The effects of a vehicle accident involving a semi-trailer truck can be devastating. While driving along highways, we have all encountered an overturned truck next to a mangled car by the side of the road. The sheer size of trucks makes them difficult to control and incredibly dangerous to drivers, especially those in smaller cars. If you are involved in a trucking accident, you may be surprised to find yourself undercompensated for your losses.
A 2013 report by The Trucking Alliance revealed that a staggering number of trucks and trucking companies are drastically underinsured. The federal government mandates a minimum of $750,000 in insurance coverage for commercial truckers. Unfortunately for many drivers, settlements oftentimes exceed this minimum coverage, leaving the drivers undercompensated for their damages. The report showed that 42 percent of truck crash settlements exceed the federal minimum insurance requirement. As such, truckers and trucking companies are either forced to pay, or file for bankruptcy to avoid paying. In many cases, injured drivers never receive the total compensation they are awarded from a trucking accident judgment.
The Trucking Alliance is a coalition of trucking organizations that works to improve trucking safety. By working with the U.S. legislature, The Trucking Alliance is attempting to combat the problem of underinsured trucking. In July 2013, Representative Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania introduced the SAFE-HAUL Act. The bill, which has the support of The Trucking Alliance, would raise the minimum trucking insurance requirement from $750,000 to $4,422,000.
Opponents of the SAFE-HAUL Act include the Owner-Operator and Independent Drivers Association, which claims that The Trucking Alliance report is an overstatement. Critics of the bill claim that only 1 to 2 percent of trucking accidents settle for above $750,000.
While the debate over raising the minimum insurance requirement for truckers continues, many drivers continue to sustain serious injuries and losses in trucking accidents.