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Is an informal settlement after a truck crash the option for you?

On Behalf of | May 7, 2017 | Blog, Firm News

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.

Settlement types

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.


FindLaw Network

Verdicts & Settlements

36-year-old laborer for landscaping company fractured wrist when fellow employee hit him with truck. Claimant received in excess of $30,000 in workers’ compensation benefits for total disability and medical expenses and settled with automobile insurance company for fellow employee for $95,000.

1989 workers’ compensation claim settled for $125,000. Claimant originally sustained a low back injury when she slipped and fell at local grocery store resulting in low back surgery in 1989. Several years later, claimant exacerbated her low back injury. Claim was reopened and settled with carrier for $125,000 in 2006.

47-year-old deli clerk sustained low back injuries at work for local supermarket. Carrier originally denied claim on the grounds that the injury was pre-existing. After formal workers’ compensation hearing carrier accepted claim and paid all total disability benefits and medical expenses in excess of $100,000. Case then settled for an additional $100,000 after injured person received a permanent disability rating.

34-year-old male roofer sustained multiple injuries to his shoulder, neck, back and hip when he fell from roof during work. Claimant was provided workers’ compensation benefits in excess of $100,000 and settled remaining claims for an additional $55,000.

40-year-old male working for cleaning company sustained neck and low back injuries when he fell on defective staircase while cleaning local museum. Claimant recovered over $95,000 in workers’ compensation benefits and resolved claim against museum for $85,000.

26-year-old laborer sustained fractured foot when a cast iron pipe was dropped on his foot. Employer and workers’ compensation carrier denied claim on basis that injured worker was an independent contractor. After a series of informal and formal workers’ compensation hearings, carrier conceded that claimant was an employee and settled case for $85,000.

24-year-old waitress sustained back injury while working at Outback Steak House. Workers’ compensation insurance company initially denied the claim. After a series of informal hearings, carrier accepted claim paying medical expenses and total disability benefits. In addition to those benefits paid, claim settled for an additional $75,000.

Delivery truck driver sustained right wrist fracture in rear-end motor vehicle accident while in the course of his employment. Claimant recovered in excess of $40,000 in workers’ compensation benefits for medical expenses and total disability benefits. Claimant settled case against at-fault driver for $105,000.

22-year-old male working as stocking clerk at “big box” retailer sustained herniated disc in low back. Workers’ compensation carrier refused to accept the claim. After formal workers’ compensation, hearing commissioner ordered carrier to pay over $35,000 in past total disability benefits and pay for surgery and all related medical expenses. Case settled for an additional $35,000 for a total recovery in excess of $100,000.

Rear-end collision on entrance ramp to Merritt Parkway resulting in 49-year-old woman sustaining mid-back injury. Case settled at mediation after filing suit for $300,000.

28-year-old passenger sustained multiple herniated discs in automobile accident in New York state. New York no-fault carrier paid for extended period of disability from work and medical expenses, including expenses for surgery. Case settled against driver of vehicle for $300,000 policy limits shortly after filing suit.

54-year-old man sustains shoulder injury when hit from behind by uninsured motorist on New Jersey Turnpike. Case settled for $135,000 prior to trial.

CT Transit bus driver sustained torn meniscus in collision with another vehicle. Claims made against at-fault driver, workers’ compensation carrier and client’s underinsured motorist policy. All claims settle for a recovery in excess of $100,000.

68-year-old woman sustained neck and back injuries in rear-end collision and required extended course physical therapy, but was not a surgical candidate. Case settled for $100,000 prior to filing suit.

34-year-old woman sustained concussion and neck and back injuries in hit-and-run accident on a New York highway. Claimant settled uninsured motorist claim for her $100,000 policy limits.

80-year-old woman sustained right foot fracture when her foot was run over in a parking lot. Case settled for at-fault driver’s policy limit of $100,000 prior to filing suit.

38-year-old nanny sustained right femur fracture when she fell down defective stairs in home of her employer’s neighbor. All medical expenses and lost wages reimbursed and case settled for an additional $150,000.

Claim against landlord for defective staircase in multi-family rental house. Claimant sustained a right femur fracture. Case settled for $125,000 prior to filing suit.

$95,000 judgment obtained against bar and nightclub for assault by one of its patrons against another patron.

47-year-old woman sustained a broken left wrist when she fell from porch stairs at house she was renting. Case settled for $95,000 shortly before trial.

26-year-old male bitten on leg by German shepherd. Claim against dog owner settled for $65,000 plus payment of all medical expenses.