Truck insurance costs are soaring and it’s taking a toll on the trucking business, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal. The Journal reports that underwriters have been ratcheting up the cost of liability coverage to recoup losses as “nuclear” accident payouts of $10 million or more increase. Trucking companies were hit with double-digit percentage coverage increases last year and these premium hikes are expected to continue in 2020.
Spike in Truck Accident Verdicts
The cost of insurance is apparently weighing on trucking companies of all sizes. Some smaller operators have shut down recently and they’ve cited skyrocketing insurance costs as the main reason for their demise. Federal law requires trucking companies to cover drivers for a minimum of $750,000 per accident. Most shipper contracts require at least $1 million in coverage. Even though carriers with five or fewer trucks stop there, larger operators purchase even more layers of liability coverage to protect themselves from larger truck accident claim awards.
In 2018, the cost of truck insurance premiums increased 12 percent on average to 8.4 cents a mile, compared to 2017. This is according to the Transportation Research Institute, which is an industry group. This was the second highest increase among carrier expenses in 2018 after fuel, which along with driver compensation, form the two largest expenses. Several companies are facing 20 percent to 30 percent hikes in insurance rates.
Underwriters are looking to limit their exposure to large payouts to injured victims. The median verdicts in personal injury lawsuits against trucking companies have reportedly gone from $23 million to $44 million just in the last 18 months. A 2016 Georgia truck accident that left five family members dead, resulted in a $280 million jury award last year against the trucking firm. Trucking companies are trying to mitigate their accident risk in a number of ways including using collision avoidance systems, using speed limiters, adopting hair testing to identify drug users and even “avoiding traffic lanes where a pattern of large verdicts have occurred.”
Truck Accidents Are Devastating
The consequences of truck accidents are often catastrophic or fatal, particularly for the occupants of smaller passenger vehicles that are struck by these large vehicles. Victims suffer life-changing injuries such as brain damage, spinal cord trauma, multiple broken bones, amputations, internal organ damage, etc.
Truck accidents typically result in large jury awards or settlements as many of them involve negligent truck drivers and/or trucking companies. Truck drivers who operate these trucks under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, while distracted or fatigued put other road users in harm’s way. Some major injury truck accidents are also caused by trucking companies or other parties overloading trucks or because they don’t maintain their fleets properly. In cases where juries see evidence of such negligence or wrongdoing, the awards are likely to be very high.
Victims who have been injured in truck accidents may be able to seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost income and benefits, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc. Families of deceased accident victims may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for damages such as lost future income, funeral costs, medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, or if you have lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent or careless driver, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
For over 48 years, our skilled accident attorneys have established a proven track record of helping injured victims. Our law firm recently recovered $5,600,000 for a bicyclist who was hit by a van, and $2,550,000 for another victim of a truck accident, and $3,000,000 for a pedestrian who was hit by a car, and the full $1,000,000 insurance policy for a pedestrian who was hit by a truck, and $4,625,000 for a driver who was in a car and was hit by a van, and $2,500,000 for a man who fell through an improperly secured hole. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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