MITCHELL LATTOF | January 21, 2021 | Truck Accidents
In 2019 alone, there were at least 180,000 commercial auto accidents. In these situations, nearly 100,000 people sustained injury. This should be relatively unsurprising, as commercial drivers handle large machinery, work long hours, and often carry hazardous material. Given these statistics, it’s easy to understand why most commercial auto companies are mandated to have MCS-90 as proof of coverage.
Most people are unfamiliar with MCS-90 and what it offers. After all, civilians uninvolved with the commercial auto industry may not be aware of how this proof of insurance benefits them. That’s because, with MCS-90, everybody on the road is safer in the event of an accident.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident, you deserve the best care possible. Because of MCS-90, you may receive financial compensation for your injury recovery.
Let’s look at exactly what MCS-90 is and how it benefits you.
The Basics of MCS-90
When searching for MCS-90 information, you may have come across dense legal information that only furthers your confusion. In simple terms, MCS-90 is a type of endorsement, or proof, that most commercial industries must have. It indicates that in the case of an accident, the company or carrier has the necessary insurance to cover the public’s damages.
This endorsement is not an auto policy on its own. Rather, it acts as an add-on to a coverage policy. MCS-90 essentially states that any public parties that were injured in a commercial accident are eligible to receive a minimum compensation to put towards their injuries. This payment is mandatory even if the commercial truck itself isn’t covered under the company’s insurance.
As of 1980, the Federal Motor Carrier Act required that most commercial companies have this form of coverage to protect the public’s safety. Generally, any motor vehicle established for the trucking or transporting of hazardous material needs such proof.
Possessing an MCS-90 shows the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that a company has general market insurance, self-insurance, or a surety bond. General market insurance and self-insurance differ in who is held liable. With general insurance, the insurance company is held liable, but with self-insurance, the individual company is liable for risk. Surety bonds are complex but are typically bonds purchased and held by a third party.
With the MCS-90 requirement, you can feel safe and secure on the road knowing that you will receive financial compensation in the case of a commercial accident.
One common misconception is that the MCS-90 directly benefits the motor company who claims the endorsement. This is not the case. Instead, the innocent public benefit from MCS-90.
When you’re in an auto accident, there are usually two insurance policies involved, and the at-fault individual’s insurance pays for medical coverage. The situation is similar to commercial vehicles. When there is an at-fault motor accident, MCS-90 ensures that you receive a baseline monetary compensation.
The money you receive depends on the type of accident you were involved in.
The criteria, as stated from the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, are as follows:
- When the truck is for-hire, weighs 10,001 pounds or more, and is carrying non-hazardous property: $750,000
- When the truck is either for-hire or private, weighs 10,001 pounds or more, and is carrying a hazardous material like oil or waste with a capacity under 3,500 water gallons: $1,000,000
- When the truck is either for-hire or private, weighs 10,001 pounds or more, and is carrying a hazardous material in cargo tanks, portable tanks, or hoppers with a capacity of at least 3,500 water gallons: $5,000,000
- When the truck is either for-hire or private, weighs less than 10,001 pounds, and is carrying any amount of defined hazardous material: $5,000,000
It’s vital to confirm with the company, and possibly an experienced motor vehicle lawyer, the situations surrounding your accident. This way, you can receive the compensation you deserve.
What’s the Catch?
In order to receive money from a trucking or insurance company for your injuries under MCS-90, the situation must match one of a few specific circumstances. As long as your conditions are similar to the following occurrences, you should not have any difficulty receiving compensation with a truck accident lawyer.
First of all, MCS-90 only comes into play when the trucking or motor carrier was participating in interstate commerce. Interstate commerce is the type of business completed when travelling across state lines. For example, if you were injured by a commercial vehicle in Alabama, but the vehicle was coming from New York, you can receive compensation. On the other hand, if the vehicle was travelling from one place in Alabama to another location within the state, MCS-90 is not applicable.
After you’ve clarified that the carrier was completing interstate commerce, there are situations that must be applicable to receive damages.
- The carrier’s insurance policy must not provide coverage for the accident.
- The driver of the carrier vehicle must be found responsible for the accident.
- You must not be an employee or independent contractor for the company involved in the accident.
- You must not have another means of financial support for your medical coverage.
If all of these situations are met, you should be eligible for compensation. As mentioned previously, the amount of compensation depends on the type of accident you’ve been in.
It’s vital to confirm that your situation is not only compatible with the aforementioned circumstance, but that you will receive the proper compensation as per your particular accident.
In the Case of Injury: Next Steps
If you were hurt in a trucking accident, it’s critical that you visit a medical professional and receive the care you need. It’s understandable to be fearful about paying for your treatment, but your health is of the utmost importance. Additionally, by visiting a doctor, you create a necessary record of treatment that proves you sustained actual injuries in the accident.
After you are healed and well, your next step should be talking with an experienced truck accident attorney. MCS-90 processes can be complex and require extensive knowledge of commercial insurance. This step will ensure you don’t sign any paperwork or settlement agreements with the motor company without knowing what benefits you’re entitled to.
Though it may be tempting to accept a settlement payment, corporations often try to offer you lower amounts of money to limit their company’s media exposure. By consulting with an attorney, you gain control over the situation. Having the upper hand of a truck accident case will always benefit you financially.