In West Virginia, as in every other state, the victim of a truck accident can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver, or more specifically the company that hired the driver. The litigation process is often prolonged and costly, however, which is why many victims instead try for a settlement out of court. This can be done through alternative dispute resolution methods like negotiations, mediation and arbitration.
Not only does ADR save time and money, but it also allows for a confidential environment where amicable agreements are possible. Both sides can be more candid and less defensive with each other as they present their views of the case. Furthermore, neither side will be forced into making any admissions of fault. While arbitration is a binding process that takes the place of litigation, mediation and negotiations are both non-binding and can occur at the same time that a case is going through civil court.
However, the amount paid in an out-of-court settlement will be lower than what a victim would receive through litigation. Another disadvantage is that once a victim receives their settlement, they cannot file further claims related to the accident. This is a crucial factor since some accidents produce delayed symptoms. In addition, victims will waive their right to publicly hold the defendant liable after the settlement agreement.
By partnering with a lawyer who focuses on truck collision cases, a victim could better decide whether they want to litigate or try for an informal settlement. A lawyer might also discuss the pros and cons of each ADR method.