Pros and Cons of Out-of-Court Truck Accident Settlements
Crashes involving large commercial trucks and buses have become more frequent. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, injuries resulting from truck accidents shot up by 62 percent from 2010 to 2016, and the number of fatalities also rose during this period by 28 percent. The high medical bills and short- or long-term disabilities that truck accident victims must cope with often force them to seek compensation from the responsible parties. In these cases, a truck accident attorney is crucial.
Settlement Versus Trial Verdict
When the mistakes of truck drivers or trucking companies amount to negligence, you might use personal injury law to pursue financial damages for your expenses. A settlement arises from an agreement reached between the applicable parties outside of court. The agreement halts further court action and distributes funds to the injured person.
A trial verdict represents a courtroom decision that compels the defendant to pay damages. It is a formal legal judgment. After an accident, a truck accident lawyer could suggest strategies for securing compensation for your injuries.
Positive Aspects of Negotiating a Settlement
Settlement agreements emerge from alternative dispute resolution approaches such as mediation, negotiation, or arbitration. Speed is the main advantage of entering into these discussions. Dispute resolution might reduce tension between the opposing parties and promote reasonable compromises that allow a victim to collect a payout. You will still have the benefit of legal representation during these proceedings. Because the discussions take place outside of court, the parties often feel more comfortable speaking honestly about the situation. In contrast, truck accident litigation could stretch out for a long time in a court proceeding while you continue to deal with the financial burdens of the accident’s aftermath.
Negative Aspects of Settlements
Although avoiding a lengthy court case often appeals to both sides, you might wish to pursue a jury verdict instead of settling out of court. Your acceptance of a settlement will probably mean that:
- You give up the right to make further legal claims against the defendant regarding the accident.
- You will likely accept less money than you might win at trial.
- You will not be able to take the case to trial afterward.
- The opposing party does not admit to fault.
Taxation of Settlement Proceeds
A settlement can either be structured or paid in a lump sum. With a lump sum payment, you’ll receive the agreed-upon amount all at once. A structured settlement will involve multiple payments stretched across a specified period. Your tax liability will depend on the type of settlement you accept, and a lawyer can help you take this issue into account before making a deal.
Choosing Between Your Options
A case evaluation by a truck accident lawyer could inform you about the likelihood of proving liability in court. Your lawyer could also estimate how long a case might take to navigate the legal system.
The complexity of the case could influence your decision whether to go to court or open settlement negotiations. When an accident case appears to involve trucking company liability in addition to fault on the part of the driver, it might require thorough litigation. Potential parties that might have to pay damages include the:
- Truck driver
- Owner of truck
- Leasing company
- Company that loaded the cargo
- Manufacturer of defective parts
A lawyer will consider the severity of your injuries and extent of your expenses before endorsing a settlement offer. If you’ve lost the ability to work, seeking the potentially higher payout that might come from a trial verdict could be in your best interests.
Explore Your Options
Consulting with a truck accident lawyer at our firm could help you identify liability and insurance coverage that applies to your accident. When pursuing damages, we’ll work hard to improve your position by documenting evidence of negligence or violations of trucking regulations. You can call our office in New Brunswick, New Jersey, at (732) 247-3600, email Rebenack, Aronow & Mascolo, LLP – RAN Law at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our online contact form.