Pennsylvania residents who sue a negligent truck driver or trucking company after being harmed in an accident may be encouraged to settle out of court. These cases often involve catastrophic injuries, and litigation can get very expensive when significant amounts are at stake. Settling a case quickly eliminates risk, prevents litigation getting bogged down and avoids escalating legal fees, but it also involves accepting less than a jury would probably have awarded.
Litigation stemming from 18-wheeler accidents frequently involves insurance companies, and they usually have talented attorneys and experienced negotiators at their disposal. The settlement offers they make will usually reflect the strength of the plaintiff’s case, and the urge to reach an amicable agreement may be strong when the evidence is compelling. However, plaintiffs who are leaning toward a settlement should be aware that these offers may have strings attached. Non-disclosure clauses prevent defendants from discussing the case with others, and no fault provisions allow defendants to walk away without admitting any wrongdoing.
When litigants wish to discuss a settlement, they may decide to pursue alternative dispute resolution strategies like mediation. These formats avoid the public glare of litigation and allow differences to be aired in a less confrontational manner. Insurance companies may conduct settlement negotiations while cases are being argued in court, and non-binding talks can generally be broken off at any time.
Personal injury attorneys could be at a disadvantage during settlement negotiations if the evidence at their disposal is lacking. When eyewitness testimony is contradictory or vague, attorneys may canvass accident scenes for additional witnesses or security camera footage. Attorneys could also request the cellphone records of truck drivers who are suspected of driving while distracted or have their vehicles mechanically inspected for signs of lax maintenance or defects.