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What Are the Insurance Requirements for California Commercial Trucks?

 Whether you own a commercial truck or you got into an accident with one, you’d like to know about the insurance requirements for California commercial trucks. You’d like to know what kind of coverage you need or what you’re entitled to if you have a claim against a trucking company. With the help of a personal injury lawyer, you can pursue a proper settlement to cover your injuries, loss of wages, and more.

 If you got into an accident with a commercial truck, we’re here for you. Riverside, California personal injury lawyers Heiting & Irwin have over four decades of experience assisting clients with personal injury. We have retrieved more than $400 million for our clients, and we’ll work hard to get you the settlement that’s rightfully yours.

Insurance Requirements for Commercial Trucks in California

 The state of California is very stringent when it comes to commercial trucking insurance requirements. This is because if someone gets into an accident with a truck, it can be life threatening as well as incredibly devastating. California wants to protect drivers as much as possible if an accident and a corresponding injury occur.

California truck drivers need to get insurance based on a number of different factors. If it’s a passenger carrier, then the amount of coverage minimum is as follows:

  • 1 to 7 seats: $750,000
  • 8 to 15 seats: $1,500,000
  • 16 seats or more: $5 million

The commercial trucking insurance requirements for trucks carrying property are a minimum of:

  • Vehicles less than 10,000 lbs.: $300,000 liability Vehicles
  • 10,000 lbs. or more: $750,000 (single limit)

There are also high limits for trucks carrying oil ($1,000,000 in liability insurance required), and $300,000 in liability insurance is required for trucks transporting household goods. If a truck crosses state lines – as many trucks do – the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has its own requirements, as well.

Who Is Responsible for a Truck Accident?

When you get into an accident with a truck – or you’re a truck driver who gets into an accident with someone in a car – the responsibility could fall on the driver, the company, or a third party. It could fall on multiple people, as well as the other driver(s).

Many times, truckers are classified or described as independent contractors, which would shield the company they are working for from any liability. However, if the driver was an employee for the company, then the company might be held responsible. Or, if the driver was misclassified as an independent contractor but was indeed an employee, the company may have to pay out your settlement.  A lawyer can really help.

Additionally, let’s say that the trucker or company took the truck in for maintenance, and the repair business messed up the truck. They might be liable too. Also, a company that made the truck’s parts might be involved. For instance, if a company made faulty breaks for the truck, and that’s what led to the accident, then they may have to address the claim and pay damages.

If you were driving recklessly or the accident was partially your fault, you could still be entitled to a partial settlement.  It all depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident.

As you can see, it’s crucial to call a personal injury attorney to help you as soon as possible after the accident with a big rig, bus, or other large vehicle.

What to Do After You Get into a Truck Accident

After you get into an accident, pull your car over to the side of the road to ensure you’re safe. Then, contact the police to generate a police report and give them as many details as you remember.

Ask the truck driver for their driver’s license and insurance information and take photos. Also, snap some photos of the driver’s license plate, the scene of the accident, any visible injuries you have, and any damage to your car and your personal belongings. Note if there are cameras that may have recorded what happened. While they may not be on the highway, if you were on a normal road, traffic cameras, store cameras, or residential cameras may have capture the accident.

Try to determine if anything else (signage, construction, other factors) may have contributed.  Make sure you ask witnesses for statements and gather their contact information in case you need to follow up with additional questions. It’s important to go to the hospital immediately after you’ve collected evidence to have a doctor assess your injuries. Get a thorough checkup as well as X-rays, since you may not be aware of the extent of the injury. Even if you don’t feel “that injured,” you must go to the doctor just in case.

Whatever the doctor tells you to do, make sure you follow through. If you don’t follow a treatment plan, then it may look like you’re not taking your injuries seriously, or you aren’t injured as badly as you claim you are. This could hurt your chances of getting an adequate settlement.

If the truck driver offers you a cash settlement or the insurance company provides you with a settlement offer right away, don’t take it. It’s going to be too low. Minor injuries like whip lash or back pain can turn into a bigger deal and be much more expensive than you ever would have thought. It’s not worth it to take the first offer because then you can’t get a larger, more appropriate, recovery of money down the line.

Why Call a Personal Injury Attorney?

Your personal injury attorney won’t charge you unless they win your case for you. They only take on cases they believe they can win.  They have contacts with doctors and medical facilities and have handled a great many similar claims.  They know what to do, who to use, and what to get.

You could be entitled to economic and non-economic damages like:

  • Your medical treatment costs (not only past, but future, too)
  • Costs for repairing your car or replacing your personal items
  • Loss of wages from time you had to take off work for treatment
  • Pain and suffering as a result of your injuries
  • Your medical equipment and prescription costs
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

There are other damages you could be eligible for, as well.

Get in touch with a personal injury attorney today for help with your trucking accident in California.

Contact Heiting & Irwin for Help

If you were injured in a truck accident and need representation now, then Heiting & Irwin are here for you. We have dealt with many personal injury cases and will work hard to get you the settlement that you deserve. Contact us online or call us at 951-682-6400 to start your case now.

Ms. Morgan obtained her Juris Doctor from Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California. She contributes to the improvement of both the local and legal communities, having provided pro- and low-bono legal services, and volunteering at legal clinics and other programs serving the community. View Attorney Sara Morgan's Attorney Bio Here.

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