Understanding Truck Accident Settlements
- April 27, 2015
- Truck Accidents
When someone is involved in a trucking accident, catastrophic injuries and extensive property damage are almost always a given. A truck accident settlement can help the victim get the compensation that they deserve without allowing the case to drag on for an extended amount of time. A legal settlement allows both parties to avoid the cost and time commitment of going to court. If parties can reach a settlement, it is usually beneficial for everyone involved, but there are a few drawbacks. A settlement can occur any time before trial, and it can even occur during trial. It just has to be settled before the finder of fact (the judge or the jury) reaches a final decision.
Forms of Settlements
Usually, your truck accident lawyer will negotiate a settlement on your behalf. However, there are also other methods of obtaining a settlement. For example, the parties may choose to use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) instead of using the traditional court system. ADR could be simple negotiation, or it could be mediation or arbitration as well.
Generally, mediation uses a neutral third party to help the disputing parties reach an agreement. This third party will often go back and forth between the parties and convey their wishes to one another until they can reach an agreement. Mediation and negotiation are not binding on the parties. That means that even if they reach an agreement, it is not “set in stone” until the agreement is actually put into a contract form. Arbitration, on the other hand, is legally binding and it takes the place of a formal court proceeding. It is similar to mediation, but there is less “give and take.”
Two Most Common Types of Settlements
There are generally two types of settlements. The first is called a lump sum settlement. That means that the person who agrees to pay the other will basically just write them a check for the entire amount. The alternative is a structured settlement.
Structured settlements are paid over a period of time. They are usually regular payments of the same amount over a predetermined period. The form may have different tax implications. Check with your 18 wheeler accident attorney about the benefits and drawbacks of each for your individual tax situation.
Advantages and Disadvantages to Settlements
By far the greatest advantage to a settlement is that is saves virtually everyone involved both time and money. Victims are often eager to get their case settled because they have medical bills piling up that they need to address. It is also much less adversarial, which is appealing to those who do not like confrontation. If the idea of getting up in front of a judge to talk about the accident or the injuries involved terrifies you, then settling might be a better option. It might be particularly advantageous for those who will be emotionally unable to talk about the loss of a loved one, for example.
There are a few disadvantages of settling, of course. It is possible that the victim would have gotten more if they went to court to determine the case. In addition, a binding settlement agreement means that the individual is giving up their right to pursue the case in court, along with any other related claims.
If you are offered a settlement, your attorney will be able to tell you the specific advantages and disadvantages involved in your particular situation. Making an informed decision is very important in deciding whether to take a settlement offer. If you would like to learn more, or have a case you want to discuss, call 972-774-9800 today for a free case evaluation.