Based on the most recent statistical information obtained from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the number of large trucks involved in injury accidents increased by 5% (107,000 to 112,000) from 2017 to 2018. Trucking companies are required by federal law to have a minimum amount of truck insurance for accidents such as these. One way that claims are made easier is through an endorsement called an MCS-90. The MCS-90 is an endorsement filed with the FMCSA that provides the insurance information of the trucking company and is the verification that the company has the assets to meet financial responsibility in the event of an accident.
MCS-90 Endorsements Can Carry Problems
The first misconception that needs to be clarified is that the MCS-90 is not insurance. The Federal Motor Carrier Act of 1980 led to interstate truckers being required to show proof of financial responsibility, more as a surety to the public that the motor carrier could pay in the event of an accident. Let’s look at some of the most common MCS-90 claim issues.
Motor Carriers Required to Reimburse Claims
If an accident occurs with a vehicle not covered under the insurance policy or the claim amount exceeds the policy’s limits, the motor carrier, having the MCS-90 on file, will have to reimburse the insurance company or pay the claim directly. The MCS-90 endorsement is proof that the company has the financial means to pay. The purpose of the MCS-90 is to assure those in an accident with a truck that they will at least receive the minimum amount for their losses regardless of the insurance status.
Minimum Insurance Requirements
Trucking companies are required to carry the minimum amount of insurance while on the road. These can be found outlined on the MCS-90 form and are verified with that same form.
- Trucks for-hire with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or more that are carrying non-hazardous materials are required to have minimum liability insurance of $750,000
- Trucks carrying hazardous materials with a gross weight of over 10,000 pounds are required to have minimum liability insurance of $5,000,000
- For-hire and private trucks with a gross weight of over 10,000 pounds in foreign or interstate commerce are required to have minimum liability insurance of $1,000,000 (with substances not listed in part two or four of the outlined coverages)
- For-hire and private trucks with a gross weight under 10,000 pounds in foreign or interstate commerce but carry highly classed hazardous substances are required to carry $5,000,000 minimum liability coverage
Expired MCS-90 Endorsement
An expired MCS-90 endorsement is the same as not having the MCS-90. By law, no motor carrier shall operate a motor vehicle until they have obtained proof of the minimum levels of financial responsibility as dictated by the law.
There is a 35-day period in which cancellation may be affected by the insurer or the insured if done in writing. Proof of transmission suffices for proof of notice.
The MCS-90 is filed with the FMCSA as proof of financial responsibility, but if there is no MCS-90 on file, it could be because there is no insurance sufficient to cover or the company does not have the liquidity to cover damages that could be sustained in an accident. The risk comes when the motor carrier does not have sufficient coverage or financial responsibility and uses an accident to file bankruptcy. In that case, the accident victim would be required to pursue legal action outside of insurance claims.
Covered by the MCS-90
Luckily, in many accident settings, the MCS-90 allows insurance claims to be paid out quicker due to the public file and easily identifiable information. Along with the claim, a lawyer can include the victim’s medical bills, treatment costs, and medications. They may also ask for proof of your lost wages and any estimates you may have for damage to your vehicle.
With the MCS-90 on file, there should be little resistance when paying out your claim as long as the accident is covered under the motor carrier’s policy. Even if the insurer for the motor carrier does not pay out the claim, the MCS-90 is the proof needed that the carrier has the ability to pay out your claim even if they were operating against the insurance policy they have.
If you find yourself in an accident with a truck, you should not hesitate to seek help from a legal professional who understands MCS-90 endorsements. A professional can help you recover the compensation you need for injuries you sustained as a result of the accident.
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