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A trucker who was paid to haul cut trees is a commercial motor carrier who must carry liability limits of at least $750,000, and does not qualify as a private carrier or lumber hauler, according to a recent ruling by the South Carolina Supreme Court.

In a 4-to-1 vote, the state’s high court reversed a county circuit court ruling and ordered the insurer to reform a $40,000 policy to comply with the $750,000 limits.

The trucker was hauling cut trees in 2004 when he was involved in a crash that killed the wife of the plaintiff. South Carolina requires trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds carrying nonhazardous loads to have at least $750,000 in liability insurance coverage per incident.

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