Traffic laws establish the rules of the road and also influence the rights of those harmed by others. For example, after a crash, a violation of traffic laws or a provable form of negligence could put someone at risk of incurring lawsuit via a personal injury lawsuit.
Those injured in collisions can potentially take an individual driver or sometimes a business to court if there isn’t enough insurance to cover their losses. Commercial transportation companies that manage fleets of semi-trucks may incur liability when their drivers cause crashes. They typically need to carry at least $750,000 of insurance on each of their vehicles and may need to reimburse people hurt in crashes caused by their drivers or the surviving loved ones of those who die in collisions with 18-wheelers. Unfortunately, state legislatures around the country have recently passed laws that benefit transportation companies at the cost of the people they harm.
What kind of laws have states passed?
One of the biggest complaints that road safety advocates have against the statutory approach to commercial vehicle liability is how the government has failed to increase the amount of liability coverage on large commercial vehicles for decades. Even though medical expenses and the cost of living have increased drastically, the insurance required at the federal level to offset the damages of a commercial crash remains the same.
Additionally, in some states, lawmakers have begun passing new laws that protect transportation companies after a crash occurs. Some legislatures have created statutes that make it much more difficult for those hurt by a crash to take legal action. For example, in Louisiana and West Virginia, lawmakers now allow transportation companies to use someone’s failure to wear a seatbelt as a defense to a liability claim when their drivers cause wrecks.
In other states, lawmakers have passed caps on compensation that limit how much the courts can award for certain types of damages or have shortened the window of time when victims can file a claim. Unfortunately, such statutes don’t do anything to protect the public from collisions that can leave someone with permanent injuries or claim people’s lives. All they do is make it harder for those harmed to hold trucking companies accountable.
Although Oklahoma has not passed any recent laws that diminish the rights of those harmed by commercial vehicles, plaintiffs in such cases may still have an uphill battle. Understanding the rules that govern compensation claims after semi-truck crashes may benefit those harmed in such collisions.