Understanding the Impact of Nuclear Verdicts on the Trucking Industry

A nuclear verdict is a large verdict awarded to the plaintiff in a trial, these verdicts can be in excess of $10 million dollars. In this study, case data was analyzed and industry stakeholders were interviewed to determine the impacts of nuclear verdicts on the trucking industry. Statistical analysis of litigation data from cases between 2006 and 2019 shows that verdicts over $1 million have increased dramatically. The number of cases with verdicts over $1 million from 2005 to 2011 was 79. This number increased to 265 cases during 2012 to 2019, a 235% increase. The report also discusses crash characteristics, such as injuries sustained, and litigation factors, such as presence of expert witnesses, that impact verdict sizes. Data presented includes average verdict for spinal injuries, average damages based on crash type, number of deaths by verdict size, and rear-end crashes and mean verdict size. Using regression analysis, the authors find that the number of children injured or killed in a crash is the largest factor in verdict size. The second half of the report focuses on information gathered through interviews and surveys with subject matter experts. Topics include: motor carrier pre-crash action, pre-trial preparation, litigation strategies, unfavorable practices, mediation and settlements, litigation financing, and litigation impacts of nuclear verdicts on safety, stakeholder costs, and economic costs. The report concludes with a comparative industry analysis of the aviation industry, medical industry, and nuclear power industry to identify tactics that the trucking industry could apply to mitigate large settlements.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Glossary; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 82p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01744504
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 23 2020 10:02AM