The “Truck Injury Lawyer Blog” points us to a new development in the world of trucking accidents:
In his recent article, Premiums Fall 10% to 50% As New Firms Enter Market, Frederick Kiel describes the effect that the drop in premiums has on the trucking companies, as these new insurance companies are offering across the board rates to trucking companies in an effort to compete for their business. …
These new insurance companies are offering low premiums in an effort to gain new business, a trend that has been seen intermittently since the 1980s. Perhaps now is the time to look at the minimum insurance required to be carried by tractor trailer companies. Congress set the minimum rates back in 1984 at $750,000 for some companies with most being required to carry $1,000,000. Inflation and time have eroded the value of the coverage. Medical bills and the costs associated with catastrophic injuries have risen dramatically. Today, in a catastrophic case, the minimum limits are paid and quickly spent. The injured are then left for the taxpayer to pay for through medicaid or some other assistance program.
$1 million frequently will not cover the damages in a catastrophic personal injury case, particularly not where there will be extensive continuing medical treatment. $1 million also frequently does not cover wrongful death damages, and it usually will not cover an accident where multiple people have catastrophic injuries.
although the article does not address it, an important point to keep in mind here is how much safer trucking these days should be given the depth and breadth real-time monitoring available to trucking companies. Traffic, weather, and driver alertness — down to excruciatingly minor details — are all readily apparent in real-time to fleet managers, thereby eliminating the bulk of the systematic risks faced by truckers that cause major motor vehicle accidents.
If trucking companies used this technology appropriately — rather than using it solely to run their drivers right up to (and frequently beyond) the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation limits — and purchased adequate insurance, including insurance with coverage for each plaintiff, rather than the accident as a whole, the costs and financial risk of trucking would be dramatically reduced.