The Question of Raising Liability Insurance Minimums on Truckers

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The trucking industry is riled up about the possibility of their insurance premiums going up. As Stephen Koff reports on Cleveland.com, it's "a feud over trucks, crashes, insurance and devastation," much of it centering on the fact that the minimum amount of insurance truckers must carry has been the same since roughly 1985. What does this mean? It means that there may be less compensation to go around when a trucker causes a serious wreck.

Not So Black and White

As to be expected, there are legitimate arguments made from both sides.

On one side, you have the trucking industry, which generally says that raising minimum insurance requirements will only hurt the ability of a business to turn a profit (especially owner-operators) and "line the pockets" of trial lawyers.

On the other side, the trial lawyers (full disclosure: we are trial lawyers), generally advance the claim that it costs much more money than you'd believe to actually bring a case to trial. It also costs a significant amount of money to work a case to a fair settlement without trial. An additional layer of complexity occurs in cases involving more than one injured person.

Ultimately, keeping insurance minimums where they are has bottom-line impact on the maximum amount of compensation a seriously injured person may receive. And this is money that the person really needs.

Trucker Liability Insurance Today

Right now, as it has been for years, truckers or their employers are federally required to carry a minimum of $750,000 of liability insurance coverage. The question is how much more to mandate, and it isn't an easy question to answer. Expect more to come on this in 2015.

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