Answered by Christopher Combs in Truck Accidents on April 01, 2021.

After you have been in an accident caused by another party’s negligence or carelessness, you may be considering filing a personal injury lawsuit and taking your case to trial. However, depending on your situation, going to court with a truck accident case may not be the best strategy for you. Learn more below about the pros and cons of bringing your truck accident case to court from the experienced truck accident lawyers at Combs Waterkotte.

A trial involves attorneys, witnesses, testimonies, a judge, and a jury. Both sides make their arguments and present evidence before the court. Following arguments, evidence, and summations, a jury decides the final outcome of the case and what amount of monetary damages, if any, should be awarded.

The vast majority of accidents involving any type of vehicle — car accidents, motorcycle accidents, etc. — are usually settled out of court. There are a number of advantages to settling, mostly because both parties wish to avoid a potentially long process which can drain not only your energy and emotional reserve, but your bank account as well.

However, truck accident cases are very different from your typical fender bender, to put it lightly. These cases tend to be more complex because of vast amounts of federal, state, and insurance regulations at play. For instance, even the seemingly simple detail of determining who is at fault can be difficult to establish in a truck accident case, because unlike a standard car accident case multiple parties can be responsible in a truck accident case, including the driver, trucking company, or a third-party manufacturer.

Furthermore, the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks means that accidents involving these vehicles can cause catastrophic property damage and potentially tragic, life-long injuries. This means that the settlements should be sufficient enough to cover the damages, which can reach up to $500,000 or more. Trucking companies go on the defensive immediately in order to pay the smallest settlement they can.

While these cases have more difficult issues to resolve, it doesn’t mean a settlement isn’t impossible or the right choice. The following situations could lead a truck accident claim to proceed to court:

  • Confusion on who should be held liable
  • Trucking company placing the blame on you in an attempt to pay a smaller amount
  • The insurance company refusing to budge on paying what’s fair, despite an attorney fighting on your behalf

Now that you know some of the reasons for how truck accident cases progress to the court, you’ll want to know WHY it’s a good idea to do so or not.

Pros of Taking Your Truck Accident Case to Court

  • Higher settlement – A jury of your peers may side with you over the large trucking companies, meaning you could potentially be awarded more damages than you would have received in initial settlement negotiations.
  • Compensation for non-economic damages – In many cases, insurance companies only pay for bodily injuries and medical costs, but will not pay what you are entitled to get in terms of mental and emotional trauma. At a trial, your attorney can effectively speak about why your damages extend beyond just economic damages to include things like pain and suffering, post traumatic stress disorder, and more.
  • A public platform – In a settlement, the trucking company never has to admit any wrongdoing. By going public with a trial, you could potentially help protect others from the negligence of the trucking company in the future by creating a legal precedent and getting their negligence on record.
  • Sense of closure – Trials can be cathartic for people who just want to be heard or listened to. There is often a greater sense of closure and a feeling that justice has been served.

Cons of Taking Your Truck Accident Case to Trial

  • No guarantee of winning – Going to trial comes with the risk of leaving the courtroom with nothing to show for your time and trouble. You never know how a jury is going to decide a case, which means BOTH parties lose all control over the outcome. This is a reason why settlements are so popular–they provide both parties with a consistent, guaranteed result.
  • Longer process – Trials can often be drawn-out to one year or more and can be very time-consuming.
  • More expensive – Because of the timeline of trials, it can get expensive with fees piling up for court costs, litigation expenses, and hiring experts. Even if you end up with a larger reward, some of that could go to these expenses, meaning that you could potentially get less from a jury award than you would a settlement.
  • Lack of privacy – Because trials are public record, you will be unable to keep the details of your injury private.

Truck Accident Lawyer | Combs Waterkotte

As you can tell, there are a large amount of factors to consider after you have been in a truck accident. After reading the pros and cons and looking at all your options, talk to the personal injury lawyers at Combs Waterkotte. We can evaluate your case and let you know your odds of achieving a successful settlement against going to court. We listen to you and want to help you get what you need to properly recover from your accident.

If you have been injured in a truck accident, do not hesitate to contact us or call a St. Louis truck accident lawyer at Combs Waterkotte by dialing (314) 900-HELP for a free, no-risk consultation.


Truck Accident