Truck accidents are not only devastating due to the potential for severe injuries and property damage, but also because of the complexities involved in the litigation process.
When an accident occurs involving a commercial truck, multiple parties can potentially be held liable, from the truck driver and the owner of the truck (whether that’s the driver themselves or their employer) to the company that loaded the truck and even the truck’s manufacturer. As victims seek compensation for their injuries and damages, one question often arises: how often do these claims actually go to trial?
An Indiana truck crash lawyer from Wagner Reese can help you understand why some parties may prefer to avoid the courtroom and what factors push a case to trial, so you choose the right option for your claim.
Trial Cases are Uncommon
While there are no official statistics on how often truck crash cases in particular go to trial, there is well-cited research on tort claims in general.
The most comprehensive study from the Department of Justice indicates that trial verdicts only account for around 3% of all tort cases in the U.S. The study also found that about three-fourths of cases were disposed in an agreed-upon settlement or voluntary dismissal.
Why Might You Take a Truck Crash Case to Court?
Despite the small number of claims that make it to court, there may be reasons to enter into litigation for your case. Filing a lawsuit for your truck accident case could be the best option if there is:
- Disputed liability: There’s a disagreement over who’s at fault for the accident, requiring both parties to present evidence to prove or mitigate liability.
- Severe injuries or damages: You’ve sustained substantial injuries or extensive property damage that require fair compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation, assistive devices, and emotional distress or pain and suffering.
- Inadequate settlement offers: The insurance company’s offer fails to address your damages, and a trial could lead to a better outcome.
- Complex legal issues: Your case involves intricate legal matters like multiple parties or regulatory violations.
- Defendant’s uncooperative behavior: The other party or their insurer is uncooperative, negotiating in bad faith, or behaving unfairly.
Why Most Claims Don’t Make It to Litigation
There are several reasons why most big truck accident claims do not lead to litigation in the courtroom, including:
- Complexity of liability: Truck crash cases often implicate multiple parties, such as drivers, trucking companies, and commercial vehicle manufacturers. Negotiated settlements provide a streamlined way to allocate responsibility.
- Uncertainty of outcome: Trials are unpredictable, and parties may opt for settlements to mitigate the risks of an unfavorable verdict.
- Insurance considerations: Insurance companies frequently prefer settlements as they can control costs and avoid the potential for larger payouts in trial verdicts.
The Pros and Cons of Going to Trial
Navigating the aftermath of a truck accident is complex, and you must decide whether to take your claim to trial or settle out of court. While litigation offers potential benefits, weighing the pros and cons is important.
An experienced attorney at Wagner Reese can guide you through this process. We can work with you to assess the benefits and potential pitfalls of taking your claim to trial so you can make a choice that aligns with your goals.
Advantages of a Trial-based Lawsuit:
- Higher compensation: Trials provide the opportunity to seek higher compensation than what might be offered through a settlement. Often swayed by the compelling presentation of evidence, juries might award a larger amount to cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
- Establishing liability: The courtroom environment of a trial allows for a more comprehensive presentation of evidence, enabling a more convincing establishment of liability. This can be crucial in cases where fault is disputed, ensuring that the responsible party is held accountable for their actions.
- Accountability: Going to trial can hold negligent parties more visibly accountable for their actions. The public nature of trial proceedings and the potential for media coverage can create a lasting impact, serving as a deterrent and emphasizing the real-life consequences of reckless behavior.
Disadvantages of Going to Trial:
- Timeframe: Trials typically take longer to conclude compared to settlements. The legal process can extend over months or even years, delaying the receipt of compensation. This can worsen your financial and emotional stress and affect your ability to cope with medical bills and other expenses.
- Increased risk: Going to trial involves risks that might not be present in settlements. While settlements provide a guaranteed amount of compensation, a trial verdict might result in no compensation, leaving you without the financial support you need for recovery. Trial costs, including legal and court expenses, can add to the financial strain.
Get Compensation for Your Truck Accident Injuries
Working with an Indiana truck crash lawyer at Wagner Reese ensures you understand your rights and the potential impact of pursuing a trial on your final compensation. We are skilled in handling trial litigation and truck accident insurance claims and will represent your interests no matter which legal path you choose, in or out of court.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and determine your next legal action.