Legal fees can mount quickly when civil cases are decided in California courts. That’s why litigants generally make at least some effort to settle their differences before turning matters over to a jury. While court cases are decided based on evidence and the law, settlement negotiations generally favor those with no urgent need to bring matters to a swift resolution. This means that a truck accident victim who settles their lawsuit may receive far less than they would from a successful jury award.
While plaintiffs are not obligated to accept or even consider settlement offers, judges may refuse to allow cases to proceed to court when efforts have been pursued less than vigorously. However, judges understand that finding some sort of common ground can be difficult when accident victims face wealthy insurance and logistics companies. If traditional negotiations are unsuccessful, alternative forms of dispute resolution are available.
For example, arbitration and mediation are potential options. Both approaches encourage communication and ask litigants to see things from one another’s perspective, but arbitration is often binding and the decisions of arbitrators are rarely challenged successfully in court. While plaintiffs who settle civil lawsuits receive compensation more quickly and eliminate risk, they also allow defendants to escape being held publicly responsible for their negligent actions.
Many personal injury attorneys offer to work on a contingency basis when the facts in a case are clear and their clients are worried about the possible costs of a protracted court battle. This means that truck accident victims will not be presented with a bill unless the case is settled or won. This kind of arrangement also prevents plaintiffs from being forced into settling by defendants who threaten to delay proceedings at every opportunity.