Traveling on Montana’s highways, whether it is on your daily commute or a vacation road trip, means that sooner or later you will be travelling alongside a semi-truck. This is not always a safe endeavor. A truck driver may be fatigued or improperly trained in handling their vehicle. They may be incentivized by their employer to drive as fast as possible, in order to make more deliveries. They may even be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Any of these situations can lead to a catastrophic collision that injures an innocent motorist.
When this happens, the victim of the truck accident may want to file a lawsuit. However, not all lawsuits wind up in court before a judge and jury. Sometimes the parties are able to reach a settlement out-of-court.
There are some advantages to settling a personal injury claim. First of all, doing so could save on expenses associated with going to trial, and can end the process more quickly than it would take should the case be litigated in court. In addition, when using some form of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, neither side need admit to fault and the matter can be kept private. Each side is able to be more rational when making a decision, since the situation is no longer adversarial. In fact, each side may even be amicable toward one another, since they share the same goal of settling the matter out-of-court.
That being said, there are some disadvantages to settling a personal injury claim. First of all, once a settlement is reached, the victim can no longer take any legal action with regards to the semi-truck accident. In addition, it is possible that the amount awarded to the victim in the settlement may be lower than that they might receive should they have litigated the matter and won their case. Finally, if the parties reach a settlement out-of-court, the matter will not go public with a verdict that holds the responsible parties publicly accountable for their actions.
In the end, deciding whether to settle a truck accident claim out of court deserves careful thought. Even if a case is not litigated, it can still be helpful for the victim to retain an attorney from the get-go, who can advocate for the victim both in and out of court, as well as help the victim understand their options.
Source: FindLaw, “Trucking Accident Settlements: What to Expect,” Accessed May 8, 2017