What do you think about the tug of war over trucking minimum liability insurance? Should it or should it not be raised after 35 years? Before you decide, read this commentary by a family member of a truck crash victim (Michelle Novak):
“Not one single penny increase. It’s “purchasing power” is almost zero, and this is money that has to be disbursed among survivors of wrecks, whether one or thirty—they split the $750,000… After lawyer fees, first in line are the—get this—insurance company lawyers! They get free taken out of this survival money for victims, for emergency room lifesaving, surgeries, helicopter flights, ambulances, ICU, etc…even though those same lawyers are paid by the insurance company. They don’t shop around to find a lawyer who will handle passing out the money. These are lawyers who are part of these gigantic insurance behemoth. And after all the first responders line up for their cut to cover….responding to a truck crash, repairing roads and guardrail, hazmat responses, putting out fires, using the jaws of life to extract victims, police presence, etc…,
“Now. Imagine 15 victims, fine fatalities and ten injuries, nine damaged vehicles, on top of all this. Victims were airlifted, all were treated, and one needed heroic efforts and now a lifetime of care, has become disabled. ..there is so much in one complex wreck, it works be almost impossible to calculate cost. Doesn’t matter. Can’t sue the insurance company for knowingly covering a driver with a ten-year history of lawbreaking with his truck, leading to this crash. Can’t sue the govt agencies that simply didn’t bother dreaming with him and enforcing the laws it is tasked with enforcing. And the company is a one-truck operation that files for bankruptcy the day after the crash.
“$750,000 ….minus all those players. That is, of course actually nothing, which is why victims end up with medical liens placed on everything they own or ever might own, and are in debt the rest of their lives, on top of the injury, the death of their loved ones.
“Now Imagine your killed loved one wasn’t actually moving when the wreck happened. He wasn’t even allowed to move. An accident up ahead. Traffic stopped. Ever other citizen duly stopped, as required by law.except the sound asleep truck driver with the forged medical certificate, the black-market purchased commercial license, the falsified log books, the fact that though he was exhausted, he drove right by the last truck rest s stop only a mile or so before he plowed right into that liner of stopped cars, ripping apart five human beings as he went.
“$750,000 in an industry that capitalizes on carrying insurance from over thirty years ago, with insurers who are shielded from civil suit, which means they don’t have any responsibility for knowingly, or not even bothering to find out, if the drivers they profit off of are horrible risks or not. And why should they? The most they could possibly lose,no matter how many laws the driver broke, no matter how habitual a lawbreakers the driver is, and no matter how many lives he destroys, is $750,000…
“How fantastic to be in a risk-based industry, covering bets on risk, and not even needing the actual insurance model to guarantee profit. How great to be able to figure your maximum costs based on the number of drivers insured, knowing that you’ll never be dragged into court, never be called to answer for insuring lousy drivers along with good…..how profitable to be able to charge those drivers more based on risk, without ever having to pass that magic, chiseled-into-stone level of $750,000…that is a custom-made giant profit machine, if ever there was one.
“If anyone else happens to read this…..if you haven’t had to experience this reality yet personally, please do your best to picture it. It can be your reality in the blink of an eye: your never-ending injustice that you get to live every day, knowing that these insurance execs, CEO s, shareholders, all walk away oblivious to what this setup, that they don’t mind spending good lobbying money on, does to not only its victims, but the entire society of taxpayers who must pick up the costs for every one of the parties listed earlier, because the cost has to be paid.
“There are ways to raise this to appropriate levels, while still spreading out cost among drivers and those very rich insurance companies, and the very rich gigantic retail, warehousing and shipping firms that make constant use of their trucks.
“We’ll get a plan hammered out, at some point. And then we’ll push it until the entire industry shares the costs of risk. When they finally all share it, you’ll be amazed at how quickly they straighten all this out…and these nightmares will stop.
“They don’t do anything out of kindness, citizenship duties, or any altruism. You have to make it hurt their only source of feeling: the gigantic pile of wealth they amass at the expense of their victims.”
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