Truck drivers often take it on the chin when it comes to blame where there is a collision between a passenger vehicle and a tractor-trailer. In fact, studies show that the passenger vehicle is more often to blame in causing the collision. And for every collision that actually takes place, any truck driver who has been on the road long enough can tell you 10 other stories about accidents that didn’t happen because of the actions of the truck driver.
So why do truck drivers take a disproportionate share of the blame? The fact that commercial trucks carry large amounts of liability insurance probably plays a huge role in that. It is common to see trucks that have $1 million or more in liability insurance.
Surprisingly, many trucks also have underinsured motorist coverage on them as well. So – what is underinsured motorist coverage?
Underinsured motorist coverage makes up the difference between the amount of liability insurance an at-fault driver has on its vehicle and the amount of underinsured motorist coverage on your vehicle. When another vehicle is at fault for causing an accident and you have underinsured motorist coverage on your vehicle, you can receive underinsured motorist benefits through your own policy for damages which are not covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
An example illustrates the point: let’s say that you are in an accident with a passenger vehicle that has $50,000 in liability insurance, but you have $700,000 in damages. When you don’t have underinsured motorist coverage, you simply do not receive any compensation at all for the $650,000 in damages you suffered in excess of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. However, if your vehicle carried a $1 million policy which provided underinsured motorist benefits, then your insurance carrier would step in and pay the excess $650,000 which you would not receive otherwise.
A few key points on this …
First, you should get help if you have been in a serious motor vehicle accident with a passenger vehicle which did not have adequate coverage to help you determine whether underinsured motorist coverage is available. This is something that the trucking company will almost never tell you about.
Second, the interaction between a worker’s compensation case and an underinsured motorist claim is complex and is something that calls for the help of a well-qualified attorney.
Third, pursuing an underinsured motorist claim is a fairly complex undertaking in most states and making a technical error in setting the claim up could result in the loss of the claim. Therefore, hiring a well-qualified lawyer is the first step in protecting your interests in an underinsured motorist claim.