California residents may pursue civil remedies when they are harmed in accidents caused by reckless tractor-trailer drivers or poorly maintained commercial vehicles, but protracted court battles are expensive and a successful outcome cannot be assured. The costs involved in pursuing litigation are often the reason truck accident victims choose to resolve their civil claims at the negotiating table, but settlement offers are generally far lower than the amounts awarded by juries.
Plaintiffs may decline settlement offers they consider inadequate and choose to take their chances with a jury, but judges could order further negotiations to prevent additional burdens being placed on already busy courts. Judges may be especially firm about parties seeking a negotiated settlement when the facts in the case seem clear and few thorny legal issues are involved. When settlement discussions are at an impasse or negotiations become hostile, alternative approaches may be suggested to break the deadlock.
Alternative dispute resolution methods like arbitration and mediation are designed to nurture empathy and encourage litigants to consider one another's positions and search for common ground. While the recommendations made by mediators are not binding on plaintiffs or defendants, the decisions of arbitrators often are. This means that parties may be required to abide by them even if a civil court judge may have viewed the case differently.
Experienced personal injury attorneys may urge big rig accident victims to think carefully before accepting settlement offers that fail to cover the costs of their long-term medical care and do not fairly compensate them for their pain and suffering, property damage and lost income. While the costs of resolving civil claims in court can be high, these attorneys often offer to represent their clients on a contingency basis and charge no fees unless the case is settled or won.