Commercial truck accidents can result in serious injuries, so California victims will want to know what their options are when seeking compensation. They can either have their case litigated in civil court or opt for a settlement out of court. There are pros and cons to an informal settlement.
One major advantage is that settlements save victims the time and money associated with a prolonged trial. Using an alternative dispute resolution method like negotiations, mediation, or arbitration, victims can speak candidly with the trucking company's representatives about who should be held responsible and how much should be paid out. They may even find the other side to be less defensive and more willing to reach an amicable agreement.
With ADR, neither side has to admit to any fault. However, victims will be prevented from publicly holding the other party liable for negligence or recklessness. If victims agree to binding arbitration, they cannot pursue litigation at the same time, nor can they pursue further legal claims connected to the accident.
Settlements are taxed, though the rate differs based on whether they are paid out in a lump sum or in structured payments. The amount is generally lower than what could be achieved through litigation.
Before deciding which way to proceed, victims can consult with a lawyer who focuses on truck accident injury cases. Lawyers usually offer free case evaluations where they determine if the claim is a valid one. Upon retaining the lawyer, the victim can leave the preparation of the case to him or her. Before proceeding to ADR, the lawyer can bring in a team of investigators to find proof of the trucker's wrongdoing, which could include police reports, eyewitness testimony, and the work log.