$1 Million+ Verdict Awards for Motor Carriers Increase by 51%
Based on new research from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), sizeable verdicts and the awards that come with them have increased by 51% between 2010 and 2018. That is a consistent increase annually that motor carriers need to be aware of.
This research by ATRI is derived from a trucking database that issues detailed reports of legal proceedings from 600 cases between the years 2006 and 2019. From this information, they found from 2006-2011, there were around 26 cases that involved awards of more than $1 million. Meanwhile, 2014-2019 had almost 300 cases involving awards greater than $1 million.
Beyond statistical data, ATRI interviewed attorneys, insurance specialists, and motor carrier experts to get a better understanding of what has caused this substantial increase as well as recommendations. Best practice recommendations would be to screen drivers more frequently than the bare minimum. Conducting an annual criminal background report, monthly or quarterly querying of the FMCSA Clearinghouse to check for positive drug and alcohol test (especially those that may have been taken outside of your company), and continual motor vehicle record (MVR) monitoring are all ways to ensure a company is aware of any safety concerns or unknown exposure the company may have.
ARTI’s report, Understanding the Impact of Nuclear Verdicts on the Trucking Industry, is available for download on their website. Here you can see what the attorneys and other experts had to say about these verdicts.