Iowa Moves To Cap Damages In Truck Accident Suits At $2M
The logistics sector has taken several hits in the form of “nuclear” verdicts over the past decade as Americans become more and more fed up with companies that won’t follow the rules. The companies feel that the rules, such as mandatory breaks after 8 hours of work, are cumbersome and pointless. Plaintiffs are pointing out the rules when filing claims against trucking companies who are violating those rules. Today, you have a battle between personal injury lawyers advocating for public policy changes and investor interests that are taking a hit.
How did COVID affect the matter?
COVID actually did not help logistics companies one whit. While it’s true that there were fewer accidents with fewer cars on the road, the violence of those accidents was actually worse. For truck drivers, you rely on traffic to set the pace for the most part and while there are truck-only speed limits, truckers tend to go with the flow of traffic. When there’s less traffic, in other words, the need to speed your way to your destination seems like less of a big deal.
As it turned out, there were fewer accidents during COVID but a higher percentage of them were serious and fatal. So, now we’re in a place where state legislatures are passing rules to protect their companies from killing people, but they aren’t doing enough to prevent trucking companies from operating dangerously.
What does a cap look like?
Juries will still be able to deliver nuclear verdicts, but the court will adjust the payment to the cap. While $2 million is a lot of money for individuals, it is not a lot of money for a company. Ultimately, companies need to feel the financial crunch because when it’s the only motivation, the tendency toward devastation is high. Caps are protectionist schemes to insulate companies from real accountability. They are sold under the banner of reducing costs to consumers, protecting jobs, and more, but they do nothing but place a band-aid over the real problem: Truck drivers are killing too many people and the law is holding them accountable in a way that drives up the cost of products for everyone.
Is there a sensible solution?
Regulations and minimum standards have saved more lives than protecting companies from personal injury judgments and (by the way) they protect companies from nuclear verdicts as well. A jury is much more likely to tax a company for punitive damages if they’re playing by the rules, can point out how they’re playing by the rules, and ensure the public that their company cares about the rights and safety of others.
Ultimately, your heart has to be in the right place for any solution to work and protecting companies from accountability is not a good faith move.
Talk to a Florida Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Halpern, Santos & Pinkert represent the interests of Florida residents injured in trucking accidents. Call our Florida personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and we can discuss your next moves immediately.