Some of the rules for semi-trucks and passenger vehicles are essentially the same. Semi-truck drivers need to follow all posted traffic signage. They need to avoid distraction and intoxication at the wheel. There are actually stricter standards established under federal rules for commercial drivers that may not apply to those in passenger vehicles.
Commercial drivers are subject to a lower blood alcohol limit and numerous other regulations that do not affect those driving personal vehicles. Like passenger vehicles, commercial trucks should have liability insurance. Those involved in a crash with a semi-truck might think they can manage filing an insurance claim on their own. However, that is a mistake that could potentially come back to haunt them later.
What makes semi-truck claims so challenging?
The biggest difference between an insurance claim after a crash between two personal vehicles and a crash between a passenger vehicle and a semi-truck is the level of insurance coverage available. Specifically, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires coverage levels that are ten times higher than the baseline coverage required by Missouri state laws.
An owner-operator in their own truck or a commercial transportation company should purchase at least $750,000 worth of liability coverage for a commercial vehicle. Vehicles transporting dangerous materials are subject to higher insurance requirements. Many transportation companies carry more coverage than the law requires because of the financial risk inherent in a commercial collision.
While that extra coverage may seem like a source of additional protection, it can actually complicate a claim after a wreck. Insurance professionals often negotiate far more aggressively when a policy has more coverage available. The potential losses for the company are much larger.
Professionals may offer lowball settlements or engage in manipulative negotiation tactics. They may trick people into giving recorded statements and manipulate them into implicating themselves by asking leading questions. An individual unfamiliar with insurance company tactics and their rights under the law could make mistakes that deprive them of thousands of dollars in compensation that they technically deserve.
Most people who have a sizable claim to negotiate are already in a difficult position anyway. They may have suffered major injuries, substantial property damage losses or the death of a loved one. Trying to manage negotiations while simultaneously handling personal matters can be a real challenge for most people. Having the right support after a semi-truck crash may improve someone’s chances of securing necessary compensation for the losses they’ve incurred.