How truck accident victims achieve a settlement

Truck accident victims in Illinois who know that they were not at fault can file for compensation with the other side. However, going through with a personal injury lawsuit can take a substantial amount of time and money, so victims may consider opting for an informal settlement. This is where both parties settle out of court without publicly holding anyone liable for negligence or recklessness.

Settlements are usually achieved through one of three ways: mediation, negotiation or arbitration. These are known as methods of alternative dispute resolution, or ADR. One of the advantages of ADR is that it promotes a confidential environment where both sides can speak candidly and not defensively about who is responsible and how much should be paid out. The trucking company may be more willing to reach an amicable agreement with ADR.

There is a downside, however. The settlement will probably be much lower than what could be achieved through litigation. In binding agreements, such as those reached through arbitration, victims cannot go to trial for the same claim; in non-binding methods like mediation and negotiation, victims can litigate. With all ADR methods, victims cannot publicly hold the other side liable and cannot pursue further legal claims.

A lawyer familiar with ADR may act as the negotiator, mediator, or arbitrator. An out-of-court settlement may still be able to cover medical expenses, disability benefits, lost wages and more. Victims may want to get the advice and guidance of a personal injury lawyer before filing to evaluate the claim, factor in any contributory negligence and estimate a fair settlement.

A lawyer may be able to strengthen the case with the help of accident investigators, photographers and other experts. This in-house team might bring together the police reports, reconstruct the accident, study the trucker's work log for violations of hours-of-service regulations and more.

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