Do Most Truck Accident Cases Go to Trial?


June 9, 2024 / Truck Accidents

Truck accident victims suffer physical, emotional, and financial injuries and need substantial compensation to recover their losses, reach maximum recovery, and stabilize their financial future. While many victims secure compensation through an out-of-court settlement, a smaller percentage may need to fight for that compensation at trial. If you or someone you love is the victim of a truck accident, an Indiana truck accident lawyer at Stephenson Rife LLP has got you covered. We are fierce negotiators and skilled trial attorneys prepared to fight for your rights at the negotiating table or in the courtroom.

How Truck Accident Cases Work

Like any personal injury case, victims of truck accidents can only see a favorable outcome to their case if they can prove the at-fault party’s negligence caused the accident, leading to their injuries. Identifying the at-fault party can be challenging in a truck accident case as there are typically more potentially culpable parties. Responsible parties can include:

  • The truck driver
  • The truck company, for safety, maintenance, or hiring violations
  • A vehicle or part manufacturer
  • Vehicle inspectors or mechanics
  • A third-party driver
  • A government body–for accidents caused by poorly maintained roads, road lighting, or traffic signals, or other conditions under the government’s purview, or by a truck operating for government purposes (a United States Postal Service truck, for example).

However, through a comprehensive investigation, a skilled truck accident lawyer can peel back the layers to reveal the culprit, allowing victims to hold the at-fault party accountable for paying damages.

How Victims Collect Compensation

One way you can collect compensation is through a settlement agreement. Your attorney will value your case with precision and send a settlement demand to the at-fault party’s representatives. The representatives respond with a counteroffer, typically one lower than the demand, and negotiations begin. The truck accident lawyers at Stephenson Rife LLP are skilled negotiators, and they are never intimidated into accepting less than our clients deserve.

Still, the other side has to play fair for a successful negotiation outcome. If they do not, victims may need to take the case to trial.

Why Truck Accident Cases Go to Trial

As the victim, you get to decide whether to take your case to trial, but your experienced truck accident attorney will offer you wise counsel to help you make the best decision.

There are a variety of factors that could prompt a decision to go to trial. For example:

  • The at-fault party’s representatives may intentionally delay negotiations, dragging out the process unnecessarily while you continue to suffer.
  • The other side may refuse to make a reasonable offer.
  • Victims may get more compensation through a trial verdict than a settlement.
  • The complexities of the truck accident may lead to different parties pointing their fingers at each other, all trying to avoid culpability but ultimately leaving you without compensation as they argue.

There are benefits of settling through negotiations. Time is one—trials can take years to wrap up. Certainty is another. When you accept a settlement, you are guaranteed that amount. If you lose at trial, you can end up without any compensation.

Some law firms almost always encourage clients to accept a settlement–even if they know the client deserves more–so the firm can avoid the time and expense of a lengthy trial. Stephenson Rife LLP will encourage you to follow the path best for your truck accident case. We will negotiate fiercely on your behalf, seeking a swift outcome. But should a trial prove necessary, we will be prepared to fight tirelessly and effectively for you in court.

How Often Truck Accidents Go to Trial

Most tort cases, cases involving physical, mental, or financial injury to a person, settle out of court. According to the Center for Justice and Democracy (CJ&D), “juries resolved an extremely low percentage of tort cases…with rates ranging from 0.56 to 2.76%.” This low rate has been consistent for eleven years.

Data from the Court Statistics Project (CSP) shows that, for the same year of data collection, the number of incoming tort cases for 38 states reporting was 451,019, with 11,700 coming from Indiana. But settlements can happen even as a trial is underway, so even cases that enter a courtroom can be settled without a jury verdict.

We Do Not Settle for Less

Stephenson Rife LLP is dedicated to getting victims the compensation they deserve for the losses sustained in a truck accident. We have secured substantial out-of-court settlements and fought for large verdicts at trial. No matter the direction your case takes, we will be prepared and work to deliver the most favorable outcome possible. Contact us today for your free consultation.

Attorney Mike Stephenson

Attorney Mike StephensonMike Stephenson has 40 years of experience and is a trusted advisor to many individuals and companies. His current practice is dominated by civil litigation in state and federal courts. He focuses much of his time on handling catastrophic injuries caused by all types of accidents, including motor vehicle, trucking, workplace injuries, product liability, and fire, just to name a few. He also works extensively in construction accidents. [ Attorney Bio ]

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