In the latest episode of Solving The Driver Problem, Scott Rea sat down with Rob Boroff of Gallagher Sharp LLP to discuss how motor carriers and their insurance companies can reduce the risk of being on the receiving end of lawsuits after accidents.
Gallagher Sharp LLP is a trucking defense law firm that protects truckers, motor carriers, freight brokers, rideshare technology companies, and their insurers from claims and lawsuits that stem from catastrophic accidents and cargo loss. AvatarFleet offers cost-effective and proven solutions to improve recruiting, compliance, safety, and liability issues.
Together, Rea and Boroff offer insights into how truck drivers, motor carriers, and their insurance companies can stay out of the courtroom and reduce their costs that result from subsequent claims and litigation.
Nuclear verdicts are jacking up your insurance rates but you’re more likely to be a victim of a runaway verdict than a nuclear verdict.
As CNBC points out, “The average verdict size for a lawsuit above $1 million has increased nearly 1,000% from 2010 to 2018, rising from $2.3 million to $22.3 million.”
You’re a good company. You need to be able to prove it and prove it quickly to stay out of the courtroom. Nothing ticks you off more than when you do all the right things but end up settling for $50,000 settlements to make something go away before it gets worse.
“What’s the first thing you’d do to give them the Heisman – the stiff-arm – so that the $50,000 claim doesn’t balloon into a million?” Rea asked.
Boroff points out that there are two components to avoiding litigation, and they involve doing things both before and after an accident.
Boroff explains that your defense against a plaintiff's attorney starts before you even have an accident.
Boroff says, “Companies like AvatarFleet make my job easier. Money invested up front goes a long way.”
It’s crucial that you invest in protocols that reduce your risk of losing lawsuits before an accident even happens. It’s important to:
As Boroff says, you need to show plaintiffs that, “If you’re going to try to turn this into something it’s not, you’re going to be hit with the Heisman pose.”
Boroff is part of Gallagher Sharp, LLP’s rapid response team. That means he and his team are taking calls at 3 A.M. on a holiday about a client’s accident.
“When we get that call, boom. We’re out getting our procedures and protocols in place, and making sure we do everything we can to put our clients in the best position possible,” Boroff said.
Boroff explains it’s all about urgency and speed after an accident because information, data, and documents can get lost.
Boroff and his team are at the accident scene as soon as possible gathering as much information to determine how the accident occurred, including identifying and interviewing witnesses, gathering surveillance footage, and obtaining any available information from the vehicles involved, e.g. event data recorders, and dash cam videos.
This information can easily be lost as time progresses, with the turn of a key, or by simply moving a vehicle. They obtain and preserve this data to do their best to figure out how exactly the accident happened.
This doesn’t just happen at the major accidents.
Boroff explains, “Sometimes those no liability cases or accidents with insignificant damage do turn into something.”
It’s crucial that, no matter how small the accident may be, you try to collect and obtain as much information and data as possible after an accident to put yourself or your insured in the best position possible to defend against a claim or lawsuit.
The more drivers you have on the road, the higher your risk is for accidents, injuries, and lawsuits. But you don’t need us to tell you that. You’re living it.
Even when your driver isn’t at fault, you'll likely find yourself in court defending your company or your insured and hoping you don’t get slapped with a runaway verdict from the plaintiff.
If you’re taking these verdicts on the chin and limping away, it’s time to get ahead of the curve before the big one puts you out of commission.
Invest in tools that will help build you an impenetrable defense. Applicant tracking, compliance tracking, and safety training tracking are all crucial to scaring away the plaintiffs.
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