When a person is injured in an auto accident or suffers bodily injury due to the negligent actions or behavior of another party, Washington state law permits the injured person to pursue legal action against the at-fault party to recover fair compensation for their injuries and other damages.
If the person or party responsible for the injured person's damages fails to cooperate, the injured person may have no choice but to file a lawsuit and take the case all the way to a jury trial in court. However, if the parties are able to come to a mutual agreement to resolve the claim before it gets to the point of an expensive jury trial, what typically comes next is called an out of court settlement.
How Do Out Of Court Settlements Work?
The personal injury legal process usually begins with the injured victim filing a claim with the at-fault party's insurance company. Filing a claim is the first step to putting insurers on notice that the claimant has been injured, that his or her injuries were caused by the insurance company's policyholder, and that the claimant intends to hold the policyholder responsible for his or her damages.
Washington state law requires insurance companies to cooperate with claimants and policyholders in good faith to resolve these disputes so as to reduce the strain of third-party insurance claims on the state's court systems. It is ideal for most personal injury claims to be resolved outside of court, as the high cost of litigation is not appropriate for most situations.
If the insurance company chooses to cooperate in good faith with a claimant and make reasonable attempts to resolve the claim via an out of court settlement, then there is a high likelihood that a full jury trial in court can be avoided. However, it doesn't always work out that way.
What Happens If There Is No Out Of Court Settlement?
Once a lawsuit is filed, the court will eventually set a trial date. This would theoretically be the deadline for an out of court settlement to be reached and executed by the two sides involved in the lawsuit.
Settlement offers will and can continue to be offered to you at any time after the accident, including right up to the point where the jury is about to read the verdict. If the two sides involved in a lawsuit agree on an out of court settlement before the jury has reached a verdict, that would still technically be considered an out of court settlement.
Although the goal of any personal injury claim should be to maximize the victim's recovery while also minimizing the legal expenses involved, no innocent injury victim should be expected to accept an unfair settlement offer just to get the claim over with. While a majority of personal injury claims will be resolved in the form of an out of court settlement, a small percentage will be forced to go all the way through to trial.
Contact A Personal Injury Lawyer For More Information
The top-rated team of Seattle personal injury lawyers at Davis Law Group are fully prepared to prepare any serious injury claim as if it is going to proceed to a jury trial. This legal approach results in our clients receiving favorable settlement offers more often than not.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and are interested in pursuing a claim with the help of a lawyer, call our office at (206) 727-4000 to request a free legal consultation with our staff. We work on a contingency fee basis which means there are no up-front costs for hiring our firm.