A critical link in America’s supply chain is under attack. American trucking firms are facing rapid lawsuit inflation, with the average size of verdicts over $1 million against trucking firms increasing by 867 percent between 2010 and 2018. At the same time, between 2000 and 2020, the rate of fatal crashes involving a truck decreased from 2.23 to 1.47 per hundred million large truck miles traveled. In other words, even though trucking is getting safer, verdicts are getting bigger. And that’s a problem.

Over 72 percent of everything that gets shipped in America is carried by truck, and over 90 percent of trucking firms are small businesses. That means the rising tide of lawsuits against trucking firms is raising prices on most things that Americans buy, and it’s especially damaging for small business truckers who can’t afford the increased insurance costs and risk of litigation. 

ILR’s paper, which draws on original research and on statistics from the American Transportation Research Institute among other sources, describes empirically the harsh and worsening litigation landscape for trucking firms in the United States. The paper then offers solutions for legislators and courts to curb excessive litigation costs, while ensuring that injured plaintiffs have a path to just and reasonable recompense.


Prasad Sharma, Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary P.C.