If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, settlement may be the last thing on your mind—at first. You have injuries to take care of, a car to replace, and a job to worry about keeping while you’re laid up. As soon as you’re able, however, it’s a good idea to consider your options for receiving financial compensation, either by going to court or agreeing to settle out of court.
What exactly is a settlement?
A settlement is an alternative to pursuing a formal trial in civil court, but can be no less legally binding, depending on which type you choose:
- Arbitration (or “binding” arbitration) carries the weight of a court trial but is usually less expensive, quicker, and confidential. The downside? There is no option to appeal if you aren’t happy with the result.
- Mediation is a form of negotiation in which an impartial third party helps keep both parties on track, ensures everyone understands what’s taking place, and guides the parties toward a resolution without actually making the decision for them.
Why pursue a truck accident settlement rather than a trial?
The process of reaching a settlement is seen as less confrontational than a court trial. In a more relaxed atmosphere, both parties in a truck accident settlement can focus on reaching a mutual agreement rather than proving who’s right and who’s wrong. When managed by a neutral person with previous truck accident settlement experience, both parties can feel they are being heard in a fair and open manner.
On the other hand . . .
- The victim in a truck accident settlement must usually agree that once an agreement is reached, he or she relinquishes the right to further litigation.
- The amount of money the plaintiff receives may be less than the amount received in a formal court trial.
What are your compensation options?
Once a settlement is reached, there are two ways plaintiffs receive compensation:
- Structured—paid out gradually over a period of time in scheduled payments.
- Lump-sum—the plaintiff receives the entire, agreed-upon amount at once.
Many factors must be considered before you choose the method of compensation, not the least of which is how much of a bite taxes will take before the funds get to where they’re needed—your bank account.