Trucking accidents can cause catastrophic fatal and non-fatal injuries, which is why qualified North Georgia injury lawyers often fight for the highest-value verdicts and settlements to cover the cost of a victim’s recovery.
The laws have been slow to reflect these evolving and increasing costs. But a glimmer of hope has emerged for plaintiffs, as newly proposed federal legislation highlights much-needed reforms in trucking litigation. Let’s discuss the basics of trucking accidents and how the proposed bill can help protect the rights of injured victims in high-traffic cities like Cartersville and Woodstock and greater North Georgia.
Trucking Accidents Cause Catastrophic Injuries
Trucking accidents are typically more severe than collisions involving only passenger cars. An 18-wheeler can withstand the impact far better than any other vehicle and sustain far less damage.
Large trucks can weigh up to 20 times as much as larger cars, so when the two vehicle types collide, the smaller car is almost always totally crushed and those within are left with fatal or debilitating injuries.
Fighting for maximum recovery is a cornerstone of Pritchard Injury Firm’s mission, and recently proposed federal legislation may finally reflect the needs of truck accident victims in North Georgia.
How the Fair Compensation for Truck Crash Victims Act Can Protect Georgians
Trucking injuries are often severe and catastrophic, which is why economic and non-economic damages as well as lost future wages can cost millions of dollars. The defendants often include well-funded entities who have adequate liability and trucking insurance (they are often the driver’s employer, which we’ll discuss shortly).
But for decades, the federal law required interstate motor carriers to carry a minimum of just $750,000. Had a motor carrier lost a civil suit in a trucking injury litigation or wrongful death case, it conceivably could have only paid its policy limits of $750,000 – an insult to any victim or their family.
In December 2023, Congressmen Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04) and Hank Johnson (GA-04) introduced the Fair Compensation for Truck Crash Victims Act. This legislation would strengthen insurance requirements for interstate motor carriers and protect American families from the financial devastation caused by catastrophic truck crashes.
A release issued by the congressmen noted the two key changes proposed in the Fair Compensation for Truck Crash Victims Act:
- Increasing the minimum insurance requirement for interstate motor carriers from $750,000 to $5,000,000. This outdated figure, which has not changed since 1980, does not reflect rising medical costs and potential losses from serious crashes. The new minimum would reflect the true cost of a tragic truck crash.
- Indexing the new minimum insurance requirement to inflation. This critical provision ensures that financial protection for crash victims does not erode over time, keeping pace with the rising cost of healthcare and other expenses.
“The fact that minimum insurance requirements for interstate motor carriers haven’t been updated since 1980 is ridiculous,” said Congressman Johnson.
This new, proposed minimum insurance requirement takes economic and non-economic damages more accurately into account. Furthermore, the $5 million minimum will approach the Department of Transportation’s determination of the Value of a Statistical Life, which in 2022 was $12.5 million.
Additional co-sponsors from the House represent districts in California, New York and Tennessee. Pritchard Injury Firm supports the Act and will follow its progress in Congress.
Why Trucking Accidents Occur in North Georgia
Georgia’s geography and accessibility make it an integral part of local and national supply chains. For example, Interstate 75 connects the north and south of the state and runs through critical and growing cities like Cartersville.
But data provided by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety shows large trucks are consistently involved in at least two dozen fatal crashes per year in our state. It is unsurprising that, considering the proximity to the Georgia-Tennessee border, North Georgia cities like Cartersville and Woodstock are at high risk for trucking accidents.
Causes of Catastrophic Trucking Injuries in North Georgia
Trucking accidents could be caused by a negligent or reckless drivers, unsecured cargo, or the actions of another motorist.
Sometimes, the trucking companies are responsible for large truck crashes for reasons such as:
- Sending untrained drivers out on the road
- Assigning drivers to travel unreasonable distances
- Not following Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations
- Using defective vehicles
- and more.
A combination of causes of accidents frequently leads to multiple defendants in trucking litigation in Woodstock, Cartersville and North Georgia. A qualified North Georgia truck accident lawyer can help identify the parties responsible for a catastrophic injury.
Your North Georgia Trucking Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one were injured in any trucking or motor vehicle accident, our North Georgia attorneys are here to help. The mission of Pritchard Injury Firm is to provide you and your family with the highest quality of legal help available and a professional, stress-free experience. Contact us today.