After a crash with a negligent truck driver, an injured motorist might assume that a trucker or trucking company will pay a commercial insurance company to process claims and pay for their damages. While this is often true, some companies are self-insured and, therefore, must pay out of their own funds when a trucker under their employ causes an accident. Unfortunately, these companies are often reluctant to accept claims, making the process difficult.
If you have to deal with a self-insured trucking company after an accident, you may need the guidance and advice of an experienced lawyer. Having a dedicated attorney on your side can help to ease your stress and clarify your legal options moving forward.
Understanding Self-Insured Companies
In short, a self-insured trucking company is one that does not maintain any form of commercial insurance. Instead, to protect themselves from liability in the event of an accident, these companies try to meet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCA) standards by using their own funds or credit to pay. To this end, the federal and state governments pass laws to ensure consumers are adequately protected from insurers who act in bad faith.
Essentially, these companies under their own insurance must still satisfy the same legal requirements as trucking companies with commercial insurance. If a person is injured by a trucker who is working in the scope of their employment for a self-insured company, they might need to proceed differently.
Since the trucking company acts as its own insurer, it will be responsible for filing and paying out claims to an injured claimant. If a claim is submitted and approved, the trucking company would then pay the injured party directly. Unfortunately, as with some commercial insurers, trucking companies who provide their own insurance strive to avoid having to pay an injured motorist, so they often rely on unfair or illegal tactics to do so.
There are specific laws, however, that deal with how companies who hold their own insurance treat their claimants. Before dealing with an insurer, an injured motorist should consult an attorney who knows how to handle truck accidents and self-insured companies in Michigan. However, if a claim is denied, an injured motorist would have to sue the trucking company or at-fault trucker directly through a civil lawsuit.
Filing a Lawsuit After a Claim is Denied
As previously mentioned, some self-insured trucking companies will try to deny the claim of a person injured in a crash with one of their employed truckers. While this is relatively common, it can still be a shock to an injured claimant who requires compensation to help pay their medical bills and living expenses.
Under these circumstances, the accident victim would need to file an injury lawsuit against the company or the at-fault truck driver. For a successful claim, it must be established that the trucking company or a trucker under their employ was negligent and caused an accident. Then, it must be established that this accident caused the claimant to suffer injuries and subsequent harm. If successful, a claimant could recover calculated damages for their physical, financial, and psychological suffering. Naturally, the extent of recoverable damages will depend largely on the severity of a crash, as well as the specific losses a claimant has suffered.
Legal Help With Michigan Self-Insured Trucking Companies Following a Crash
If you have been injured in a collision with an at-fault truck driver, you are most likely looking to pursue compensation against both the trucker and, if necessary, their employer. However, when a trucking company is self-insured, the process for seeking compensation is different and, often, more difficult due to the reluctance of these companies to accept claims.
Before proceeding, reach out to a knowledgeable lawyer who is familiar with truck accidents and self-insured companies in Michigan. To discuss your circumstances further, schedule a consultation with a compassionate attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. today.
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