In the wake of a commercial truck accident, the victim may hold the trucking company liable for injuries, vehicle damage, pain and suffering, and more. There are several ways to go about doing this, though. The victim could go through a prolonged trial in civil court, or he or she could consider settling out of court. Under civil law in Michigan, victims can strive for an informal settlement through various methods of alternative dispute resolution.
These methods include negotiations, mediation, and arbitration. ADR can prove beneficial for both parties since it creates a confidential environment and encourages a candid approach to discussions about the accident. Victims may find the trucking company’s representatives to be less defensive and more open to hearing them out, and neither of them will be required to make admissions of fault.
ADR can result in either a binding or non-binding agreement. In the former case, victims are prevented from pursuing a trial for the same claim, while in the latter, victims can litigate at the same time as they pursue negotiations or arbitration. Victims who choose to settle out of court must also waive their right to pursue further legal claims related to the accident, and they cannot publicly hold the other party liable. Another disadvantage is that victims receive less in a settlement than through litigation.
Choosing between litigating and settling out of court is a consideration that may benefit from expert legal advice. A lawyer who focuses on commercial vehicle accident might also bring in investigators and other experts to strengthen the case. This team may, for example, bring together the police reports, check the trucker’s work log for hours-of-service violations (and thus, possible proof of truck driver fatigue), and find evidence from the crash site. The lawyer may then handle all negotiations or mediation.