Personal injury accidents claims arising out of tractor trailer collisions with cars and motorcycles can provide tremendous pitfalls for the accident victim because transportation carriers do not make it easy to locate adequate insurance coverage. Quite simply, they go out of their way to conceal that information from accident victims and their attorneys.
So what do we do in those situations? We find the insurance coverage. Here's how.
The truck driver's employer or employers.
The first route for coverage is the truck driver's employer(s). The transportation company, that is, the trucking company, may have significant insurance coverage for bodily injury claims and possibly excess coverage. But, this assumes that the driver is not an independent contractor. If he is, then the attorney representing the injured victim may have to locate the insurance information for the independent trucker, which is usually a separate insurance carrier than that of the trucking company.
The owner of the tractor.
If the driver is not the owner of the tractor, than the tractor owner may have their own policy of insurance. This is so even if the tractor is rented or leased to the driver. Also, if the owner was or should have been aware of some reason the driver should not have been driving (prior vehicular violations, log book violations,inadequate sleep/hours or service issues), then the tractor owner may be additionally liable for the victim's injuries under theories of negligent entrustment. This means that the company owner was negligent in not making sure the truck driver was safe, and if that can be proven, then there is actually a separate cause of action that can be brought in the case, aside from the negligence claim against the driver. It does not mean a double recovery in terms of damages in the case. But it may give rise to a punitive damage claim.
The company who owned the loads or product being hauled.
These companies may be considered the employer of the driver in some circumstances. Coverage information from these entities should also be obtained.
The broker company.
Separate broker companies are likely to be involved in any long haul trucking contract. These companies act as middlemen for the motor carrier and then entity that wants the load hauled, and they may carry their own insurance policies.Again, theories of negligent entrustment abound in this type of case.
Any entity whose name is on the tractor or trailer.
This information will identify company names. We can track down their corporate and commercial information, which will ultimately lead to insurance coverage information.
The company or individual who registered the Department of Transportation number for the tractor.
Interstate trucking carriers operate vehicles that are authorized to operate in multiple state jurisdictions, including U.S. and Mexican states and Canadian provinces. Intrastate trucking carriers operate entirely within a single state.Both require DOT numbers which can lead additional insurance.