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Finding All Available Insurance in Car and Truck Accident Claims

Severe car accident cases often involve a search for creative solutions to finding insurance coverage. The reality is that in most severe injury cases, a full recovery requires tapping into more than just the defendant’s personal auto insurance policy. Accordingly, car accident attorneys must be creative in looking for every possible source of additional insurance coverage.

Smartly crafted interrogatories help you look for additional insurance. One big thing to look for (that most car accident lawyers miss) is a resident relative that may have a larger insurance policy. Smart lawyers also ask questions about whether the person may have been directly or indirectly on the job at the time of the accident or whether the defendant had another umbrella policy that could be applied to the accident.

Remember that at least in theory, the adjuster should be trying to help you find coverage. Push the adjuster to probe the client and look for more coverage. Because some adjusters do not understand their obligation to find more coverage to protect their insured (and because some insureds foolishly try to hide policies), you need to get an affidavit with respect to the at-fault driver’s assets and the lack of insurance coverage.

Obviously, when looking for coverage, you want to apply the same analysis to your own client for uninsured motorist coverage.

Truck AccidentFour Steps to Finding More Insurance Coverage

In a truck accident claim, it is important to explore all potential sources of insurance coverage to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages. Here are some steps you can take to find more insurance in truck accident claims:

  1. Investigate the trucking company’s insurance coverage: Trucking companies are required by law to carry liability insurance, but the amount of coverage can vary widely. Your attorney can investigate the trucking company’s insurance coverage to determine the limits of liability and whether there are any additional insurance policies that may provide coverage.
  2. Look for other potentially liable parties: In some cases, there may be other parties that share liability for the accident, such as the manufacturer of a defective truck part, a maintenance company that failed to properly maintain the truck, or a shipper that overloaded the cargo. Your attorney can investigate the accident to determine whether there are any other potentially liable parties and whether they have insurance coverage.
  3. Explore your own insurance coverage: Depending on the circumstances of the accident, your own insurance policy may provide coverage for your injuries and damages. For example, if the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage may provide additional compensation. Your attorney can review your insurance policy to determine whether you have any additional coverage that may apply.
  4. Consider umbrella policies: Some trucking companies and individuals may have umbrella policies that provide additional coverage beyond their primary insurance policies. These policies can be difficult to find, but your attorney can help you investigate whether they exist.

Insurance Coverage in Truck Accident Cases

President Carter signed the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 into law on July 1, 1980. It was part of a series of federal transportation deregulation laws during the 1970s. The Act reduced price controls and barriers to entry. In exchange for these new freedoms, the Act increased the required insurance limits for truckers.

Motor Carrier Act of 1980 mandates registered interstate motor carriers to file proof of financial security with the Department of Transportation “sufficient to pay … for each final judgment against the carrier.” 49 U.S.C. § 10927(a)(1) (2016). If the motor carrier chooses, as most do, to provide such financial security through insurance coverage, these insurance policies must incorporate what is called a“Form MCS-90” endorsement.


Federal regulators instituted the MCS-90 in conjunction with the MCA 1980. It is an endorsement placed on the insurance policy as evidence that financial responsibility has been met using one or more insurance policies. The process is called layering if multiple policies are needed to achieve the overall required limit.

MCS-90 is a federal requirement in the United States for motor carriers that operate commercial motor vehicles. It is a form of insurance that provides financial protection to the public in case of accidents caused by the motor carrier’s vehicles. The MCS-90 endorsement is a federally mandated endorsement that must be attached to the insurance policy of any motor carrier that is authorized to transport property or passengers in interstate commerce.

The MCS-90 endorsement ensures that motor carriers have sufficient insurance coverage to pay for any damages or injuries caused by their vehicles in accidents. This endorsement requires that the insurance carrier assumes liability for any judgment or settlement arising from the use of the motor carrier’s vehicles, regardless of the liability limits in the policy.

This means that if a motor carrier’s insurance policy is insufficient to cover the damages or injuries caused by an accident, the insurance carrier must pay the full amount of the judgment or settlement up to the limits of the endorsement. In other words, the MCS-90 endorsement provides an additional layer of protection for the public by ensuring that the motor carrier has the financial means to pay for any damages or injuries caused by their vehicles.

The MCS-90 endorsement is an integral part of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), which govern the safety and operations of commercial motor vehicles in the United States. Motor carriers must carry liability insurance that meets the minimum levels outlined in the FMCSR, and the MCS-90 endorsement is an integral part of this insurance coverage.

Assuring Compliance

The recitals of the MCS-90 explain that the endorsement is issued “to assure compliance by the insured with federal responsibility requirements.” So the MSC-90 requires the insurer to pay “any final judgment recovered against the insured for public liability resulting from negligence in operation, maintenance or use of motor vehicles … regardless of whether or not each motor vehicle is specifically described in the policy ….”. This MCS-90 endorsement protects truck accident crash victims by guaranteeing a “safety net” minimum level of compensation for injured claimants. The amount depends on the type of vehicle, but the minimum is $750,000.

Failure to Comply Does Not Relieve the Obligation

An essential feature of the MCS-90 is that no failure by an insured to comply with a condition of coverage will relieve the insurer from such obligation. See 49 C.F.R. § 387.15. So the issuing insurer agrees that it will pay any judgment entered against the motor carrier, even if the loss is not actually covered under the basic insurance policy. So many of these trucking companies are small shops here today and gone tomorrow. Insurance companies cannot disclaim coverage because the insured failed to cooperate.

Many courts agree that an MSC-90 also applies to a permissive user of a tractor-trailer. The practical significance of a truck accident lawyer cannot be overstated. Now, truck crash victims may often stack policies and collect from the insurer of the trailer’s owner, the company loading the truck’s trailer, AND the company whose product was being shipped.

Smart attorneys in these cases flush out these issues from the very beginning. Request in your discovery when filing the complaint the underlying policy and all possible policies that might apply, including umbrella, fronting, excess, self-insurance, and reinsurance policies. Specifically, ask for the MSC-90 form itself.

Broker Shipper Liability in Truck Accidents

Brokers and shippers play an important role in the transportation of goods by commercial trucks, and their actions or omissions can sometimes contribute to truck accidents. In such cases, brokers and shippers may be held liable for damages caused by the accident.  So many lawyers overlook this path to a more money for truck accident victims.

Brokers act as intermediaries between shippers and carriers, and their main responsibility is to arrange transportation of goods. They do not own the trucks themselves, but they hire carriers to transport the goods on behalf of the shipper. Brokers are required to exercise due diligence in selecting carriers and ensuring that they have appropriate insurance and safety records. If a broker fails to properly vet a carrier or knowingly hires a carrier with a poor safety record, the broker may be held liable for any damages caused by the carrier.

Shippers, on the other hand, are responsible for ensuring that their goods are properly loaded and secured for transport. They must also ensure that the carrier they hire is properly licensed and insured. If a shipper fails to properly secure their goods or hires an unlicensed or uninsured carrier, and an accident occurs as a result, the shipper may be held liable for any damages caused by the accident.

Related Information

Common Truck Accident Defendants

Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer

If you have been involved in a truck accident and suffered injuries or damages, it is essential to seek legal representation to protect your rights and ensure that you receive fair compensation. Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to helping victims of truck accidents recover the compensation they deserve.

We understand the complexities of these cases and have a proven track record of successfully representing clients in truck accident claims across all 50 states. We have recovered millions for our clients.

Please reach out to us today at 800-553-8082 to schedule a free consultation and let us help you navigate the legal process and fight for your rights. You can also reach out to us online.

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They quite literally worked as hard as if not harder than the doctors to save our lives. Terry Waldron
Ron helped me find a clear path that ended with my foot healing and a settlement that was much more than I hope for. Aaron Johnson
Hopefully I won't need it again but if I do, I have definitely found my lawyer for life and I would definitely recommend this office to anyone! Bridget Stevens
The last case I referred to them settled for $1.2 million. John Selinger
I am so grateful that I was lucky to pick Miller & Zois. Maggie Lauer
The entire team from the intake Samantha to the lawyer himself (Ron Miller) has been really approachable. Suzette Allen
The case settled and I got a lot more money than I expected. Ron even fought to reduce how much I owed in medical bills so I could get an even larger settlement. Nchedo Idahosa
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