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Settling truck accident cases out of court

California residents who suffer injuries in accidents caused by negligent truck drivers or poorly maintained semi-tractor trailers often choose to settle their civil claims at the negotiating table rather than in a courtroom. Reaching an out-of-court settlement allows plaintiffs to avoid possibly protracted and expensive litigation that provides no guarantee of a successful outcome. However, the damages awarded by juries are sometimes far higher than the sums offered by defendants during settlement discussions.

The civil courts in California and many other states are heavily burdened, and judges may refuse to hear cases where the facts are clear, the law is unambiguous and the parties involved have not made an effort to resolve their differences amicably. When traditional negotiations fail to yield the desired outcome, alternative approaches, such as arbitration and mediation, may be pursued.

While both of these approaches to dispute resolution involve an unbiased third party and are designed to encourage open communication and avoid conflict, arbitration and mediation have one key difference. Litigating parties may choose to ignore the advice of mediators and take their disputes to court, but arbitrators often make binding decisions that must be followed even if a judge may have decided the case differently. In addition to possibly receiving less compensation than would have been awarded by a jury, plaintiffs who settle their claims will generally be required to drop any further legal action and abide by the terms of nondisclosure and privacy clauses.

The defendants in truck accident lawsuits are often insurance or logistics companies familiar with the costs associated with pursuing civil litigation, and they may submit low settlement offers with threats to draw out court proceedings and drain resources. Experienced personal injury attorneys could respond to such tactics by offering to work on a contingency basis. This means that their clients pay no legal fees unless a verdict is obtained or a settlement is reached.

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