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To settle or not to settle

If you've been injured in an accident involving a large truck, there is a likelihood that the liable parties will seek to settle your personal injury claim out of court. Settling out of court in a personal injury case has both advantages and potential disadvantages, and should be approached soberly.

Of course, as with any legal matter, it is advisable to enter into settlement negotiations with the help of an experienced attorney who will help you understand the nuances of your experience and the scope of what you may be entitled to receive as compensation for your losses.

Seeking a settlement outside of a court is a good way that both parties' needs can be satisfied without incurring excessive legal fees. In comparison to a traditional legal battle through the court system, settling out of court can be done for pennies on the dollar. In general, there are three kinds of negotiation scenarios that may be employed to reach a settlement — mediation, negotiation, and arbitration. In broad strokes, mediation and negotiation are both non-binding methods of reaching a settlement agreement, while arbitration is considered a legally binding process similar to a court trial. Settling out of court is also very attractive to many liable parties because it enables them to resolve personal injury claims without legally admitting fault in a case.

Settling out of court does feature some disadvantages for the claimant that must be taken into account. Settling generally entails that the person bringing the injury claim must agree to not discuss the matter to the press, and they must also give up the right to pursue further legal action through the courts. It is also possible that a settlement will be significantly less than an award from a trial might be. Furthermore, the money won in a settlement may be paid out is few different ways, which must be planned for carefully — different forms of settlement are taxed differently and may lead to a significant tax burden.

If you have been injured in an accident involving a truck, you should consider enlisting the help of an experienced attorney who can guide you through your options and ensure that your rights remain protected.

Source: findlaw, "Trucking Accident Settlements: What to Expect," accessed Jan. 20, 2017

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