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Time to adjust motor carrier insurance requirements for 29 years of inflation

Handling truck accident injury and death cases in Georgia, I have often seen how inadequate the levels of insurance coverage can be for the havoc created by large truck crashes. Now there are efforts to catch up the levels of coverage for 29 years of inflation.

The current levels of insurance coverage required for interstate motor carriers were set in 1980.

The Motor Carrier Act of 1980 set minimum insurance standards for interstate trucks at $750,000 for trucks hauling general freight up to $5 million for trucks carrying hazardous materials.

Adjusted to inflation according to the Consumer Price Index:

• $750,000 in 1980 equals $1,921,811in 2009, and is worth only $292,693 today.

• $1 million in 1980 equals $2,562,415 in 2009, and is worth only $390,257 today.

• $5 million in 1980 equals $12,812,075 in 2009, and is worth only $2,491,933 today.

My friend Steve Gursten in Michigan has done a good job summarizing some horror stories of the inadequacy of the 1980 levels of coverage required for trucking companies on michiganautolaw.com.

Ken Shigley is a trial attorney in Atlanta, Georgia who has been listed as a “Super Lawyer” (Atlanta Magazine), among the “Legal Elite” (Georgia Trend Magazine), and in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers (Martindale), and is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He served as chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Litigation Institute, is on the National Advisory Board for the Association of Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America, and is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education programs for the Interstate Trucking Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice. Mr. Shigley has extensive experience representing parties in trucking and bus accidents, products liability, catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, spinal cord injury, brain injury and burn injury cases. Currently he is Secretary of the 40,000 member State Bar of Georgia.This post is subject to our ethical disclaimer.