Insurance Rates to Increase due to Large Payouts for Truck Crashes

Insurance Rates to Increase due to Large Payouts for Truck CrashesThis year there was a price increase in tractor-trailer insurance rates due to an increased number of truck crashes resulting in massive judgments and settlements. Rates will more than likely continue to surge as representatives such as Matt Cartwright of Washington, D.C. sponsors bills to raise the minimum liability coverage to $4.5 million instead of a mere $750,000. A 500% increase like this will put more stress on premiums.

What’s Behind Bills Like This One

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust feels that Cartwright is only doing this because he specializes in suing transportation services. Nevertheless, Cartwright introduced his bill (HR 3781) to the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. It hasn’t advanced from there but it’s symbolic of how the legal community is growing more aggressive in trying to get higher pay offs from trucking companies’ accidents. These are backed by CSA scores, truck logs, and social media posts. Juries who also hear about a company’s bad history are more likely to hand down such harsh punitive punishments – some in the multi-million-dollar range.

What  Must Watch out For

There are several factors working against trucking companies today, including:

  • New technology (e.g. the Readi Response app) is making it faster and easier to gather data from these accidents. The only real way for a transportation service to be able to compete here is for them to take safety even more seriously than they ever have before.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says there’s been a slight increase in the number of deaths caused by large trucks in 2017 and 2018 (from 553,000 to 622,000, a 12.5% increase). During this same period serious injuries decreased though. Nevertheless, there are now more personal injury lawyers available to help those involved in these accidents sue the driver, the company they work for, the truck’s manufacturer, the person responsible for the truck’s brakes, and whomever loaded the truck. Unfortunately, there are also many drivers who are willing to see if they can make a truck get into an accident with them so they can cash in here. As such 70% of these accidents have been the fault of the motorist, not the truck.
  • The pressure to keep a tight delivery schedule has led to impaired driving, especially when it comes to drugs like marijuana. This is something that’s gotten worse since marijuana was legalized. Part of this is the trucking companies’ fault as they aren’t being nearly as scrutinizing when putting a driver behind the wheel since there’s growing demand for them to make deliveries on time. As more states continue to legalize marijuana, we’re bound to see more issues arise in this area.


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Picture Credit: sarangib