The federal government’s failure to increase commercial trucking insurance coverage helps unsafe trucking companies says Boca truck accident lawyer Joe Osborne.
Commercial trucking companies, like individual car owners in Florida, must carry liability insurance. Trucking companies’ insurance is covered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which decided in June not to increase coverage minimums which have been in place for 32 years. This potentially leaves commercial truck accident victims holding the financial bag in case of a serious accident warns Boca truck accident lawyer Joe Osborne.
The federal government was in the process of requiring increased coverage, from $1 million to $3.2 million per accident, when the Trump Administration applied the brakes. The justifications for the increase are spelled out in a 2014 Congressional report which states the current coverage levels don’t adequately cover catastrophic crashes because of increasing medical costs. That report states,
- If minimum coverage levels kept pace with the rate of medical care inflation by 2013 minimum levels would have increased to about $3.2 million.
- When catastrophic accidents and critical injuries occur the costs of property damage, injuries and fatalities can easily exceed the $1 million minimum level of coverage.
- Since 1985, when the current minimum level was set, the purchasing power of the coverage has decreased making insurance coverage less relevant over time.
If a trucking company is found liable in a truck accident case, it’s carrying only the required minimum coverage, but the damages are more than $1 million the company may need to sell its assets to cover the verdict, potentially forcing it out of business. If there aren’t enough assets to cover the verdict a successful plaintiff may be unable to fully collect a damages award.
The official reason for stopping the process was that the agency “has determined that it has insufficient data or information to support moving forward with a rulemaking proposal, at this time,” but there’s no indication it will actually try to get the additional information FMSCA claims it needs.
Not only does this harm motorists but also responsible trucking companies who are more concerned about safety than those who are trying to make the most money while risking the safety of others.
- Higher limits would result in all trucking companies putting more attention on compliance with safety rules and driver safety because insurance carriers when underwriting these policies would hold trucking companies to higher standards.
- With lower insurance premiums there’s less need for better compliance and those skimping on safety can charge less and successfully bid more often on hauling contracts.
Depending on the circumstance of a truck accident several parties may have played a role in causing it and there may be multiple insurance policies that could apply. Those injured in commercial truck accidents should contact an attorney as soon as possible so an investigation can take place, responsible parties can be uncovered and they can be held accountable.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury caused in a commercial truck accident, contact Boca truck accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 293-2600 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.