After you’ve been injured or have lost a loved one due to the negligence of a truck driver who failed to meet their standard of care or uphold their FMCSA standards on the road, you could be entitled to compensation.
Personal injury lawsuits such as a trucking-related motor vehicle accidents are usually filed in a civil court of law and on your behalf, your attorney will seek what’s known as “damages” to compensate you for your pain and suffering.
Experienced attorneys know it’s not always about a lawsuit
Most experienced attorneys prefer a different route to obtaining compensation on your behalf: settlement. Settlements are the time effective and cost-efficient way of assisting both parties (the “plaintiff” and the “defendant”) in reaching an agreement that is satisfactory to both sides and keeps the lawsuit from going to trial.
Alternative dispute resolution as a time saving, cost-effective alternative to the courtroom
A settlement can be reached when both parties counsel come to an agreement outside of a courtroom. Oftentimes, settlements are agreed upon using alternative dispute resolution or “ADR”.
Methods of “ADR” normally called upon are:
Alternative dispute resolution often replaces the need for a judge and jury
Both mediation and negotiation are not binding methods of reaching a settlement. However, arbitration is a legally binding form of alternative dispute resolution and replaces the need for a civil trial.
Usually, trucking-related accident cases are resolved through one or more methods of alternative dispute resolution in an effort to reach a satisfactory settlement. The process can be applied even if the case is awaiting litigation in court and can often be solved before the trial date.
Settlement can provide the most benefit to the client
Litigators being able to reach an agreement on behalf of their clients is ideal for everyone involved. The money saved, as well as the time, is often something that appeals to the client and attorney alike.
Using ADR methods, attorneys for both parties are able to discuss the facts of the accident in a clear cut, straightforward manner and state their opposing opinions on the damages in an environment that is less emotionally charged than a courtroom.
Using alternative dispute resolution, either attorney is also able to regulate how much of their legal stance is provided to the opposing party on behalf of their client. Using a mediator or an arbitrator ensures receiving valuable, unbiased insight from a neutral third party that can make reasonable suggestions in settlement negotiations.
A board certified civil attorney should have your best interest at heart––and all the facts
In a great many cases settlement is preferred. However, your attorney will advise you of what goes into reaching a settlement and what that means for you after your case has settled. Some of the things your attorney may advise you on are:
- There are instances where you must agree to no longer pursue further legal against the defendant
- Settling means the plaintiff relinquishes the right to hold the defendant liable for their negligence in front of a judge and jury at a later date
- You forfeit your right to a trial once a settlement is reached
Two types of settlement: which one is right for you?
We’ve all seen the TV commercials, but there is real truth behind the dancing, singing men and women talking about “structured” and “lump-sum” settlements that often gets lost in the song and dance.
The important points to note about these two basic types of settlements available to you are:
- Lump-sum settlement: a settlement that is paid all at once; at the conclusion of mediation, arbitration, or negotiation, your attorney will have come to an agreement with the opposing party and the amount of compensation that’s been agreed to will be paid to you in one large payment
- Structured settlement: you and attorney may confer and then agree that receiving money paid in regular installments over a period of time is what’s best for you.
The last thing to note is that settlements are subject to being taxed according to how they are classified. The choice you make with your attorney can affect the end result of the money you walk away with after taxes.