A primary concern in pursuing any personal injury claim resulting from a vehicle accident is whether or not there is adequate liability insurance coverage to fully compensate the injured person. In California, the minimum amount of liability insurance that the owner of a private motor vehicle is required to carry is generally only a “15/30” policy, that is a maximum of $15,000 per person injured, not to exceed $30,000 for the incident. While this may be adequate for minor injuries, for crash victims who may suffer more serious injuries such as broken bones, spinal disc injuries, or traumatic brain injuries, a minimum 15/30 policy is often completely inadequate. Hopefully, in that type of situation, the injured person has a larger uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist policy of their own that will help make up the difference.
Trucking accidents are significantly different, however, because the requirements for trucking company liability insurance is much greater than for ordinary passenger vehicles. In California, the DMV will only issue commercial trucking permits to companies who meet much greater minimum liability insurance requirements. These vary from $300,000 to $5,000,000 in per-incident liability coverage, depending upon the type of trucking vehicle being insured and the type of materials being transported. The most commonly seen trucking company liability insurance policies are from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 in combined, single-limit coverage, that is, covering all injuries from a single incident.
Obviously, trucking accidents are more likely to result in major injuries to the extent that the vehicles are much larger than ordinary passenger vehicles, and the momentum they carry can produce proportionately greater damage. Additionally, large trucks are prone to problems that other, smaller vehicles are not, such as jack-knifing, brake fires, and spilled cargo on the roadways. And if that cargo happens to include hazardous materials, so much greater is the potential for damage and injury to the public.