In their effort to be compensated, victims of commercial truck accidents can do one of two things under the civil laws of New Jersey: They can opt for litigation, or they can get the other side to settle out of court. Informal settlements come with several advantages as victims will be able to save time and money that would have otherwise gone toward a prolonged trial.
Victims can choose between negotiations, mediation, arbitration and other methods of alternative dispute resolution when preparing to settle out of court. Whichever method is used, it could allow the trucking company's representatives to be less defensive and more willing to hear the victim's side. Neither side admits to any fault, and the proceedings are strictly confidential.
Trucking companies also like the fact that settlements waive the victim's ability to publicly hold the other side liable for negligence or recklessness. Victims must remember, too, that if the settlement is binding, they cannot pursue litigation for the same accident and injuries. Another disadvantage to settlements is that they typically amount to much less than what might be awarded after a successful lawsuit. Settlements are taxed although the rate differs between lump-sum and structured settlements.
It may be a good idea for victims of truck collisions to weigh their options with a lawyer. Legal professionals may be able to hire investigators and other experts to find proof of the trucker's negligence, which could include everything from the work log to any physical evidence found at the crash site.
Lawyers may also handle negotiations or act as the mediator who provides neutral third-party advice. Mediation and negotiations are non-binding, so victims may be able to pursue their claim in court at the same time if they choose one or the other.