal and state requirements to transport cargo legally on public roads.
The 1980 Federal Motor Carrier Act served to restructure the trucking industry. One of the critical functions of the act was to regulate motor carriers’ abilities to meet financial responsibilities in the event of an accident. One way trucks can establish financial responsibility is by obtaining an MCS-90 endorsement.
If you or a loved one was involved in a trucking accident, you should know the purpose of an MCS-90 endorsement and how this document can affect your ability to obtain compensation for damages.
What Types of Trucks Are Subject to Federal Regulation?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), any truck that engages in interstate commerce is subject to insurance regulation.
- Trucks traveling between states
- Trucks traveling within one state but crossing a secondary state en route
- Trucks traveling within one state that carry freight originating from another state or country
Because interstate commerce is so prevalent, most commercial trucks that operate in the United States will be subject to FMCSA regulations.
How Does Insurance Work for Commercial Trucks?
Trucking companies purchase insurance policies to cover their fleets in case of accidents.
Like individuals who own multiple cars, trucks are added to a company’s policy to ensure each vehicle is protected. Truck insurance policies generally include liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage.
When an insurer signs off on a trucking company’s policy, they also need to issue an MCS-90 endorsement.
This endorsement establishes that the trucking company:
- Has insurance with an active liability policy
- Meets federal financial responsibility requirements
Mistakes sometimes happen, and an MCS-90 endorsement works as secondary protection for the public to ensure that a trucking company will pay out damages related to a crash, whether they adequately insured the truck or driver on their policy.
Minimum Insurance Coverage for Trucks
Federal insurance requirements call for the following minimum coverage for commercial trucks with a gross vehicle weight over 10,000 pounds (five tons):
- Hoppers and portable tanks over 3,500 gallons: $5,000,000
- Oil, hazardous materials, and hazardous waste: $1,000,000
- Nonhazardous cargo: $750,000
A trucking company can only obtain an MCS-90 endorsement if their insurance policy meets the sufficient amounts.
The Importance of an MCS-90 Endorsement
An MCS-90 is a public filing. If you were involved in a negligent accident caused by a truck driver, your attorney could access this document to identify the insurance company, policy number, and coverage limits.
After an accident involving a commercial truck, you’ll likely want to seek out damages to pay for the following:
- Medical expenses for hospitalization and treatment
- Lost wages due to injury
- Repair or replacement of your damaged vehicle
As long as the trucking company filed an MCS-90, their insurance company will generally pay your claim.
An MCS-90 endorsement makes the claim process more straightforward because the insurance company has pre-screened the trucking company and knows they can cover their premiums and other costs.
If the trucking company’s insurance policy doesn’t cover the accident, the MCS-90 endorsement will pay your damages 1) if the trucker is at fault, and 2) you have no other options for compensation.
What if There’s No MCS-90 Endorsement on File?
You could face a lengthy legal battle when a trucking company fails to obtain an MCS-90 endorsement.
Denials can delay the process of recovering your damages. Additionally, trucking companies lacking MCS-90 endorsements may not have sufficient resources to pay out your damages.
In situations like these, you’ll need the help of a seasoned truck accident lawyer who can fight to secure your damages in court. Otherwise, you risk losing out on any compensation you’re rightfully owed, especially if the trucking company declares bankruptcy to absolve itself of responsibility.
Contact Our Truck Accident Law Firm in St. Louis, MO
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, please contact Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:
Ladue, MO Law Office
9807 S 40 Dr, St. Louis, MO 63124
Creve Coeur, MO Law Office
999 Executive Pkwy Dr #205, Creve Coeur, MO 63141