People driving on Ohio and Kentucky roads do not think they will be involved in a collision with a large commercial truck. Unfortunately, there are numerous collisions caused by commercial truck drivers every day that cause significant property damage, injury, and deaths that impact families forever.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the agency that regulates commercial trucks in the Country. In most situations, Federal law requires commercial trucks to carry a minimum amount of insurance coverage to pay for damages and injuries caused by commercial truck drivers.
In 1980 the liability limits for interstate truck insurance were enacted. This was an important change in the trucking industry because it protected the traveling public from accidents where the truck driver is at fault.
INTERSTATE TRUCK LIABILITY INSURANCE—MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
The minimum required liability insurance limit depends on the type and weight of freight that is being hauled. The following minimum coverages were enacted more than 40 years ago and are still in effect today:
|TYPE OF FREIGHT||MINIMUM LIMITS|
|Non-hazardous freight moved in vehicles under 10,001 lbs.||$300,000|
|Non-hazardous freight in vehicles over 10,001 lbs.||$750,000|
|Oil moved by For-Hire & Private Carriers||$1,000,000|
|Other Hazardous Material moved by For-Hire & Private Carriers||$5,000,000|
These are minimum limits required by the FMCSA, but many shippers and brokers require a minimum of $1,000,000 in coverage regardless of what the truck is hauling. Some trucking companies voluntarily purchase more than the minimum required.
These types of coverage are normally per accident limits. Why does that matter? If a truck driver strikes a family of five, causing the death of two occupants and seriously injuries the other three, the most the trucking insurance company is required to pay to all five is the single limit of $750,000 or whatever amount they purchase above the minimum. If you have ever been involved in a collision, you know how quickly the medical costs, lost wages and other expenses add up. If someone dies or suffers lifetime permanent injuries, the minimum liability limits will not begin to cover the economic and non-economic losses of the injured person or their family.
H.R. 3781-The Insurance Act
The minimum required insurance has not been increased for the cost of medical care and cost of property for forty plus years. There was legislation introduced in 2019 in the U.S. House of Representatives to amend the minimum mandatory insurance coverage for interstate trucking companies from $750,000.00 to $4,923,154.00 per event. H. R. 3781 purpose was meant to reflect the medical cost of inflation from 1980 when the minimum limits were established to the current costs of medical care in 2019. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and then to its Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. The bill did not pass. However, by the introduction of this bill, it reflects lawmakers are concerned about the required minimal liability coverage not being sufficient to compensate for the significant damages that trucking companies and truck drivers cause to victims by their negligence.
If you, a family member, a co-worker, or friend have been involved in a collision with a commercial truck, please contact the experienced attorneys at Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima for help. We are experienced and have handled cases against trucking companies for decades.