Breaking Down MCS-90 for Those Not in the Trucking Industry

Many individuals have never heard of MCS-90. It’s a term that shows up a lot in the trucking industry. In this article, we will break down this concept.

What Exactly is MCS-90?

Having a good grasp of MCS-90 makes sense, even if you’re not a trucker. The first thing you need to understand is that trucking companies need to carry insurance. They need liability insurance to protect them if one of their vehicles ever causes an accident.

There’s something called the Motor Carrier Act of 1980. It requires that commercial trucks have a minimum insurance amount. Only those that do interstate commerce need to follow it.

There’s also an entity called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, sometimes abbreviated as FMCSA. This entity regulates commercial trucks. They see to it that trucking companies adhere to the rules set by the Motor Carrier Act of 1980, among others.

As for MCS-90, it’s a way that trucking companies can stay compliant with this act. MCS-90 is an insurance ad-on, sometimes called an endorsement. It is there to certify that commercial trucks that do interstate commerce have the right insurance level to cover public liability.

The other way a trucking company might make sure that it covers the insurance requirements that the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 lays out is through a surety bond.

Does That Mean MCS-90 is Insurance?

MCS-90 is not insurance, even though it’s easy to make that mistake if you don’t work in this industry. It is a guarantee or confirmation that a trucking company has a particular level of funds to pay for damages if that company does something negligent.

Let’s say for a moment that a trucking company does not have the proper coverage. Maybe the insurance provider denies a trucking accident claim instead. Either way, MCS-90 exists so that the carrier still pays the injured party. That party could be another truck driver, a motorist, a pedestrian, etc.

To profit from MCS-90, you would need to prove that negligence occurred. That can be a high bar in some instances. If you have plenty of evidence that backs up your accident claim, like video of the wreck, you can probably collect money through MCS-90 a lot easier.

If you collect money through MCS-90, the carrier will still get that money back from the trucking company. Once you look at the MCS-90 concept this way, you’ll see that it’s like uninsured motorist coverage that applies to passenger vehicles.

MCS-90 is there to bridge any potential gap if a trucking company fails to have the right insurance policy in place. If a trucking company violates an insurance policy and causes a denied claim, MCS-90 protects the public as well.

How Much Coverage Does MCS-90 Provide?

The next question is how much coverage MCS-90 provides to individuals who get into commercial truck accidents. Minimum amounts exist, and if you ever look at the key number involved, it should make you feel better about a possible commercial truck accident, as scary as the notion seems.

For trucks with a 10,001-pound or more gross weight that don’t carry hazardous materials, you’re looking at $750,000 minimum coverage under MCS-90. For trucks that have a 10,001-pound or more gross weight and carry hazardous materials, MCS-90 requires $5 million at a minimum.

If you look at the national MCS-90 database, you’ll see some additional minimum amounts that the law put in place. They all exist to protect the public from the huge commercial trucks that you see out on America’s highways.

MCS-90 and Trucking Accident Cases

Trucking accident cases sometimes occur. If a commercial truck hits you or your vehicle, you would hope that you or your property do not sustain too much damage. However, because of their massive size, it’s easy to see how much damage you or your vehicle might suffer.

MCS-90 might not apply to your truck accident case, though you will need to speak to a qualified attorney to figure that out. An attorney who does truck accident cases can look into that as they figure out whether they think you have a case and whether they want to represent you.

The main question an attorney must answer if they’re going to represent you is whether the truck that hit you or your vehicle does interstate travel and shipping. If it doesn’t, MCS-90 cannot apply.

If the truck that hit you or your vehicle does interstate travel and shipping, the attorney might look to 

MCS-90 if the trucking company does not have adequate insurance or they filed the insurance paperwork in such a way that the company rejected the claim. Trucking companies are not above doing that sometimes, which is precisely why MCS-90 exists.

You’ll Need to Speak to a Lawyer About MCS-90

If a commercial truck that does interstate travel and shipping hits you, your lawyer should bring up MCS-90 if it applies. If you already know about it, that will speed up the process. Your attorney will not need to take so much time explaining it because you already know the basics.

It pays to find an attorney who deals specifically with commercial truck accident cases if this situation arises. You don’t want to use someone who knows about car accident cases, but they don’t do them involving commercial trucks, or they never have up to this point.

The right attorney will immediately know the existing laws regarding MCS-90. That policy exists to help you, and you might need it in the situation we described.

MCS-90 coverage will come into play only in certain instances, and your lawyer will need to bring it up. It’s not as though the trucking company that caused the accident will tell you about it.

If your lawyer can implement MCS-90 in your favor, you can probably walk away with adequate compensation. You can use the cash to help pay your medical bills, but you can have it for your pain and suffering as well.

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