Nashville, TN- Accidents involving large commercial trucks are among the most deadly and injurious accidents a person can be involved in, and are typically very costly for the victims. In most of these cases, the ensuing injuries and damage are covered by the at-fault party’s insurance, but the costs of some accidents far exceed the amount of coverage an independent operator or a trucking company is legally required to cover. This is something the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration could change in the near future after giving the trucking industry time to weigh in on the issue.
The FMCSA announced this week they would open the comment period of the rule making process after analysis showed that the minimum insurance requirements for commercial trucks is not adequate enough to cover the costs of a catastrophic truck accident.
In 1985, the Department of Transportation set the minimum insurance requirements to $750,000 for general freight, $1 million of hazmat truck and $5 million for dangerous hazmat trucks, according to Trucking Info. If the agency moves forward with minimum insurance coverage requirements, it would be the first increase in minimum insurance requirements in 30 years.
In the announcement of notice, the FMCSA listed a number of reasons why they believe the minimum insurance requirements should be increased, which include decreasing costs of insurance premiums, escalating costs of medical care and property damage repairs or replacement along with the rarity of catastrophic truck accidents.
According to the federal agency, current insurance limits don’t cover catastrophic truck accidents, which are defined as accidents involving “claims for injury, death, and/or property damages that exceed the current minimum levels of financial responsibility.” The FMCSA noted that current minimum insurance requirements for the trucking industry “does not cover as much of the cost of a catastrophic crash as it once did.”
In their analysis of truck accidents, the FMCSA found that medical costs of a serious truck can exceed $1 million, and found that “the range for liability awards in large truck crashes involving death or catastrophic injury is $9-10 million.”
The agency also found that insurance premiums have been declining so they believe trucking companies and independent operators won’t suffer financially by increasing minimum requirements.
The FMCSA will be accepting comments on the proposed rule until February.
Truck accident victims who suffer catastrophic will benefit from changes to insurance companies if the FMCSA decides to implement the proposal. This means injury victims or those who have lost a loved one in catastrophic truck accident will have a greater chance of getting the compensation they deserve.
Dealing with the insurance companies is the biggest challenge any accident victim faces. Without the assistance of an accomplished Tennessee truck accident attorney, it is possible that the accident victim could be shortchanged in the settlement they receive.
Because they work with accident victims regularly, a Nashville truck accident attorney is the best position to ensure their client receive a settlement that covers all of their medical expenses and takes into consideration their pain and suffering.