The road can be a dangerous place for anyone – but especially for trucking companies. A majority of their business takes place on the road, therefore auto accidents involving commercial trucks often pose the greatest risk to companies. This is due to the fact that truck accidents often lead companies to face claims of negligence and litigation.
According to a recent study, that risk of litigation is only increasing, along with the verdicts against trucking companies.
Juries rule against trucking companies more often than not
The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released a study in June evaluating the impact of litigation on trucking companies. The survey determined that:
- Juries ruled against trucking companies at an increasing rate of 51.7% each year;
- Plaintiffs, the injured parties, won 97.1% of these cases in California; and
- The amount of damages juries award injured parties in these verdicts is rising.
Essentially, more juries are ruling against trucking companies in accident and liability cases at a considerable rate. This is significant – and worrying – for many trucking companies.
Trucking companies must understand this risk
Most trucking companies, regardless of their size, wish to avoid taking matters to court. Litigation can be costly and damaging to their reputation. However, it is not always possible to avoid litigation when it comes to accident or liability claims.
Therefore, trucking companies should be consciously aware of this trend, and how it could affect their:
- Insurance premiums;
- Liability; and
- Defense strategies.
It is beneficial for trucking companies to consult a business attorney proactively before they face a legal claim. Then they can take measures to protect their business.
How can companies reduce the risk of litigation?
Business owners must ensure they take great care long before they face litigation if they wish to reduce the risk. For example, business owners should review:
- Hiring, screening and licensing policies for drivers;
- Training strategies and requirements; and
- Vehicle inspection policies.
Companies should also take great care in choosing who they partner with or contract to drive for them.
After all, the steps to prevent truck accidents in the first place are also the steps to reduce the risk of litigation. It is not always possible to avoid risk when most of the business happens on the road, but these are measures that business owners can take to protect the company.