Drivers in Franklin County, Delaware County, Licking County, Fairfield County, Pickaway County, Madison County and Union County can all suffer serious injuries or even fatalities if they are involved in a crash with a tractor-trailer or other large commercial vehicle. Truck accident lawyers in Columbus, OH know that the costs of damages for truck accidents are usually very high because truck collisions are so serious. The impact of a crash with a large truck may be much worse than a typical car accident.
Victims can usually pursue a damage claim not just against the individual truck driver but also against the trucking company. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets regulations related to trucking company insurance in order to make sure that these trucking companies have sufficient liability coverage. Liability insurance limits that these trucking companies carry needs to be high enough to ensure that all losses can be compensated in a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Truck Insurance Limits May Rise
The current minimum coverage limits established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration require most trucking companies buy $750,000 of liability coverage. For companies that transport various types of hazardous materials, there is a requirement to purchase a minimum of between $1 million and $5 million in insurance coverage depending upon the type of materials that are being transported.
These limits were set back in 1985 according to Fleet Owner. They have not been adjusted to keep pace with rising costs, nor have the minimum insurance coverage requirements been adjusted to account for inflation that has happened over nearly three decades. As a result, the insurance coverage is often very insufficient when it comes to ensuring that a victim is compensated for losses. One recent study conducted by the American Trucking Alliance looked at 9,000 different accidents and found that around 42 percent of the cases ended up with payments to victims in an amount that was greater than the minimum insurance coverage limits in place.
Some trucking companies are aware of the fact that the minimum coverage requirements are too low to provide sufficient compensation for victims of truck crashes. These trucking companies may voluntarily opt to buy more than the minimum coverage required. There are a lot of trucking companies, however, that only buy what the FCMSA mandates. This means that if one of their drivers gets into a crash and the court awards more than $750,000 in damages, the victim may have a hard time getting full compensation. The victim could try to recover from the assets of the trucking company, but there may not be enough money to pay damages in excess of the policy limits.
The FMCSA has asked for public comment regarding the possibility of increasing the limits for minimum insurance coverage. No actual amount of increase was proposed. The process of getting comments and finally making a decision could take a long time, leaving people at risk in the meantime of having uncompensated losses. The FMCSA should act quickly to raise minimum insurance coverage requirements so that truck accident victims are protected from financial loss.
Contact our Columbus, OH accident lawyers today. Call 1-800-930-SCOTT or visit https://www.sestriallaw.com for a free case consultation. Serving Franklin County, Delaware County, Licking County, Fairfield County, Pickaway County, Madison County and Union County.