Fleets in all sectors of the trucking industry have been feeling the pressure of rising Nuclear Verdicts. In the past decade alone, the number of verdicts over $1 million has increased by 335%, all while the average size of a crash-related verdict has increased by 967%. In response to this, fleets have had to rethink their policies, procedures, and risk management to reduce their liability. One strategy fleets should consider: Going on offense.
What Does It Mean to Go on Offense Against Your Liability?
In today’s trucking world, a reactive approach to risk management simply won’t cut it. “Going on offense” is the practice of evaluating the potential sources of liability within your fleet and proactively addressing any risk found. Some common sources of liability include:
- Complex policy handbooks that are difficult to follow
- Driver data that a fleet did not have or did not act on
- Language used in job postings for driver positions
- Conversations between drivers and managers
An offensive approach to risk management would entail rigorously examining these materials on a regular basis, identifying failures to follow procedure or act on driver data, and taking steps to ensure these mistakes are not repeated.
Why Could Fleets Benefit From an Offensive Approach to Liability Reduction?
In a Nuclear Verdict trial, the plaintiff’s attorney will often employ “reptile theory,” a strategy that tries to claim a fleet does not make safety their highest priority and is a threat to the public. Plaintiff’s attorneys will look for evidence within a fleet’s data, procedures, or communications that they are negligent with safety and risk management to prove it.
By taking an offensive approach to risk management, fleets can demonstrate to a potential jury a number of things:
- They are proactive with their safety practices
- They have made safety and risk management high priorities
- They are always looking for ways to improve their safety
In doing so, a fleet can potentially defuse a plaintiff’s attorney’s claim that they do not care for the safety of the motoring public, which is key to defeating reptile theory in court.
How to Take Control of Your Driver Data
Implementing the strategy above can seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be with the right tools.
The Idelic Safety Suite® is the most comprehensive driver management platform in the trucking industry, consolidating all of a fleet’s disparate technology systems under a single platform. Gain a 360° view of your fleet’s safety performance with Safety Suite’s Fleet Performance Dashboard and robust reports. Instantly access canned reports on your fleet’s compliance, accidents, and claims, and build custom reports on any and all safety data within the platform.
If you’d like to learn more about how Safety Suite helps fleets go on offense against their liability, watch a 2-minute demo video or sign up for a deep dive here.
The information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.