The trucking sector has seen numerous challenges in recent years, from the shortage of drivers to changing regulations that make it hard to keep up with compliance and training. And as hard as leaders in the transportation and logistics industry are working to adjust to these obstacles, they still face existential threats.
For instance, many truckers and trucking companies continue to worry about the increasing risk of massive monetary losses due to personal injury lawsuits.
How Big Is the Problem?
In recent years, the number of truck accidents has increased. In 2019, 5,000 trucks were involved in crashes, which is 43 percent more than those involved in crashes in 2010.
Also, during the past few years there has been an uptick in trucking accident jury verdicts, and such claims are 10 times more likely to exceed values of $10 million.
This means that trucking companies are paying exorbitant prices for accidents that their drivers may not have even caused. At the same time owners and managers have to purchase more insurance, policy rates are also increasing. Owners are forced to make some difficult choices in these situations, such as deciding whether to scale back coverage or stretch beyond their budgets to secure adequate coverage.
Some end up raising shipping prices to cover the costs, while others risk going out of business when they cannot afford sufficient insurance or the risk of being sued.
Unfortunately, this is not a new problem. Last year, we discussed why these jury verdicts are getting worryingly large in this blog post. And based on recent news stories, the trend of assigning massive penalties to trucking companies after a crash appears to be continuing.
Will this Ever Change?
Trucking and insurance companies are currently pressuring lawmakers to pass laws that will cap jury awards to stop these so-called “nuclear” verdicts. They are also pursuing options that could limit who, when, and where parties may file a lawsuit.
Whether their efforts will be successful remains to be seen. In the meantime, trucking companies must focus on saving money where they can without sacrificing safety or exposing them to additional risk. If an accident does happen, securing legal representation to defend against negligence claims or negotiate an appropriate settlement will be crucial.