The commercial truck industry in the United States provides efficient and low-cost transportation of goods throughout the country. However, it employs massive trucks to haul those goods. These extremely large, heavy vehicles share the road with passenger vehicles, resulting in deadly and catastrophic accidents.

Most of the injuries and deaths that occur because of large truck accidents involve passengers in other vehicles or non-passengers (i.e. bicyclists and pedestrians). Over one-third of the large truck accident fatalities and deaths in 2018 were people other than the truck driver or occupants of the large truck. 

Sadly, large truck accidents kill and injure thousands of innocent victims each year. The damages caused by commercial truck accidents can total millions of dollars. Many victims sustain permanent, life-altering injuries and disabilities because of the truck accident.

If you have been injured in a commercial truck accident, contact a truck accident lawyer immediately. Truck accident cases are incredibly complex. They involve laws and regulations that are specific to the trucking industry. 

An example of a complicated issue related to truck accident claims is MCS 90.

What is MCS 90?

Is MCS 90 something you need to care about if you are injured in a truck accident? Yes! This insurance endorsement might be the only way that you can recover compensation for damages caused by a commercial vehicle accident. 

MCS 90 is an endorsement to a commercial truck insurance policy. Federal laws require that trucking companies and motor carriers that operate across state lines purchase an MCS 90 endorsement as part of their insurance requirements. 

When a truck company registers with the FMCSA, it must prove that it has a liability insurance policy with an MCS 90 endorsement covering its trucks.

Damages in a Truck Accident Claim Can Be Substantial

Truck accidents tend to cause severe and traumatic injuries. Victims can sustain a variety of injuries that result in debilitating conditions. Injuries in a truck accident can include spinal cord injuries, paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, severe burns, amputations, disfigurement, and other permanent disabilities. 

Traumatic and permanent injuries result in high medical bills and a substantial loss of income. If the victim is unable to work, the future loss of income could total millions of dollars. Ongoing medical and personal care costs for a lifetime can also equal millions of dollars. 

Because truck accidents can result in high-dollar claims, it is vital that the companies carry adequate insurance to cover these claims. However, insurance policies can have exclusions that apply in truck accident claims. If an accident is excluded from the policy, the insurance company does not have to compensate the victim for damages.

Suing the truck driver or the trucking company does not guarantee payment of an accident claim. The truck driver probably does not have personal insurance or assets to pay a multi-million dollar claim. The truck company could go out of business or file bankruptcy to avoid paying the claim.

For these reasons, MCS 90 endorsements are critical in protecting victims of truck accidents.

How Does MCS 90 Help With a Truck Accident Claim?

MCS 90 endorsements allow victims to file insurance claims for truck accidents, even though the primary insurance policy excludes the accident. Insurance companies agree to be responsible for damages caused by an accident involving a covered truck when they issue an MCS 90 endorsement. 

The insurance company compensates the victim for damages caused by the truck accident. The company can then sue the trucking company for reimbursement of that money because the accident was excluded from the primary liability insurance policy. The MCS 90 endorsement protects the victim and places the burden of arguing about liability back into the insurance company’s hands and the trucking company. 

There are Exceptions to Claims Under MCS 90 Endorsements

For an MCS 90 endorsement to apply, the motor carrier or trucking company must operate across state lines. If the trucking company only operates within Texas, it is not required to purchase an MCS 90 endorsement.

Also, the coverage provided under an MCS 90 endorsement only applies if all of the following requirements are met:

  • The primary liability insurance policy covering the truck contains an exclusion that covers the accident
  • The trucking company is liable for the cause of the truck accident
  • The victim is not an employee of the trucking company or an independent contractor working with the trucking company
  • The victim sustained injuries because of the accident and does not have another source of compensation for damages

Like minimum car insurance requirements, truck companies must only purchase minimum coverage amounts for an MCS 90 endorsement. The type of truck and the cargo the truck hauls dictate the minimum amount of MCS 90 coverage the truck company must purchase. 

Trucks that do not transport hazardous waste and have a gross weight rating of 10,0001 pounds or more only require $750,000 in MCS 90 coverage. On the other hand, if a truck transports certain hazardous waste materials, the minimum insurance requirements increase to $5 million. However, some hazardous waste materials require just $1 million in MCS 90 coverage. 

Steps to Take After a Truck Accident in Texas

If you were involved in a commercial truck accident, there is a good chance you sustained traumatic injuries. You may not have been able to take notes, take pictures, or ask eyewitnesses for their names at the truck accident. You probably were transported directly to the hospital for treatment.

If so, continue to follow your doctor’s treatment plan and follow up appointments. If you have not seen a doctor, do so immediately. Prompt medical attention is crucial in a truck accident case. 

Do not discuss the truck accident with anyone, including the insurance company and representatives for the trucking company. Things that you say following a truck accident can impact your case. Instead, contact a truck accident attorney right now. 

A truck accident attorney takes immediate steps to preserve evidence that can prove you were not at fault for the accident. Your lawyer notifies the trucking company to preserve information including:

  • The black box data
  • Logbooks
  • Driver records
  • Truck maintenance records

Your attorney also identifies all liable parties and verifies available insurance coverage. 

You need to focus on recovering from your injuries. Your lawyer focuses on building a strong case against the truck company. The goal is to get you the most money possible for your truck accident claim.