That would depend on your specific situation, value of your case, and personal goals. Learn more below about the pros and cons of bringing your truck accident case to court.
A trial involves attorneys, witnesses, testimonies, a judge, and a jury. Both sides make their arguments and present evidence before the court and a jury will decide the final outcome of the case and what amount of monetary damages, if any, should be awarded.
In truth, most accidents involving any type of vehicle — car accidents, motorcycle accidents, etc. — typically settle out of court. There are certain advantages to doing so usually having to do with both parties wanting to avoid a potentially drawn-out process which can become expensive.
However, truck accident cases are very different from your typical fender bender, to say the least. These cases tend to be more complex because of vast amounts of federal, state, and insurance regulations at play. For example, even the seemingly simple detail of determining who is at fault can be difficult to establish because there are often more than one guilty parties, such as the driver, trucking company, or a third-party manufacturer.
Furthermore, the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks contribute to these accidents resulting in severe property damage and catastrophic injuries that can be lifelong. This means that the settlements should be sufficient enough to cover the damages which can reach up to $500,000 or more. Trucking companies go on the defensive immediately in order to pay as little of these large amounts as possible.
While these cases have more difficult issues to resolve, it doesn’t mean settlement isn’t impossible though, but the following situations could lead a truck accident claim to proceed to court:
- Confusion on who should be held liable
- Trucking company placing the blame on you in an attempt to pay a smaller amount
- The insurance company refusing to budge on paying what’s fair, despite an attorney fighting
Now that you know some of the reasons for how truck accident cases progress to the court, you’ll want to know WHY it’s a good idea to do so or not.
Pros of Taking Your Truck Accident Case to Court
- Higher settlement – A jury of your peers may side with you over the large trucking companies, meaning you could potentially be awarded more damages than you would have received in initial settlement negotiations.
- Compensation for non-economic damages– In many cases, insurance companies only pay for bodily injuries and medical costs, but neglect to pay what’s fair in terms of mental and emotional trauma. At a trial, your attorney can effectively speak about why your damages reach beyond just economic damages but can also include things like pain and suffering, post traumatic stress disorder, and more.
- A public platform – In a settlement, the trucking company never has to admit any wrongdoing. By going public with a trial, you could potentially help protect others from the negligence of the trucking company in the future.
- Sense of closure – Trials can be cathartic for people who just want to be heard. There is often a greater sense of closure and a feeling that justice has been served.
Cons of Taking Your Truck Accident Case to Trial
- No guarantee of winning – Going to trial comes with the risk of walking away with $0 in recovery. You never know how a jury is going to decide a case, which means BOTH parties lose all control over the outcome. Settlements are more predictable in this way.
- Longer process – Trials can often be drawn-out to one year or more and can be very time-consuming.
- More expensive – Because of the timeline of trials, it can get expensive with fees piling up for court costs, litigation expenses, and hiring experts. Even if you end up with a larger reward, some of that could go to these expenses.
- Lack of privacy – Because trials are public record, you will be unable to keep the details of your injury private.
Truck Accident Lawyer | The Hayden Law Firm
After reading the pros and cons and weighing your options, get in touch with a personal injury lawyer at The Hayden Law Firm. We can assess your case and let you know your odds of achieving a successful settlement vs. going to court. We listen to you and want to help you get what you need to recover properly.