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The nature of truck accident settlements

Civil law in California grants the victims of truck accidents the right to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, going through the civil court can cost victims a considerable amount of time and money, which is why many try instead to settle out of court. In most cases, trucking companies are willing to go this route too, which means that there is a greater chance for an amicable agreement.

Out-of-court settlements are achieved through alternative dispute resolution methods, the most widely used being negotiations, mediation and arbitration. This creates a confidential environment where both sides can candidly state their case without admitting to any fault. Trucking companies can be less defensive when hearing victims. Negotiations and mediation are non-binding, so victims can pursue litigation at the same time.

Arbitration can lead to a binding agreement, which waives the victim's right to a trial for the same claim. With all settlements, binding and non-binding, the victim waives the right to pursue further legal claims related to the accident or the injuries. Another disadvantage to settlements is that their amount is typically much lower than what victims might achieve if they succeed with litigation.

Since truck accident injuries can require extensive medical care, victims may want to get the maximum amount of compensation possible. They might talk with a personal injury lawyer about the pros and cons of litigating and settling out of court, and the lawyer may even be able to estimate a potential settlement after assessing the claim. Lawyers in the personal injury field often have in-house teams of investigators who may look for proof of the trucker's negligence or recklessness; this can include everything from work logs and police reports to eyewitness testimony and physical evidence found at the crash site.

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