How To Build Your A-Team Against Truck Driving Nuclear Verdicts 2021
Building Your Team Against a Nuclear Verdict
You have likely heard the term safety culture from experts in the transportation industry, as well as from advisors, insurers, lawyers, and others. What is a safety culture though, and why is it so important to the transportation industry?
Safety culture is more than analyzing data and getting drivers to slow down. It is more than quarterly safety meetings and monthly training. A culture is a way of life, a shared set of beliefs between a group of people.
A culture of safety can make or break a trucking company these days, especially when it comes to a potential nuclear verdict in the courtroom. It starts from the top and involves making every person in the company a part of your team to combat potential threats.
When an Accident Makes it to Trial
With trucking accidents, it is not a matter of if, but when. How you train drivers along with how you handle the aftermath of an accident can play a big real in whether you end up in court.
The truth is, by the time a case makes it to trial, plaintiff attorneys have already gathered a large amount of data. They don’t really need answers from you because they likely already have them from discovery.
Discovery is the phase of investigation where an attorney decides to drop a case, settle out of court, or go to trial. During this phase you might be called in for a deposition to answer questions during this time, and the testimony you give can be used in court.
This phase of a potential lawsuit sets the tone for the case as a whole. Your existing safety culture is a significant factor in determining the outcome of a case. So, how do you build a strong safety culture to protect against a potential nuclear verdict?
Building a Solid Safety Culture
A solid safety culture starts with having the right team around you. It’s important that you do not wait until you have an accident before you gather these people around you. You need to put your team in place to help prevent threats, and deal with them if they arise.
Your Risk Manager
You will need a dedicated risk/safety person who is familiar with all industry regulations. Find someone who is safety conscious and always looking for ways to improve. This person needs to take pride in their work and in your company to be effective.
They also need to have the right temperament to handle drivers, the motoring public, and lawyers. Your risk manager will likely be your company witness in the courtroom. They will explain your safety record and steps taken throughout to the jury.
This person needs to be confident, poised, and calm so they come across well during trial. You will also benefit from a risk manager who is comfortable with silence as this is a tactic used by plaintiff attorneys. Many court cases have been lost because a witness said the wrong thing out of nervousness.
When it comes to insurance carriers, you want someone who is prompt, thorough, and able to ask the right questions. You want to make sure they are familiar with trucking procedures, accidents, and litigation so they can provide the best support for your company.
To help avoid a nuclear verdict, it is best to report accidents to your insurer as soon as possible. It is difficult to defend lawsuits when the accident was filed late. You also need to make sure they have all the pertinent information so they can adequately assess the situation.
Your attorney also needs a thorough working knowledge of the trucking industry. If you get sued, a plaintiff attorney is going after more than just damages. If they can, they will go after your company.
You need someone who understands your industry and can make it relatable to the jury. Hire an attorney who can easily interpret regulations and can understand the nuances of your policies and procedures.
During trial, your attorney will need to explain all these things to the jury. Some regulations such as driver fitness and hours-of-service are difficult for the public to understand. Your potential for a nuclear verdict depends largely on your attorney’s ability to simplify the industry and regulations so it makes sense.
Drivers are actually your first defense against a nuclear verdict. You want to hire drivers who are willing to be part of your safety culture. They need to understand every person in the company has a role to play in maintaining that safety culture.
While driver shortages continue, it can be tempting to hire any driver you can get in the door. This will cost you more in the long run though and can destroy even a strong safety culture.
Reevaluate your hiring processes to target drivers who are safety conscious and willing to fit in with your company dynamic. Look for drivers you can build a long-term relationship with. Drivers who are the right fit will stay longer, and the longer a driver stays with your company, the more confidence you will have in their performance.
Building a Strong Training Program for a Strong Safety Culture
While your team is important, the quality of your training program is just as vital to the strength of your safety culture and with preventing nuclear verdicts. You need a training platform that specializes in trucking topics. Awareness training is a process that should be consistent and frequent, but not take up too much time.
The average American adult has an attention span no longer than 20 minutes. For the best engagement with learning material though, studies have found that training videos should last an average of 6 minutes to get the best results. More than this, and it is difficult for learner to retain new information.
An in-person training program can also cause issues, as it is difficult to get everyone together to complete the training. It can also be difficult to ensure the training is pertinent to everyone coming in to complete the courses.
That’s where an online training management system comes in play. Online training provides convenience for your drivers and makes it easier to get everyone to complete the training they need. Drivers can access the training from anywhere, and the short, 5-7-minute videos ensure they are able to retain important safety information.
Avoid Costly Verdicts
Are you looking to upgrade your training program? The Infinit-I Workforce Solutions platform has everything you need:
- Mobile accessibility
- Short, targeted training
- Industry-specific topics
- Reporting tools to safeguard against nuclear verdicts
Request a demo today. In just 20 minutes, we will show you how to transform your safety program so you can have the strongest protection available against threats.