On our Radar this month …

February 2024


Many of us in the transportation industry are familiar with the term “staged accident,” but do we really know the impact such accidents have had and continue to have on the transportation industry? Staged accidents are nothing new. In fact, California Highway Patrol was investigating staged accidents against commercial motor vehicles as far back as 1992.

So why has “staged accidents” been such a buzz phrase recently?

  • This has mostly been due to the recent Louisiana case charging twenty-eight individuals with intentionally staging accidents, two of whom were sentenced as recently as October 2023.
  • The increased size and number of lawsuit verdicts exceeding $1 million is another likely reason. According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), which released a study in June of 2020, since 2011, the number of awards exceeding $1M has increased by over 1,150%, and the number exceeding $10M has nearly doubled!
  • Additionally, the success of many “Billboard Lawyers” has put a target on trucking companies for staged accidents.

What’s the best way for a trucking company to protect itself?

Uphold a consistent Hiring and Training strategy

  • There are many Learning Management Systems (LMS) platforms that provide simple solutions to help train drivers.
    • C&F Risk Engineering can help find the best LMS solution for our insureds, including a subsidized option available for qualifying C&F customers.
  • Maintain and Inspect the fleet’s equipment with all required documentation
    • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a Motor Carrier Safety Planner available at no cost with detailed information for all FMCSA regulated topics.
    • Remember: Minimum compliance is the minimum expectation!
  • Invest in dash cameras to exonerate drivers and help combat fraudulent claims
    • In an ATRI Study released in April of 2023, experts estimated that roadway facing camera footage suggests truck drivers are not at fault in 64% of claims!
    • Per the report, “In-cab (driver facing) camera evidence thus has a similar impact on the claims process as it does on the litigation process. Both RFC (roadway facing) and DFC (driver facing) camera systems more often exonerate commercial truck drivers than prove negligence.”
  • Equip drivers with Accident Prevention Knowledge through Training
    • There are numerous safe driving and accident prevention resources available, some at no cost!
  • Remember, the best way to avoid a claim, litigation, or a nuclear verdict is to prevent the crash from occurring.
    • Note that preventing a crash and not being at-fault in a crash are not the same thing!
  •  Prepare drivers for Crash Scene Management
    •  Make sure drivers know who to notify, how to conduct themselves, what information to collect, and what to say (and of perhaps greater importance, what not to say).
    • Maintain a consistent post-accident procedure, which should include at a minimum gathering statements and evidence as soon as possible following the crash.
  • Finally, notify C&F of all potential auto liability claims!
    • Even if it’s a notice-only claim, C&F will work to gather information and be prepared to defend our insureds should a claim be brought by a third party.

Who are Crum & Forster’s Risk Engineers?  What do They do?

C&F’s Risk Engineers were Transportation industry professionals prior to joining the C&F Transportation team. Our Risk Engineers have experience in large company fleets (as large as 1200 power units) and small owner/operator fleets, as well as extensive experience with specialty fleets, state and federal trucking associations, hazardous material shipper operations, driver and company award programs, and other unique experiences (like testifying before the Texas legislator in opposition of a transportation-related bill).

C&F’s Risk Engineering Team works with existing and prospective insureds in a collaborative manner to help mitigate risk and enhance safety programs. C&F Risk Engineers can provide insight or refer services related to DOT compliance, telematics, fleet safety programs, driver coaching, and industry best practices. C&F Risk Engineers can provide practical recommendations for addressing areas of concern or provide additional data resources to help quantify an insured’s risk profile.

Please reach out to transportation.engineering@cfins.com to start a conversation with C&F’s Risk Engineering team!

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