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.
Pat Maloney, Jr. is a skilled San Antonio personal injury lawyer who has acted as lead counsel and co-counsel in many multi-million dollar verdicts throughout Texas. Pat Maloney represents people injured in car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and more. He is well known for his expertise in representing victims of serious personal injuries and has participated as a lecturer in the field of personal injury litigation. He has been named as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” Reference Book every year for the last five years.