In their effort to receive compensation for injuries, truck accident victims can choose to pursue a lawsuit in civil court or to settle the case out of court. These two options are given under civil law in North Carolina, and they come with their advantages and disadvantages. There is no question, though, that settling out of court can save victims both time and money.
Settlements can be achieved in one of several ways, the most common being negotiations, mediation and arbitration. These fall under what’s called alternative dispute resolution. Many trucking companies willingly opt for ADR with the claimant because it creates a less contentious and more open, candid environment for discussing the situation. Neither side makes an admission of fault; in fact, the victim cannot publicly hold the defendant liable for negligence or recklessness once a settlement is achieved.
There is a difference between binding and non-binding agreements. In the former, victims cannot take the same claim to trial. In both cases, victims cannot pursue further legal claims connected to the accident and injuries. This means that if complications arise from the initial injury, for instance, victims cannot seek compensation for these medical expenses. Another drawback is that victims are usually granted much less in settlements than through litigation.
Victims may want to discuss their case with a lawyer who focuses on truck collision cases. Personal injury lawyers may evaluate claims to determine if they’re valid, factoring in any contributory negligence. Once they’re hired, they may utilize a team of investigators to search for evidence against the truck driver. For example, work logs might reveal a violation of hours-of-service guidelines, which may in turn point to drowsy driving. Lawyers familiar with ADR may be able to act as the neutral third party in negotiations.