Insurance Requirements for Truck Drivers in Utah
The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) explains that truck drivers in Utah must have insurance coverage to operate legally within the state. Trucking companies and truckers who fail to maintain adequate insurance coverage expose themselves to significant financial liability. More concerningly, they put innocent people at risk in the event of a collision.
Swenson & Shelley is ready to answer your questions if you’ve been hurt in a truck accident and are concerned about getting the compensation you need. Contact us today for a free consultation with a truck accident lawyer in Utah.
What is Commercial Trucking Insurance?
Commercial trucking insurance refers to the insurance coverage purchased by private motor carriers. Between mandatory and voluntary insurance coverages, a trucking company’s insurer may cover the following:
- Damage to a truck
- Injuries to a truck driver
- Damage to vehicles that a truck strikes
- Injuries to occupants of vehicles that a truck strikes
- Certain other losses resulting from a truck accident in Utah
Trucking companies of all sizes must purchase and maintain this commercial trucking insurance. Because trucks weigh far more than passenger vehicles and can cause considerably more damage in the event of a collision, the minimum insurance coverage for commercial trucks exceeds that required for smaller vehicles.
What Insurance Must Trucking Companies in Utah Purchase?
Utah requires commercial trucking companies operating strictly within the state to carry the following insurance limits:
- At least $300,000 in general liability insurance for trucks weighing 10,000 pounds or less and carrying general freight
- At least $750,000 in general liability insurance for trucks weighing 10,001 pounds or more and carrying general freight
- At least $1 million in general liability insurance for private or contracted trucking companies that transport oil
- At least $1 million in general liability insurance for private or contracted trucking companies carrying certain hazardous materials
Furthermore, trucks operating across state lines must comply with the regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Utah adopted its intrastate insurance requirements from those set by the FMCSA, so they broadly correspond to one another. However, the FMCSA requires commercial trucks transporting certain additional hazardous materials across state lines to carry at least $5 million in general liability insurance.
Liability coverage for commercial trucks covers both property damage and the cost of injuries to accident victims. The weight of a truck and the materials it transports matter. These factors determine how much insurance coverage a trucking company has to buy.
Additional Types Of Commercial Trucking Insurance for Companies Operating in Utah
Beyond its general liability insurance, a trucking company may purchase additional coverage for the following:
- Damage to a truck that is not carrying cargo, known as bobtail or deadhead coverage
- Damage to a truck that is not on the road, which could result from natural disasters, theft, vandalism, and other hazards not related to driving
- Damage or loss of cargo
- Damage to trailers
- The cost of leasing or renting a commercial truck while an owned vehicle undergoes repairs
- Injuries to truck drivers and other employees
Utah also requires that nearly all employers maintain workers’ compensation insurance, per the Utah Labor Commission. Maintaining this insurance will protect trucking companies from liability for employees’ on-the-job injuries.
Is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance Mandatory in Utah?
Utah follows a no-fault auto insurance system, in which accident victims must turn to their own insurance personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policies for coverage. PIP covers at least the first $3,000 in medical expenses and 80 percent of lost wages up to $250 per week, though specific policies may have higher limits. Only if they meet certain injury thresholds may accident victims file a third-party claim against an at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy. However, 31A-22-302 of the Utah Code states that PIP does not cover owners and operators of trailers and semitrailers for injuries sustained while operating these vehicles.
Filing a Truck Accident Injury Claim
Commercial trucks can weigh up to 30 times more than the average passenger vehicle. It’s little wonder that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that when trucks collide with passenger vehicles, it’s usually the occupants in the passenger vehicle who bear the brunt. In fact, only about 15 percent of people killed in large truck crashes were occupants of the truck. Sixty-eight percent were passenger vehicle occupants, and 16 percent were motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident in Utah, you can take the following steps to strengthen your case and pursue compensation:
- Seek medical attention and document all of your injuries and treatment
- Contact your insurance company to report the accident
- Provide documentation of injuries, property damage, and other covered losses
- Review the insurer’s settlement offer with the help of an experienced attorney
Remember, insurance companies have a vested interest in maintaining their profits by denying claims and minimizing payouts whenever possible. Protect yourself and your rights to compensation by:
- Never admitting fault for an accident
- Documenting every aspect of the accident and resulting losses with photographs, video footage, invoices, and any other relevant documentation
- Retaining an attorney to handle your insurance claim
Should I Hire an Attorney After a Truck Accident in Utah?
If you were hurt in a truck accident, you could be owed compensation for the losses you suffered as a result, including:
- Your medical bills
- Incidental costs related to your treatment
- Repairs to or replacement of your damaged vehicle
- Lost wages and other income
- Diminished earning potential
- Pain and suffering
Unfortunately, getting an insurance company to pay for these losses is often more difficult than it should be. A lawyer can improve your chances of recovering full and fair compensation by:
- Documenting your financial, physical, and emotional losses
- Identifying liable parties
- Securing valuable evidence that could otherwise go missing
- Building a strong case for compensation
- Dealing with insurance companies
- Filing the claim or lawsuit
- Negotiating a settlement
- Taking the case to court
Costs can pile up quickly after a truck accident. Let a lawyer fight for the money you deserve.