Michigan Truck Insurance: Independent Truck Driver vs Employee
Michigan truck insurance rights after an accident can differ between independent truck drivers and employees
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 whether the employee is employed by a trucking company or works as an independent truck driver can make a difference as to what kind of insurance applies in the event of a crash.
Michigan truck 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 driver lawyer who understands both areas of the law can get you all of the benefits you are afforded under the two policies.
Michigan truck insurance rights for independent truck drivers
Many independent truck drivers who own a tractor-trailer and work 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 truck drivers often have their trucks registered in the home states 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 Michigan truck insurance coverage for the independent truck driver 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 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.
Get help after a truck accident today
For any questions you have about your commercial truck insurance in Michigan in regards to a truck accident, call Michigan Auto Law at (248) 353-7575 to speak with a truck driver lawyer, or fill out our contact form for a free lawyer consultation. There’s absolutely no cost or obligation.