Most Republicans in the Iowa Senate have voted for a bill to provide new liability protection for the trucking industry as well as companies with commercial vehicles, like delivery trucks, cranes or utility vehicles. Non-economic pain and suffering damages in lawsuits over accidents would be limited to two MILLION dollars, while payments to cover medical expenses, economic losses and punitive damages remain UN-limited. Republican Senator Adrian Dickey of Packwood owns a trucking company and is chairman of the Iowa Motor Truck Association’s board of directors.
Four Republican senators joined all the Democrats in voting against the bill. Senator Mark Lofgren, a Republican from Muscatine, voted earlier this month against similar liability changes for medical malpractice claims. He cited the details of his grandson’s death after surgery to remove the two-year-old’s adenoids.
Senator Mike Bousselot, a Republican from Ankeny, says the bill is needed to protect the trucking industry from trial attorneys seeking out-of-whack pain and suffering awards that drive up trucking company costs.
Senator Pam Jochum, a Democrat from Dubuque, says families who lose a loved one in an accident need more support than the bill would allow.
The bill’s liability structure for commercial vehicle accidents is similar to the language in the medical malpractice bill the governor signed into law last week. The bill that cleared the Senate Wednesday night now goes to the House for consideration.