The litigation environment for owners and operators of commercial or company vehicles has reached a tipping point that, unless addressed by the Texas Legislature, will result in growing small business failures, increased costs of doing business for the companies that survive, and increased costs for goods and services purchased by all Texans.
The cost of doing business in the state of Texas is on an unsustainable trajectory. Insurance rates are climbing by double digits every year. Texas is now widely known as an unfriendly state to do business for insurance underwriters. We cannot continue down this path. As someone who witnesses the daily impact frivolous lawsuits have on the insurance and trucking industries, I am dedicated to raising awareness on this pertinent issue and proud to serve as vice-chair of TXTA’s Lawsuit Reform Task Force.
As you know, nuclear verdicts awarded in court are on an alarming rise. Unscrupulous personal injury trial lawyers who are abusing the legal system constantly boast of such awards on tv and radio. Awards can range in the hundreds of millions and too often result in businesses closing their doors almost overnight.
But what raises the cost of insurance more than nuclear verdicts are the settlements reached outside of the courtroom in order to avoid grossly inflated judgements. It has become commonplace to settle a claim for just under the amount of liability coverage carried by the trucking company. One and two million-dollar settlements add up quickly and this is happening on a regular basis. The cost of these claims is unsustainable for both the insurance and trucking industries.
Members, I am proud to join you and personally contribute to the Lawsuit Reform Initiative. We need your financial support to make our voices heard at the Texas Capitol this January as we seek relief against lawsuit abuse. We are halfway through our 6-month campaign to raise $150,000 and we are two thirds of the way to our goal.
As part of our efforts to raise awareness, we are ramping up our social media presence, highlighting the issue and the essentiality of Texas trucking. The reach of social media is unlimited, but like most things, it comes with a price tag. By boosting and paying for promotion, we can strategically target legislators and their constituents as well as interested stakeholders. Your donations will help fund our digital marketing campaign and allow TXTA to take full advantage of the power of grassroots technology.
Make sure you are following TXTA’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn pages and please share TXTA’s posts with your followers to spread the word about lawsuit abuse against the trucking industry.
In addition to financial support, we are asking the membership to share your experiences with lawsuit abuse with TXTA and join the Keep Texas Trucking Coalition. I look forward to partnering with every member of TXTA to fight lawsuit abuse. If I can be a resource for anyone, please contact me.
John L. Mondics
Mondics Insurance Group
Vice-Chairman TXTA Lawsuit Reform Task Force
Transport Topics, June 16, 2021
By Kimberley Leggett
AUSTIN—Jonathan Kennemer, TXTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CKJ Transport, released the following statement regarding Governor Greg Abbott signing House Bill 19:
“Today is truly a historic day for the entire trucking industry and sends a message to predatory trial lawyers—hard working truckers are no longer your personal piggy banks. House Bill 19 strikes at the heart of the abusive litigation climate the trucking industry has suffered under for years. I could not be prouder of our collective efforts this legislative session. These significant changes, coupled with some timely Texas Supreme Court opinions dealing with medical pricing, reposition Texas from a state with some of the worst lawsuit abuse in the country.
This was a collective effort and would not have been possible without the support of Texans for Lawsuit Reform, Southwest Movers Association and the entire Keep Texas Trucking Coalition. Together, we have been able to accomplish meaningful legislation that will reshape the course of lawsuit abuse not just for trucking, but the entire commercial motor vehicle industry. TXTA has once again proven why we are the unified voice of the trucking industry. Thank you to Governor Greg Abbott for recognizing the importance of House Bill 19 and signing it today.”
The biggest threat to many Texas businesses today? Abusive lawsuits targeting commercial vehicle fleets. Texas has seen a 118 percent increase in motor vehicle lawsuits since 2008, with one in ten crashes resulting in a lawsuit in 2019. And any vehicle with a company logo is a target. In case after case, some personal injury trial lawyers have teamed up with complicit doctors to inflate medical bills, overbilling and even recommending unnecessary procedures—all to leverage a larger settlement in a lawsuit.
Watch these videos from the Keep Texas Trucking Coalition to learn more about how this lawsuit abuse leverages medical billing to turn the legal system into a profit center.