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Truck accident settlements: pros and cons

Truck accident claims can cover everything from medical expenses and vehicle repair costs to disability benefits and compensation for pain and suffering, so it's important for victims in Missouri to decide whether they should go through a civil trial or opt for an out-of-court settlement. While a civil trial can become a prolonged and costly affair, settling out of court can save victims time and money.

Some distinctions should be made between the various methods of settling out of court. Settlements can be achieved through negotiation, mediation and arbitration. These three methods are the most common forms of what's called alternative dispute resolution. These processes can including nonbinding or binding agreements. In the former, victims can still pursue litigation.

One of the advantages of ADR is that by creating a confidential environment, it allows both sides to be more candid with each other and less defensive as they discuss the accident and the amount that should be paid out. When the trucking company is less defensive, reaching an amicable agreement can be easier.

One disadvantage of alternative dispute resolution is that victims will receive less in a settlement than they might through a successful lawsuit. The settlement will also be taxed, though the rate differs with lump sum and structured settlements. Victims must additionally waive the right to pursue further legal claims or publicly hold the other party liable.

After recovering from a truck collision, victims can speak with a lawyer about how to move forward. If they choose ADR, they can discuss which method is the most suitable. An attorney can even act as the mediator, negotiator or arbitrator, providing neutral third-party advice where necessary. Before that happens, though, the lawyer could hire investigators to build up the case with evidence against the truck driver. This could include police reports, work logs and the testimony of eyewitnesses.

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