Truck Accidents Are Becoming More Severe

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the average cost of a commercial truck accident in which one person is injured is $148, 279. If more than one person is injured in a trucking accident, the costs rise exponentially to $7,2 million. This number does not include the rising costs of truck repairs and liability claims. As accidents become more frequent, claim costs are almost twice as likely to exceed $100,000.

Trucks carry 80% of the nation’s cargo, but there are more trucks on the road today than ever before. The number of truck accidents has increased along with the number of fatalities on the highways. Large truck crashes accounted for 11% of all motor vehicle accident deaths in 2018. According to the American Trucking Association, commercial trucks were involved in 59% more accidents per mile in 2017 than in 2010, despite newer technology and better regulations. In addition, the number of people who died in large truck crashes in 2018 was 31% higher than in 2009, when the rate was at its lowest since 1975, when statistics on fatal crashes began.

Billion-dollar lawyer speaks: Here’s what happened in tragic Florida wreck

His billion-dollar judgment in hand, Curry Pajcic is speaking out about what happened in the series of truck wrecks in 2017 that took the life of Connor Dzion and led to the enormous jury award.

The arguments aren’t new; Pajcic, attorney for the Dzion family in Florida’s Nassau County court, presented them during the five-day trial. But since few people heard those in person, Pajcic appears to be on a quest to get his view of what happened out to a broader audience. He held a press conference after the verdict, and a Pajcic & Pajcic associate reached out to FreightWaves to offer up a longer review of the events of that night.

Pajcic has the advantage of the “other side” being quiet or nonexistent. One of the two trucking companies involved, Canada-based Kahkashan, has proved impossible to contact — for both FreightWaves and other media, based on reports. Kahkashan was represented by the Orlando office of Wilson Elser, a national law firm. But efforts to contact attorneys for the firm have failed.

The second company, Staten Island, New York-based AJD Business Services, is listed by the Department of Transportation as inactive. Its lawyer withdrew from the case in 2019, and it failed to answer any of the court’s actions going back to that year.

Thirteen die in collision of truck and crowded SUV near U.S.-Mexico border

At least 13 people were killed on Tuesday when a tractor-trailer slammed into a Ford Expedition crammed with 25 adults and children in the dusty farming community of Holtville near the U.S.-Mexico border, officials said.

Handmade wooden crosses stretched in a line across a patch of dry grass and dirt next to the highway, and a seat covered in what appeared to be blood lay near the SUV, as the desolate highway remained closed Tuesday afternoon.

The white tractor trailer cab with yellow trim was still smashed into the wrecked side of the maroon SUV. The entire driver’s side of the smaller vehicle was caved in, and the passenger side was flung wide open.

Zoom Jury Awards $411 Million Nuclear Verdict to Injured Motorcyclist

Travel on Florida’s Interstate 10 came to a standstill in 2018 after a 45-car pile up.

Severe weather caused visibility issues for motorist and tractor trailer alike. One truck in particular, a semi from Top Auto Trucking Company, tried to avoid an accident, but instead jacknifed across the road and created the pile up.

Described as “total chaos” by local news, the heavy downpour soon gave way to 18 crashes, with eight people injured and in need of hospitalization. A single motorcyclist, Duane Washington, was in critical condition.

Washington was an eight-year Army veteran and father of three. In his attempt to avoid the accident as it occurred, Washington swerved his motorcycle toward the median, but before he could pass, Washington collided with a stopped truck that had no lights on in the emergency lane.

He hit with such force that his body was thrown into the median, leaving him with life-threatening injuries, including breaking both sides of his pelvis away from his spine, severe colon and urethra damage, permanent incontinence and loss of sexual function.

During recovery, Washington found that he was struggling to not only care for himself, but also for his children. He sued the trucking company.

At first, Top Auto Trucking Company tried to settle the case for $1 million, but the court rejected it, according to CDL Life. Washington’s bills, at that point, had already reached $750,000. Top Auto was a single truck and single driver company based in Pembroke Pines, Fla., that reportedly no longer held authority. Because its offer was rejected, and because the trucking coming no longer held authority, Top Auto’s lawyers pulled out from the case, essentially leaving the company to represent itself.

Litigation continued, even through the tumultuous year of 2020, in which many jury verdicts have been doled out virtually.

In Washington’s case, the jury awarded the injured motorcyclist $411 million in damages upon hearing the case from the confines of their virtual space. This is considered one of the largest amounts in damages awarded via a Zoom trial this year in the United States.

The Importance of Increasing Trucking Insurance Minimums

Crashes involving commercial trucks can cause severe and long-term injuries to drivers and occupants. The cost of lost wages, hospital stays, surgeries, physiotherapy, and various other necessary past and future medical care can easily exceed $1,000,000. Commercial truck insurance minimums need to provide adequate liability coverage for these crashes, but the current minimum liability insurance only requires $750,000.

This amount has shown disparity between the needs of victims and what companies have to have for coverage given that this amount has not changed in nearly 40 years. But pursuant to the INVEST in America Act, an amendment to the bill which was passed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in June would raise the minimum liability insurance of commercial motor vehicles to $2,000,000, something that is past due for many reasons.

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