UNITED STATES – July 6, 2020 – According to an online news article posted on TTNews.com, over the past five years juries have awarded verdicts amounting to more than a million dollars each for over 300 plaintiffs in truck crash cases. The trucking industry refers to such decisions as “nuclear verdicts.” Even before the study confirmed it, many in the trucking industry have believed that such cases are becoming more common and that awards overall are increasing in these lawsuits.
In 2006, only four cases resulted in verdicts that were one million dollars or more. By 2013, there were more than 70 cases that resulted in these large verdicts. Many of the cases ended in verdicts that amounted to more than ten million in damages.
Verdicts are determined based on a number of factors. In cases where plaintiffs were best suited to win, there were often one or more of five factors that worked against the trucking companies. Those factors include drivers who suffered from health-related issues that impacted their ability to operate a truck, drivers who fled the scene, truckers with poor driving records, drivers who were under the influence, and evidence of hours of service or logbook entry violations.
When the victims were children, the verdicts skyrocket by over 16,000 percent. Injuries to spinal cords ended in massive awards. When a truck rear-ended another vehicle, the plaintiff was successful in litigation 89 percent of the time.
Large trucks were involved in 4,136 fatal crashes in the United States in 2018. There are certain risk factors that make trucks more of a danger on the road. One of those issues is the long number of hours they often spend on the road. After driving for eight hours or more, the risk of a crash doubles. Federal regulations permit drivers to stay on the road for eleven hours at a time.
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