Preventing Nuclear Verdicts: How Your Fleet Departments Can Work Together

Est. 3 min read

Nuclear Verdicts are on the rise. From 2012 to 2019, the number of cases with verdicts over $1 million increased by 335% compared to the six years prior. Additionally, since 2010, the average size of a crash-related verdict has increased by 967%.

To ward off the emerging threat of Nuclear Verdicts, fleets need to do everything they can to reduce liability in the event of a crash. Fortunately, by encouraging disparate fleet departments to work together, fleets can begin to protect themselves from a liability disaster.

Eliminate Inconsistencies in Your Recruiting & Operations Departments

When driver hiring, retention, and development are all managed by different departments, inconsistencies in employment standards often occur, which is a common cause of Nuclear Verdicts.

For example, if a fleet retains a driver with the record of someone they wouldn’t hire or hires someone with the record of a driver they wouldn’t retain, then they have an inconsistency in their retention standards that can be exploited in court. If recruiting and operations aren’t totally in sync with one another, a fleet can drastically increase their risk of a Nuclear Verdict.

To avoid this, fleets can hold meetings on a regular basis where leadership from each department present changes they have made to their standards to ensure every department’s policies are on the same page. 

Safety & Operations Optimizing Your Training Program

If a driver is assigned training to address a known risk factor, but that training is poorly administered or not properly documented, their fleet’s liability increases if the driver is later involved in a crash. For that reason, when a fleet’s Safety department assigns training, it’s important that the training is executed completely and proper documentation is captured.

To improve their training program’s reliability, fleets will often ensure the Safety team has visibility into how Operations is carrying out training plans. With this insight, Operations teams can be held accountable by the individuals actually assigning the plans. Similarly, the Operations team can share insight on the common challenges associated with a training plan, giving the Safety team the opportunity to refine their plans for more practical application. Ultimately, enhanced visibility into the training process can improve both the planning and execution of a fleet’s professional development.

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