« Back to Blog

“Nuclear” Trucking Accident Verdicts Increasing

Posted on May 17, 2021

According to recent news reports, trucking accident verdicts above $1 million have risen nearly 1,000 percent over an eight-year period. Additionally, “nuclear” verdicts, meaning awards higher than $10 million, are also on the rise, driving up insurance rates in the trucking industry and pushing some carriers to scale back on policies to make ends meet.

The American Transportation Research Institute reported that jury verdicts involving truck crashes increased from $2.3 million to $22.3 million between 2010 and 2018, and in the years since, again increased as much as 10 times that.

The article noted that, as insurance only covers so much in a jury award, one larger verdict could force a trucking company into bankruptcy. “If someone wins $20 million from the jury, my insurance companies only pay the first $5 [million],” said Mike Card, president of Combined Transport. “I would have to pay the next $15 million. We couldn’t afford that. We’d have to shut our doors.”

Trucking companies are required to carry $750,000 in liability coverage under federal law and commercial insurance rates, according to the article, have increased on average 20-25 percent annually over the past two years. For the larger companies, those higher rates have stopped them from purchasing extra coverage.

Lawsuits by individuals against trucking companies can feel like a David and Goliath situation. If you or someone you love was injured in a trucking accident, working with an attorney in Philadelphia who has obtained large verdicts and settlements in trucking accident cases may help you get the best results possible. Please contact us to arrange a convenient time to speak.