Tag Archive for: litigation risk


The dawn of the Coronavirus pandemic brought about a shift in behaviors like the country has never seen. The variance from normal created nationwide shutdowns, self-isolating citizens, and a dramatic spike in unemployment rates.

As fear of the unknown spreads across the country, one thing remains the same;

Trucking companies must keep rolling.

Truck drivers hold the responsibility of supplying the world with all its luxuries and, more importantly, basic needs. Most everything we use daily was made available to the consumer because of a truck driver. But now, grocery stores are struggling to keep products on the shelf. Consumers are buying more groceries and household items to comply with quarantine mandates.

Truck drivers are overwhelmed with the task of keeping the supply lines moving despite the ongoing pandemic. In normal operating circumstances, they haul consumer goods from the shipper to the receiver as efficiently as possible.

The COVID-19 National Emergency has created setbacks the country could have never anticipated. The panic buying trend cause truck drivers to work overtime. They have had to figure out how to cover more miles and deliver more product than they could before the pandemic.

The Department of Transportation anticipated the struggle and stepped in to offer relief from a few strict regulations. Drivers are now allowed to operate longer hours, drive with expired licenses, and operate without a valid physical.

Impact of Social Distancing

In addition to the relaxed regulations, drivers have also been enjoying the perks of empty highways and low traffic density. Work Zone activity increased because construction crews can work more efficiently without traffic congestion.

A decrease in the number of accidents/incidents can cause truck drivers to feel a false sense of security. As the public begins to reenter the community from quarantine, traffic volume will begin increasing at a significant pace.

“Don’t let your success of today lay you into complacency for tomorrow. For that is the worst form of failure.” -Og Mandino

More frequent work zone activity, increased traffic, and complacent truck drivers are a recipe for disaster. Even though the regulations are relaxed, trucking companies can still be sued for accidents and incidents. You may have a driver who is legally allowed to operate over hours, but when an incident occurs, your company and your driver will still be held liable.

Defensive strategy

The best thing any trucking company can do for their drivers is to continue their training from rookie to retiree. Most importantly, enrich your safety culture by creating awareness within your workforce. Trucking companies experience a unique challenge in continual education, however, because their fleets are rarely available to gather for safety meetings.

The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute conducted a study on whether truck drivers at fault in accidents than passenger cars. Their research concluded that out of 8,309 accidents, the passenger vehicle was at fault 71% of the time.

The study showed that, professional drivers were only at fault in 16% of fatal car/truck crashes. It is evident that trucking companies are defensible in court, even in fatal crashes, because the fault usually lies with the passenger vehicle.

Today’s technology allows you to tackle this problem by delivering training courses online. Drivers can still participate no matter where they are located. In the unfortunate event you end up in court, a plaintiff might ask you about your digital training class. Their stance will be that there is no way to prove participation since the training courses were not administered by an actual person.

Protect your company and your drivers by providing training and assessments that secure their acknowledgement. Test them on their retention whenever possible and always get their signature.

If it isn’t in writing, it didn’t happen.


Be proactive

Take an assessment of your company and look at areas that need to be strengthened. If you find yourself in court, an attorney will do the same. They will attempt to destroy your company’s credibility by exposing potentials for weakness.

Relaxed DOT regulations mixed with an under-trained workforce could mean the end of your company. A quick internet search returned several articles touting exactly how to sue a trucking company. The information is readily available, trucking companies are an easy target, and the “billboard attorneys” are hungry.

Mark Rhea, a trucking industry expert, describes his experience being involved in defensive litigation for a previous employer.

“Our truck was entering a construction zone. He was following the proper procedures per his training. He checked his mirrors as he was merging to make sure he could safely get in the lane. He looked back to the front and all the cars in front had halted to a stop. We rear ended someone.

In court, the deposition plaintiff’s attorney was loaded with facts and figures. He asked if I knew how many fatalities are caused by trucks ever year. If I knew how many injuries occurred because of big trucks.

Of course, I knew the numbers were up there, but I didn’t know the exact percentages like he had researched. He was trying to diminish my credibility.

Then he began asking about our training program. He was trying to prove we didn’t properly train our drivers. It was very uncomfortable for everyone involved. Fortunately, I was able to provide documentation that our driver had received specific training courses. The wreck was not for oversight or lack of preparation; it was simply an accident.” – Mark Rhea (April 17, 2020)

Trucking Companies – To Do List

As the economy reopens, traffic will resume. Accidents will become more frequent as more drivers are utilizing the roadways. Litigation will resume, if not explode. Do not get a false sense of security while the traffic is low. Prepare your company for legal defense in the following ways:

  • – Encourage open communication
  • – Educate drivers on exemption qualifications
  • – Continue to provide proper training
  • – Document everything

Document everything a driver is provided from the very first day of orientation. Your defense attorney will want to see proof of the driver’s qualifications, CSA scores, training record, etc. Having these documents readily available in court will make you more defensible and solidify your credibility.

The logistics industry is susceptible to court action because of the danger involved in operating tractor trailers. Accidents and incidents are inevitable; relaxed regulations make them more likely. Remember, your company is not released from liability just because a driver qualifies for an emergency declaration waiver.

Even though we are adapting to a national emergency, attorneys will not cut any slack. You can, however, take the necessary steps to make your company more defensible in court.



Nuclear verdicts quadrupled last year, leaving hundreds of carriers out of business and thousands of drivers out of jobs.

And while there is a great appetite out there for the “deep pockets” of the trucking industry, with a few tweaks to your training and documentation system, you can insulate yourself from them.

How can I protect my company from nuclear verdicts?

Nuclear verdicts can put a trucking carrier out of business, and any gap in training or documentation is an opportunity for a plaintiff’s attorney to make the case against your company. Protect your company by establishing a culture of safety and documentation.

A Look Inside an Attorneys’ Nuclear Verdict Playbook

Plaintiffs’ attorneys have a sophisticated bag of tricks, in which they comb through data to discover vulnerabilities in carriers’ processes and procedures. They use these data analytics to make decisions on whether to go to court or settle or when to drop a case altogether.

Attorneys look at a variety of data, including CSA scores, logs, and reporting inefficiencies, then drill down on those issues to prove their cases and win millions of dollars for their plaintiff. Attorneys have data analysts ready to get the next nuclear verdict, so trucking companies need to be armed and ready, protecting their vulnerabilities and ensuring that all processes and procedures are above par.

The “Dirty Five”

Attorneys have a well-known attack strategy for nuclear verdicts, using the “Dirty Five” against drivers. These are five categories that are known winners for nuclear verdicts:

  •  Driver Fatigue
  •  Distracted Driving
  •  Driving Under the Influence
  •  Poor equipment maintenance
  •  Inexperienced or poorly-trained driver

Your Nuclear Verdict Playbook

If attorneys have a playbook for getting nuclear verdicts, you should have one for avoiding them. Gone are the days when a robust safety program was a “nice to have.” Welcome to the days of “establish your program, or you’re out of business.” 

Infinit-I Workforce Solutions has published a new whitepaper, which details our strategy on a data-driven approach to avoiding nuclear verdicts. Read the whitepaper and learn about how a culture of safety and accurate, detailed documentation can save your company from nuclear verdicts, extravagant insurance premiums, and bankruptcy.

Infinit-I Workforce Solutions’ Checklist to Avoid Nuclear Verdicts

If you’re not quite ready to commit, we are offering a checklist to get you started on nuclear verdict prevention. Follow the steps below to protect your company and your drivers.

  1.   Avoid accidents in the first place by creating a culture of safety that utilizes short, frequent, consistent online safety awareness training partnered with real-time documentation.
  2.   When accidents do happen, mitigate liability and the likelihood that the case goes to trial by making sure that 1) the driver is prepared to begin your company’s defense at the site of the accident, and 2) your office is prepared to quickly produce consistent documentation and a safety portfolio that discourages litigation
  3.   If the accident goes to trial, make sure that driver training, company policies, licensing, and medical records are thoroughly documented, reducing the threat of nuclear verdicts

Key Takeaways:

  •  Nuclear verdicts are on the rise, and trucking companies must be hyper-vigilant to reduce risk exposure.
  •  Create a culture of safety using Infinit-I Workforce Solutions’ training toolkit and documentation system.
  •  Plaintiffs’ attorneys have a data-driven approach to snagging nuclear verdicts. You need a data-driven playbook on how to avoid them.
How Reporting Reduces Insurance Costs and Litigation Risk for Transportation Firms

Nuclear verdicts are on the rise, now more than ever. With these verdicts totaling $10 million or more each, this presents a real threat to your business.  In fact, the rise of nuclear verdicts has resulted in many trucking companies going out of business, and many insurance carriers are exiting the trucking industry completely. With insurance costs and litigation risk for transportation firms soaring around every turn, it is more imperative than ever to enforce safety policies and procedures, and have clear documentation.

And while the national inflation rate is about 2 percent, insurance rates are actually increasing by 50 – 100 percent year over year for trucking companies, due to nuclear verdicts. 

What is litigation risk?

Any roadside incident presents the opportunity for litigation. With the appetite for litigation at an all-time high, it is important to train drivers on how to avoid these incidents by using your safety protocols—the more robust your safety program, the smaller the risk for litigation.

Nuclear Verdicts and Their Impact

In October 2019, Country Wide RV Transport (CWRV) was one of the latest trucking companies that fell victim to a nuclear verdict. The second-largest RV and motor-home transportation provider in the country, they employed nearly 600 drivers and contractors, all of whom were informed right before the holidays that they would no longer have jobs. The driver who caused the accident was an independent contractor, but the company was still held liable for damages to the tune of $26.6 million.

In the largest nuclear verdict of 2019, and, in fact, in history, a jury awarded a $280 million verdict in only 45 minutes of deliberation. Was the accident tragic? Absolutely. Was it the truck driver’s fault? Absolutely. Was the verdict inordinately high? Absolutely.

Fatalities are decreasing, yet nuclear verdicts are increasing. 

Each year for the last decade has seen significant increases in litigation resulting in nuclear verdicts, with an extreme uptick in the last two years. Plaintiffs’ lawyers have discovered a gold mine in cases against trucking companies, and you better believe they are hard at work mining every dollar, or in this case, every million that they can possibly get. So while your company is hovering at a 5% profit margin, you’re funding plaintiffs’ lawyers’ fancy vacations. 

You can’t afford it.

Insurance costs are rising rapidly, even for squeaky-clean trucking companies. Insurance providers understand the litigation risks associated with the industry and lose a great deal on nuclear verdicts. Many insurance providers don’t even cover trucking companies anymore due to litigation risk.

What can you do about it? 

With nuclear verdicts and insurance costs on the rise, you can’t afford to take any chances. This is not going away and, in fact, is only getting worse. 

The best leg you can stand on in court is your culture and history of safety, with airtight documentation. Juries, judges, lawyers, and insurance companies become very interested in your culture of safety and history of documentation when a settlement is on the line. 

Learn more about building and maintaining a culture of safety

To get the most out of your safety program and prevent excessive insurance costs and litigation risk, you need a program that is easily accessible to drivers and offers real-time, cloud-based documentation.

Not sure where to start?

Check out our whitepaper on controlling insurance costs, which will help you understand:

  •  What part of your risk exposure you can control
  •  What you can actively do to mitigate your risk exposure
  •  How your company can proactively work to establish a culture of safety that can help reduce accidents, improve defensibility in court, and give access to the best possible insurance rates

Download the Controlling Insurance Costs whitepaper now!

Increase our defensibility in court


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