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Drivers in New Mexico are expected and required to operate their motor vehicles with a minimum amount of liability auto insurance. Commercial truck drivers are no exception to these rules. Minimum auto liability insurance requirements range from $10,000-$50,000 depending on the injury, damage, or the number of people involved in an accident. Commercial truck minimum coverage is a lot greater. This is because trucks are much larger, carry a lot more weight than your standard motor vehicle, and have the potential to cause a lot more damage.
Dealing with a trucking company and their accompanying insurance provider after an accident can be daunting. You can choose to deal with this process alone, but it is in your best interest to reach out to an attorney who has experience dealing with commercial truck claims. At Zinda Law Group, we have a group of experienced attorneys who are ready to help you today.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-863-5312
New Mexico Liability Insurance Requirements for Truck Drivers
Under New Mexico law, all local truck drivers are required to maintain a minimum amount of liability trucking insurance. The minimum amount you need is dependent upon the type of freight you transport and where you are transporting it.
For example, trucks transporting household goods need a minimum coverage of $300,000 while trucks transporting general freight must carry a minimum policy of $750,000. Additionally, if you are crossing state lines and your truck is over 26,000lb in gross vehicle weight, you must get authority from the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission about policy requirements.
Beyond specific regulations in New Mexico, truck drivers need to meet the insurance requirements laid out by the federal government. Most federal liability limits are anywhere between $750,000-$5,000,000. The specific requirements by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are as follows:
- For-Hire Interstate General Freight Carriers: $750,000
- For-Hire and Private Carriers of Oil and Certain Types of Hazardous Waste: $1,000,000
- For-Hire and Private Carriers of Other Hazardous Substances: $5,000,000
- For-Hire Passenger Carriers (Seating Capacity ≤15): $1,500,000
- For-Hire Passenger Carriers (Seating Capacity >15): $5,000,000
Keep in mind that these are just the minimum requirements. Individual companies may have higher limits to their policies, thus, it is important to check with your specific company or provider for more detailed information.
To learn more about federal regulations of trucking companies as it pertains to accidents, view our article: 18-Wheeler Truck Accidents: Federal Law
What is Covered by Trucking Companies’ Insurance?
Specific policies and coverage may vary from company to company. However, using Progressive as an example, their general trucking liability insurance covers the following:
- Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability
- Personal Injury and Advertising Injury Liability
- Medical Payments
- Products/Completed Operations
- Damage to Premises Rented to You
Check with your provider in order to determine what is specifically covered by your liability insurance policy.
To learn more about what goes into a truck accident settlement, view our article: How Do Truck Accident Settlements Work?
Filing a Claim Against a Trucking Company
Here are a few steps you can take after a truck accident to not only make sure you are safe, but to make sure you put yourself in a position to seek the maximum legal compensation that you may be entitled to:
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1. Seek Medical Attention
After suffering any accident, the best thing to do is to seek medical attention by going to a hospital. Even mild injuries may need to be evaluated by a medical professional. It is additionally beneficial to get official records of your injuries by medical staff to use as evidence in your case.
2. Report the Accident
Do your best to contact law enforcement as soon as possible. The police play another important role in documenting the accident by filing an official report. This report can be very helpful later on when filing a personal injury claim.
3. Document the Scene
Preserving necessary evidence is key to prevailing on your claim. Do everything you can to document the scene of the crash in case you forget important details later on. This can include simple tasks such as taking pictures or getting names of any witnesses.
4. Call an Attorney
In any personal injury accident, especially a truck accident, you may want to consider consulting an attorney. Trucking companies have a team of attorneys working in their favor and they will likely act quickly and aggressively to try and avoid liability. Having an experienced attorney on your side is the best way to protect your rights.
Learn More: Do I Need a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Often times the insurance provider for the trucking company will offer the victim of an accident a monetary amount if the victim agrees to cease pursuit of further legal action. However, these settlement offers can often be minimal and inadequate. An experienced attorney may provide advice about whether you should accept a settlement offer or negotiate further.
Common Mistakes When Dealing With an Insurance Company
The following are some of the common mistakes that people make when dealing with an insurance company after a commercial trucking accident:
Not keeping good eecords/documentation
Insurance companies are highly skilled at what they do. Especially when they represent large commercial trucking companies. They will use every tool they have to try and make you seem like a liar so that they can pay you as little as possible. The best way to protect yourself is to keep ample and organized documentation. Document the accident scene, the property damage, your injuries, and keep track of medical records.
Learn More: 3 Important Records to Obtain After a Truck Accident
Making recorded statements
If an insurance adjuster asks you to make any type of recorded statement, you are completely within your right to refuse to do so. Don’t give them the opportunity to make you say something that could destroy your case. Always speak with an attorney before speaking with an insurance company and providing any type of statement. An attorney may be able to help advise you on what to say or if you should say anything at all.
Posting to social media
Many people tell their insurance company one thing, but post messages or photos on social media that paint a much different picture. Consistency in your story is important to the success of your claim. Avoid making social media postings relating to your accident.
Not contacting an attorney soon enough
The biggest mistake you could make is not hiring an attorney soon enough. Truck accidents are very different than a standard motor vehicle accident, and you do not want to have to fight the insurance companies alone. It is their goal to make sure that they pay you as little as possible for your injuries. Reach out to Zinda Law Group today to discuss your claim so we may help you seek compensation for your injuries.
Compensation for Trucking Accidents
After a truck accident or any personal injury, different types of compensation may be awarded to help you get your life back on track. If you have been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages cover expenses that can be quantified, which may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Other incidentals
Non-economic damages are harder to quantify because they are based on emotional injures. Non-economic damages may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Physical impairment
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Unfortunately, colliding with a large commercial truck can sometimes lead to fatalities. In some instances, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim and wrongful death compensation on behalf of a loved one who was killed as the result of a commercial trucking accident. Under New Mexico law, the personal representative of your loved one’s estate can file a wrongful death claim for compensation. It is notoriously difficult to calculate damages in a wrongful death claim because so much is left to speculation. However, the recoverable damages are typically non-economic and may include:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical expenses incurred prior to death
- Lost future income
- Pain and suffering
Contact Zinda Law Group
The last thing that any victim needs is the burden of haggling with an insurance company about money. Having an attorney may be able to lighten this burden and may allow you to seek the maximum compensation you may be entitled to. Our attorneys at Zinda Law Group have the experience to negotiate effectively with insurance companies to make sure you are being treated fairly. If you are not extended a settlement offer that feels right to you, our team has the tools to advise you on your options going forward. These options include filing a lawsuit or even going to trial.
Our injury lawyers at Zinda Law Group help victims like you every day get their lives back on track after suffering an injury by helping them build a strong case against the responsible party. We never want anyone to feel like they can’t afford excellent representation. You can call our office today at (800) 863-5312 to speak with a personal injury lawyer for free about your claim and what we may be able to do to help.
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