Idelic Founder and Co-CEO Hayden Cardiff sat down for a conversation on “Preventing Nuclear Verdicts Before and After a Crash” with three transportation law experts: John Pion, President and Founder of Pion, Nerone, Girman, Winslow & Smith, PC, Mike Langford, Attorney and Partner at Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson and Feary, and Lee Piovarcy, Attorney and Chairman at Martin Tate.
During the webinar, which you can watch a full recording of here, they gave advice to fleets seeking to reduce their liability before and after a crash, including:
01: There Are Many Ways Fleets Can Be Found Negligent
There are two broad categories of negligence, with subcategories of each:
- Driver negligence – which can include things like distracted driving or failure to stop
- Direct negligence – which occurs when a fleet fails to take reasonable care in preventing a crash
- Direct negligence can include negligent hiring, negligent training, improper onboarding, failure to equip vehicles with available technology, and much more.
Broadly speaking, there are countless ways a fleet can be made to look negligent by a competent
plaintiff’s attorney. Fleets need an overarching, effectively run driver management program in order to reduce their liability.
02: Fleets Can Use Their Data, or Become a Victim of It
If you use platforms like Safety Suite® to organize and analyze your data, you can improve your training, risk management, and have an overall safer program.
At the same time, if you don’t make use of the data you collect, you’re opening yourself up to liability. In a crash-related trial, the plaintiff’s attorneys will request copies of your driver data, your policies, and your internal communications in an attempt to bolster their case.
If they find evidence that you had data indicating that the crash-involved driver’s performance had been trending poorly, they can use that against you in court.
03: The Most Important Thing You Can Do in the Courtroom is Not Be There
Attorney Lee Piovarcy said “The first thing I would say in terms of being inside the courtroom is ‘Don’t be there.’”
Nuclear verdicts have caused numerous fleet shutdowns in recent years. Often, the plaintiffs in these cases are willing to settle out of court for a significantly lower price than a verdict against your fleet would levy.
Though the amount the plaintiff asks for may be high, it’s much less risky to agree to their terms than to go to court. Of course, you should always consult your attorney before taking any legal actions, as they can give counsel with more information about your specific case.
The information provided in this blog post does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.
When on trial for a crash, you want to be able to say you invested in the industry-leading driver management platform and acted on the insights you discovered. You want to be able to say you did everything you could.
The Idelic Safety Suite® is the only platform to do just that. Because Safety Suite has more third-party integrations than any other driver management platform and analyzes your driver data with AI technology, you can truly understand your driver risk and never miss a key alert or indicator. You can also seamlessly assign training to at-risk drivers and fully manage your performance development plans and escalation process to completion every time.
Watch a 2-minute demo video to learn how you can bulletproof your safety here.
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