since the plaintiff won its safe to say in a court of law it was determined challenger was in the wrong here
No, the decision on who was in the wrong was complete - only a number needed to be decided upon. A jury made the decision to award the plaintiff that much money. A jury made up of usually 12 people of all walks of life randomly selected who may have little to no financial background, little or no knowledge of trucking - heck some may not even have a license to drive. The jurors come up with a decision based on the plaintiff lawyer demanding <enter some exorbitant, irrelevant number here
> and the defense lawyer saying we offer <some large number but only a fraction of the number above
>. The jury then gets to see the plaintiff exhibit's abhorrent accident scene pictures that normally would not be shown but to get the above number is shown in dramatic fashion for effect followed by how the deceased could have made 10 time the above number in wages plus could have been the next president of the United States. It is then followed up by the defense who gets to show off their boring doctors reports, policies and procedures that prevent dangerous drivers and the total miles of accident-free driving for this driver and the whole fleet. Half the jury doesn't understand most of it and really doesn't care because they have those horrible pictures in their mind plucking their heart strings like a banjo. The jury then decides the number and pull 96 million out of the air. For sure that number should compensate the loss of life. They basically say that two people died and they are each worth 48million based on this courts display of the 'facts'.
I over exaggerate the scenario above, but I show it this way to make a point. Challenger knew that they were culpable to a certain amount and fully expected to pay something, but the reality is that this court case outlines any and all possibilities of drivers that that may not be fit to drive. This may be happening to thousands of drivers rolling down the road at this very moment. Thousands of drivers who put on a combined millions of miles accident-free. Drivers whose employers may have no idea about their issue whether it be medical or just self-induced. Carriers who can pull tooth and fingernail to get some of this information but are stonewalled because of privacy. Challenger was just the unfortunate company whose marginally deficient driver had a horrible accident. It could have been any other carrier and we would not have heard a peep out of it.
My point of view?? Courts should halt using a jury to make this decision. It should be left to actuaries who can come up with a number that everyone can work with. Juries decide by the show that is put on, the actuaries use science and math to determine the likelihood that this was an unfortunate, one in a million, accident or was it inevitable for this carrier.