Most truck accident cases are resolved in an out-of-court settlement without ever having to go to trial. The benefit of a settlement is that a victim knows exactly what he or she will recover, instead of placing their fate in the hands of a jury. It is also much quicker than going through the litigation process.
If you sustained injuries in a truck wreck, you have the right to seek monetary damages. With the help of a qualified truck accident lawyer, you could decide the right path for you in settling your Western PA truck accident claim and in recovering the necessary damages.
Settlement Options in Western PA
If a case goes to a jury trial, that case has likely been going on for several years. The discovery process involves months, or even years, of exchanging information and documents, deposing witnesses, attending independent medical exams, obtaining expert reports, and recording expert depositions. A plaintiff may decide to settle his or her claim outside of court to shorten this process.
However, an individual might refuse to take a settlement offer and instead elect to go to trial any time the opposing insurance company is undervaluing the claim. If a defendant is simply not offering an amount of money that is commensurate with the value of the injuries, then a plaintiff may elect to go to trial.
It is ultimately the plaintiff’s decision whether a case is settled in out-of-court settlement or proceeds to trial. A lawyer experienced with truck accident cases in Western PA and Indiana, PA, specifically, could advise the plaintiff of the benefits and risks of any settlement offer so he or she may make an informed and intelligent decision on the best course of action.
Truck Accident Settlement Process
At an initial consultation with a truck wreck lawyer, an individual should bring as much information and documents as he or she has relating to the accident, including medical treatment records or the names of those providers and wage loss information. He or she should also bring information about the insurance companies, claim numbers, adjustor’s contact information, and any photographs of the injuries and the vehicles involved.
The settlement process in Western PA begins once the parties agree upon a certain amount of truck accident damages. A written document, called a release, is prepared that will state that the plaintiff is accepting the agreed-upon sum of money and, in exchange for that, agrees that the claim is being fully and finally resolved.
Once it is settled, the claim cannot be re-opened, and the plaintiff cannot later file any lawsuits or make any additional claims concerning the “Released” accident. Once the release is signed by the plaintiff, it is returned to the opposing insurance company, which would then have 30 days under the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure to issue the settlement check.
Calculating a Settlement
When calculating truck accident damages for the plaintiff, the attorney must account for all aspects of the case, including any wage loss, diminished earning capacity, past medical bills, future anticipated medical costs, and out of pocket expenses. Additionally, that value must account for intangible items such as the injury victim’s pain and suffering, and all of other non-economic damages.
If the injured person is partially negligent in causing the accident and if the case went to trial, a jury would assign fault to each party by percentage. The injured person’s recovery would be reduced by the portion that he or she is determined to have been at fault, so long as he or she is not more than 50 percent responsible. If the person bringing the claim is found to be more than 50 percent responsible for the collision, that person will not be entitled to a recovery regardless of the extent of his or her injuries.
How Legal Counsel Could Help with Settling a Truck Crash Case in Western PA
Once a claim is settled, a plaintiff cannot ask for more money, so it is important to make sure the settlement covers every element of the injury victim’s damages. An experienced truck injury attorney could work to maximize the value of a claim and ensure that all aspects of the claim are addressed. Contact us at Marcus & Mack, P.C. today and schedule a consultation with our skilled personal injury lawyers.