Every year in the United States, approximately 500,000 truck accidents occur resulting in nearly 5,000 fatalities. One of every eight traffic fatalities involves a trucking collison. An accident is considered a trucking accident when a large trailer of 10,000 pounds or more collides with other vehicles or pedestrians.
According to the National Law Review, truckers are finding it more difficult to obtain the liability insurance coverage they need because there have been so many large settlements over the past years involving these accidents.
In 2014, a Georgia truck driver, Kevin Roper, had been driving a Walmart truck for 28 hours. Roper was driving 65 mph in a 45 mph zone of the New Jersey Turnpike when he slammed into a limo carrying comedian “Jimmy Mack” McNair and Tracy Morgan at 47 to 53 mph. The accident resulted in McNair’s death and severely injured Morgan. McNair’s children received 10 million a piece. Morgan was quoted as saying, “Wal-Mart did right by me and my family, and for my associates and their families. I am grateful that the case was resolved amicably.”
In 2013, in the state of Texas, a family was awarded $281 million after a truck’s drive shaft detached and crashed through the truck’s windshield, killing him. The award was later reduced to $105 million before the case was officially settled for an undisclosed amount. It had been proven the truck had not been properly maintained.
In 2016 in Savannah, Georgia, John Wayne Johnson was driving his truck on Interstate 16 and slammed into a line of cars, killing five Georgia Southern nursing students and severely injuring two. The driver never hit his brakes but denied falling asleep at the wheel or being distracted. his case resulted in an $80 million dollar settlement.
In 2007, a man was hit by a truck driver after the truck ran a stop sign that resulted in the other man’s death. The truck company admitted liability before it even went to trial and the truck driver was convicted separately of homicide by vehicle. The case was eventually settled in 2014 for $42 million.
A $34 million dollar settlement occurred in Ohio in 2014. The specifics of this case can’t be discussed due to a confidentiality agreement.
Trucking companies are required to cover drivers up to $750 million in accidents. Many trucking companies self insure up to $1 million, but then have other additional insurance coverage.