Litigation — Claims litigation is a significant exposure, often from excessive or “nuclear” verdicts with judgements in the millions of dollars. Plaintiff’s attorneys have been successful in pointing to technicalities and poor documentation to establish negligence and liability on part of the motor carrier or fleet operator.
For example, attorneys have been effective at interpreting the failure to adopt widely available safety technology, such as a telematics system, as a motor carrier’s negligence. Drivers can also be a deciding factor in nuclear verdicts: one report found that almost all cases where driver history, substance or alcohol use, and health issues are cited resulted in favorable plaintiff verdicts.
Regulatory Assessments — Designed to hold drivers and motor carriers accountable to safety, and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA), high Compliance, Safety, Accountability (“CSA”) and Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (“BASIC”) scores indicate a poor safety record, and result in more frequent FMSCA inspections and difficulty placing insurance. The additional scrutiny makes it especially challenging for motor carriers to make material improvements to safety scores and, in many cases, remain operational.
Driver Injuries — According to data from the National Council on Compensation Insurance, the most costly lost-time workers’ compensation claims by cause of injury result from motor vehicle accidents (MVAs), often due to the serious nature of injuries sustained in a crash.2 Averaging $81,971 per claim, MVA claims cost 80% to 100% more than the average workers’ compensation claim, not including the additional costs of driver and vehicle downtime.3