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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 a settlement. Settlements often help the parties to a lawsuit save time and money.
There are potential advantages and disadvantages of settling a claim. Below, you'll find information on how trucking accident settlements work.
Trucking Accident Settlements
A legal settlement is reached when the parties to litigation have reached an agreement prior to the entry of a judgment by a judge or jury. Settlements are often reached by using alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods. ADR methods include negotiation, mediation, or arbitration.
Negotiation and mediation are more informal than arbitration. Arbitrations can replace a civil trial. Any ADR method can become binding once there is a meeting of the minds between the parties and a signature. Arbitrations can be binding through a contract between the parties, state or federal law, or a judge's discretion. 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 being litigated in court. In fact, most courts will order the parties to mediation before trial in hopes the parties will come to an agreement. Coming to a settlement before trial saves judicial resources that would be exhausted by conducting a trial.
How Settlements Can Be Advantageous
Reaching a settlement through ADR is very attractive for many reasons. First, it is typically much cheaper and quicker than seeking a resolution in court. ADR is also less adversarial than litigation because parties are allowed confidentiality. There is no admission of fault by either party. When parties are less defensive, they are more likely to calmly and rationally discuss contentious issues. Under these circumstances, they are 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. The parties can discuss their position on damages and who they believe to be liable. In some instances, parties can regulate how much of their legal position is revealed to the other parties. Then, they will receive the objective opinion of a neutral third party (i.e., the mediator or arbitrator).
Potential Downsides to Settlements
While in most cases reaching a settlement is preferred, 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. However, the proceeds of a settlement directed toward personal injuries (such as medical bills/care) are not taxable.
You should consult a tax professional or attorney to discuss the tax implications involved in any settlement of your case.
Trucking Accident Settlements - Find Legal Help
Reaching a settlement over a trucking accident dispute is often preferred. Going to trial can be time-consuming, expensive, and complicated.
Before getting involved in settlement talks, it is a good idea to speak with a local car accident attorney. Your attorney can help discuss the ADR methods, weigh the pros and cons with you, and help guide you through the process of settling.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.