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October 28, 2022

Protection from nuclear verdicts: Interview with Don Osterberg

The trucking industry has seen a rise in what many call “nuclear verdicts,” a post-crash litigation settlement of at least $10 million, but we’ve seen as high as $1 billion. What is causing this increase and how can fleets avoid them?

We reached out to Safety Advisor Don Osterberg to discuss this major concern among fleets – one where fleet safety, operating costs, and the law all intersect.

In the video below, we discuss the meaning of “nuclear verdict” and related legal concepts such as “Reptilian Theory” and “standards of care.”

Don describes some effective techniques for fleets to defend themselves from such a legal scenario. We address the impact a nuclear judgment can have on a fleet, especially when the company may not have enough insurance to cover it. 

Other good questions we cover include: Can drivers be considered individually responsible? If a fleet follows all FMCSA regulations, does that mean it is meeting “standard of care” requirements? What techniques or technologies have fleets been able to leverage to protect themselves from these nuclear verdicts?

Bad things can (and do) happen to good carriers. They need to be vigilant about their reputation and ensuring their ability to summarize the proactive measures that they take in order to avoid being accused of being either indifferent or incompetent.

Don Osterberg, Safety Advisor

Find more information on this important topic from Don Osterberg by clicking here.