Trucking Accident Settlements: What to Expect
If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Injury lawsuits are often filed in civil court to seek a legal judgment of damages. However, at any time before or during litigation the parties can seek to resolve their dispute through an informal settlement. Settlements often help the parties to a lawsuit save time and money. Below, you’ll find information on how trucking accident settlements work and the potential advantages and disadvantages of settling a claim.
Trucking Accident Settlements
A legal settlement is reached when the parties to litigation have reached an agreement outside of court. Settlements are often reached by using alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods such as arbitration, mediation, or negotiation. Negotiation and mediation are non-binding methods of reaching an agreement, while arbitration is a binding process that replaces a civil trial. In most cases, a claim for damages that resulted from a trucking accident can be resolved through ADR methods. Parties can undertake ADR even if their disagreement is simultaneously being litigated in court.
How Settlements Can Be Advantageous
Reaching a settlement through ADR is very attractive because it’s typically much cheaper and quicker than seeking resolution in court. ADR is also less adversarial than litigation because the parties are able to present their positions confidentially and there’s no admission of fault by either party. When parties are less defensive, they’re better able to calmly and rationally discuss contentious issues and are then more likely to reach an amicable settlement agreement.
In a trucking accident case, parties using ADR are able to speak with each other frankly about the facts of the accident, their position on damages, who they believe is liable, etc, and receive the objective opinion of a neutral third party. In some instances, parties can regulate how much of their legal position is revealed to the other parties, yet still receive the invaluable insights of a trained, neutral third party with experience in trucking accident matters.
Potential Downsides to Settlements
While in most cases reaching a settlement is preferred over the need to undergo protracted litigation, there are some disadvantages to settling a claim:
- The Plaintiff usually must agree to give up the legal right to pursue any further legal claim in connection with the trucking accident or injury.
- A binding settlement agreement precludes the right to a trial on the same claims.
- A settlement may be much less than what the plaintiff would have been awarded if successful in court.
- Settling out of court means the injured party forgoes the opportunity to publicly hold the defendants liable for their harmful actions or to receive a just verdict.
Types of Settlements
There are two major types of settlements - lump-sum and structured. A lump-sum settlement is paid all at once, while a structured settlement is paid in regular payments over a pre-determined period of time. Settlements are taxed according to their classification, so your choice of settlement can significantly affect the total amount of money you’ll receive after taxes.
Trucking Accident Settlements - Finding Legal Help
While reaching a settlement over a trucking accident dispute is generally preferred over long, expensive litigation, the process is still complicated. You may wish to contact a lawyer with experience handling trucking accident cases through ADR. Ask your lawyer to explain each ADR method, such as mediation, arbitration, or negotiation. He or she should be able to explain the pros and cons of each method in connection to the unique facts of your case.