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Are Your Drivers Threatening the Survival of Your Business?
All organizations with vehicle operations, including those whose employees operate their own personal vehicles for business, are at risk for devastating negligent entrustment lawsuits. Learn how to protect your company.

Mike Danford & Kevin Warczyglowa, PMA Companies Risk Control Specialists   |  October 2, 2017

One of the greatest risks for any organization with commercial automobiles is negligent entrustment cases, defined as civil actions that hold employers liable because they are considered negligent in “entrusting” an employee or contracted driver with a vehicle that injured a third party. These cases can threaten the very survival of an organization.

Oftentimes, it’s mistakenly assumed that these risks apply only to those who operate large fleets of tractor trailers. In reality, any employer who operates vehicles for business purposes, including personal vehicles used by employees, are at risk for these civil actions. In fact, in Michigan’s largest-ever vehicle negligence verdict, the driver was in a pickup truck.

Based on the severity of the negligent conduct and if the evidence supports it, a judge can charge a jury that they are free not only to consider an award of compensatory damages, but also punitive damages (an additional award of damages to deter future similar conduct by the negligent parties). In fact, punitive damages are frequently requested by injured parties in cases where negligent entrustment is alleged. Commercial risks are favored targets for punitive requests in lawsuits, thus placing an additional burden on the employers.

In reality, any employer who operates vehicles for business purposes, including personal vehicles used by employees, are at risk for these civil actions.
But what triggers these large verdicts? In this white paper, we’ll answer that question and examine best practices for lowering your risk and improving your overall transportation safety program.

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About the Author

Mike Danford is a Risk Control Specialist at PMA Companies and an expert in transportation risk control, serving as the technical specialist for PMA’s Transportation Team. He has more than 35 years of risk control experience, working with clients in diverse industries, including manufacturing, transportation and distribution, healthcare, education, timber, public entities, and agri-business.

Kevin Warczyglowa is a Risk Control Specialist at PMA Companies and leader of PMA’s Transportation Team that specializes in consulting and providing services to PMA’s commercial auto clients. He has over 15 years of risk control experience, including extensive commercial auto (fleet safety) risk management knowledge and experience. He works closely with PMA risk control management to develop service capabilities and best practices (driver selection, driver training/education, and overall fleet safety services).