Motorists who travel on Interstate 95 in the Stamford, Connecticut area typically share the road with multiple commercial trucks that expose them to significant crash risks. Passenger car vs. big rig accidents frequently result in catastrophic injuries — or worse — simply due to the difference in size and weight of the two vehicles. The financial losses suffered by injured victims or surviving families who had lost a loved one in a trucking accident can be astronomical, and civil lawsuits are often the way victims pursue recovery of damages.
Several parties may be deemed responsible for a commercial truck accident, and if you are a victim who is suffering the consequences of such a collision, your most appropriate step might be to seek the support and guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney. Your lawyer can assess the circumstances and explain your available options, one of which might be resolving the issue by way of an informal settlement.
When can you choose to seek an informal settlement option?
Before — and even during — litigation, you and the defendants may choose to seek resolution through an informal process. This could save all parties money and time. However, there are pros and cons to choosing an informal settlement over litigation, and being fully informed of each of these available options to you could be critical to obtaining the best outcome for your unfortunate situation.
What is ADR?
Parties can reach a legal settlement out of court, and the most successful method may be alternative dispute resolution. ADR utilizes methods such as negotiation, mediation and arbitration. The latter process is binding and can replace a civil trial, but if you choose mediation or negotiation, any agreements will be non-binding.
Advantages of informal settlements
A qualified, neutral third party acts as the facilitator of ADR sessions during which you and the defendants will have the opportunity to present your respective positions and opinions in a non-adversarial setting. Advisors believe the less defensive atmosphere of ADR discussions typically lead to significant savings in money and time and agreeable settlements.
Potential disadvantages of informal settlements
Even though an informal settlement could replace long, drawn-out and costly litigation, some disadvantages exist. You may have to waive your right to further legal claims linked to the trucking crash or any subsequent damages or injuries. Delayed symptoms associated with the accident might only become apparent after the signing of such a waiver. Also, a binding settlement reached through arbitration will preclude your right to resort to the civil court on the same claims.
There might be significant tax implications that could have an adverse impact on the settlement amount you receive. Payment could be either a one-time, lump-sum amount or a structured settlement, which occurs over a specified time in regular installments. Any tax implications will depend on your chosen method of payment.
The need for legal counsel
Even though you may want to settle and get on with your life, your best option might be to consult with a skilled personal injury lawyer before agreeing to enter any alternative dispute resolution methods. Your legal representative can explain the pros and cons of ADR in more detail, and be by your side through every step –whichever process you choose.
A skilled Connecticut attorney will likely also explain that although the process of civil litigation may be a bit more costly and take longer to conclude, a successful lawsuit could yield a more comprehensive monetary judgment than the amount produced by an informal settlement.