If you’ve never been in a car accident, you likely haven’t given much thought to the role of insurance companies and insurance policies. But the role these policies play is essential.
In the aftermath of most auto accidents (whether they are litigated or not), the vast majority of money paid out to victims comes from insurance. This is why insurance is mandatory nationwide for nearly all drivers. It is also why commercial vehicles are required to carry commercial insurance policies that reflect the risks they face and the risks they pose to other drivers.
In light of all this, a recent piece of federal legislation contains a provision that all of us should care about.
More Insurance Coverage For Trucking Companies
In June, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a major infrastructure bill known as the Moving Forward Act. Among the bill’s many provisions is one that increases the required amount of insurance coverage for commercial trucks. Currently, trucking companies are required to carry a policy of at least $750,000 for each truck. Under the new bill, that minimum would be raised to $2 million. This is a long overdue change that more accurately reflects the costs of trucking accidents.
On average, truck accidents kill more than 4,000 people each year in the United States and severely injure thousands more. Compared to accidents involving two personal-use vehicles, truck accidents are much more likely to result in death or permanent disability for the occupants of the smaller vehicle. In the most serious and fatal cases, even $2 million may be short of what victims need to pay the expenses associated with the crash. But it is far better than the current minimum.
When a driver is uninsured or underinsured and causes an accident, it places an especially large burden on the victims. Even if the victims file a personal injury suit and win a judgment, there likely won’t be enough money available to pay the damages. For years, trucking companies have been allowed to be underinsured by an unreasonably low minimum coverage standard.
Bill’s Future Does Not Look Promising
Unfortunately, even though the Moving Forward Act passed in the House, it may not even be taken up in the Senate, much less signed into law under the current presidential administration. Hopefully, however, the goal of raising insurance coverage for the most dangerous vehicles on U.S. roads will not be lost with the defeat of this particular legislation.
Any of us could be seriously injured or lose a loved one in a truck accident. Therefore, we should all care about whether victims can be adequately compensated after such a devastating event.