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Michigan Independent Truck Driver vs Employee: Insurance Rights Explained

Michigan insurance rights after a truck crash can differ between a truck driver whos is an independent contractor vs being an employee of a trucking company

As Michigan residents, commercial truck drivers are always entitled to Michigan truck insurance coverage with Michigan No-Fault insurance in the event of a truck accident — even if the truck accident occurs out of state. But in Michigan, whether the employee is employed by a trucking company or is a truck driver who works as an independent contractor can make a difference as to what kind of insurance applies in the event of a crash.

Michigan insurance rights for truck drivers employed by a trucking company

If you’re a trucker who is employed by a trucking company and you’re injured while on the job, the primary payer will be workers compensation insurance. The trucking company will also have No-Fault insurance coverage on the tractor, if it is registered in Michigan.

Michigan No-Fault insurance acts to supplement what is not covered by workers compensation. But No-Fault insurance also covers more than the gaps in workers compensation insurance.

If you’re a truck driver, ask your employer exactly what kind of commercial truck insurance coverage you have. A truck accident attorney who understands both areas of the law can get you all of the benefits you are afforded under the two policies.

Michigan inusurance rights for a truck driver who is an independent contractor

In Michigan, a truck driver who is an independent contractor is a person who owns a tractor-trailer and works for several companies on an as-needed basis. At times, they operate in “bobtail mode,” which means they have no trailer attached to the tractor, but may or may not be under dispatch to a trucking company.

The independent contractor often has their truck registered in the home state they are leased with. Some bring the tractor cab to their homes or storage lots in Michigan. Whatever the scenario, there is often a significant amount of confusion with regard to who is responsible for insurance coverage if the truck driver is injured or killed in a truck accident on Michigan highways.

The safest way to ensure the proper insurance coverage for the truck driver who operates as an independent contractor in the event of a crash is for the truck driver to simultaneously register the commercial truck in Michigan, especially if the owner-operator is the title owner. That’s because Michigan residents are required to have all of their owned vehicles registered in Michigan. If a Michigan resident does not register his vehicle, he can be charged with a misdemeanor, and sometimes even precluded from making a claim for No-Fault benefits.

If the truck driver is an independent contractor and is not a Michigan resident, but his semi-truck is in the state for a cumulative period of 30 days or more, he is also supposed to register the truck in Michigan. If a vehicle is registered in Michigan, it also must be covered by Michigan No-Fault insurance.

With that, the truck driver who operates as an independent contractor should contact the temporary trucking company’s insurer, the bobtail insurer and any other relevant insurer to make sure the required Michigan truck insurance coverages are added to their policies. Otherwise, the truck driver could be denied important benefits and the right to sue for injuries in the event of a truck crash.

Injured in a truck accident? Call Michigan Auto Law now!

If you were injured in a truck accident in Michigan and have questions about your lawsuit in regards to whether the truck driver is an independent contractor or an employee and how that will affect your case, call now (800) 968-1001 for a free consultation with one of our experienced truck accident lawyers. There is no cost or obligation. You can also visit our contact page or use the chat feature on our website.

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