We handle truck and car accidents in Ohio. In doing so, we have to be familiar with the insurance limits available for clients who sustain a personal injury as a result of a collision with a semi tractor-trailer rig. These motor vehicle accidents often involve big damages because of factors involving speed and disparate weight between big trucks and passenger vehicles. Recognizing this, a federal law was enacted in 1980 requiring over-the-road truckers to carry minimum coverage of $750,000 for trucks over 10,000 lbs. However, other insurance limits may apply.
Though a $750,000 minimum has been imposed on big rigs, most over-the-road carriers obtain $1,000,000 in coverage. This has become the industry standard. In addition, many large fleets carry excess coverage in the form of umbrella or surplus coverage that far exceeds the $1,000,000 primary limit. But many independent owner-operators carry a minimum of $750,000-1,000,000. Unfortunately, a study by the Trucking Alliance reports that 42% of accident settlements paid by carriers between 2005 and 2011 exceeded the $750,000 minimum.
In response to the Trucking Alliance findings and the fact that the $750,000 minimum has not been raised since 1980, federal legislation has been proposed to increase mandatory insurance limits for the trucking industry. The Safe and Fair Environment on Highways Achieved through Underwriting Levels Act (SAFE-HAUL) would raise the minimum insurance required by trucking companies from $750,000 to $4,422,000. You can bet that the powerful trucking industry lobby will quash that bill, leaving 42% of injured Americans with inadequate insurance limits to cover injuries from truck and car accidents.