commercial truck accidents, insurance coverage minimumsCatastrophic crashes with freight or commercial trucks are rare, but when they do happen, the implications can be extensive and long-lasting. Death, lifelong health complications, expensive medical bills, loss of income, and decreased quality of life are just a few examples. Unfortunately, there are some problems with the insurance coverage minimums for freight-liners, and victims are the ones suffering from it.

Current Coverage Minimums Fail to Cover Costs for Victims

In 1985, liability insurance coverage minimums for freight trucks were set at $750,000. That amount has not changed since. This is a serious problem—so serious that a government study examined those minimums and found that, not only are they failing to keep up with the rising cost of medical care, but that, based on inflation, the amount should have been $3.2 million dollars in 2013.

For victims, this can have severe consequences. One such victim, a 55-year-old man rear-ended by a semi-truck, is currently receiving worker’s compensation, Social Security disability payments, and Medicare for health problems related to the crash. He also received a settlement for $300,000 more than the trucking company’s insurance pay-out. Yet he and his family are still concerned he will eventually need to go on public assistance to cover his long-term living expenses.

The man, whose skull was crushed in the accident, can no longer work. He struggles with basic, everyday tasks like reading. His home is dark to combat his sensitivity to light. Quite honestly, he could have died in that crash. So why is it that he is financially struggling after an accident that, clearly, was not his fault?

Trucking Companies Push Back Against Raises in Coverage Minimums

Right now, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (the agency that regulates the trucking industry), is considering whether or not to increase the liability minimums for trucking companies. They are receiving a lot of complaints and resistance from small carriers, which happen to make up the majority of carriers.

Owners say they fear that an increase in coverage would result in higher premiums that could drive them out of business. But according to the federal agency, inflation-adjusted rates have declined. So, is their concern really valid? Or maybe the better question to ask here is if it really even matters.

Victims Should Not Have to Pay for the Cost of Accidents

The cost of damages should be placed on the at-fault party of an accident, not the victim. The responsibility should not rest on the public either. Minimums need to be raised to ensure this happens, and victims need to seek qualified, professional help for their claim as soon as possible to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve.

At Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C., we understand how deeply a vehicular accident can disrupt the lives of victims. With honest, compassionate representation, we fight for the rights of our clients and our community to ensure that victims receive the compensation they deserve. If you or someone you love has been affected by a vehicular accident, contact our experienced Chicago truck accident attorneys for a free consultation by calling 312-553-4900. Source: