Settling your Seattle auto accident case out of court
There are a few ways that a car accident injury case can be settled before reaching trial, but the last opportunity to do so is what is in what is known as arbitration. Arbitration is one of the best ways to determine the outcome of a case. When dealing with auto accident injury cases in Washington State, there is a procedure called mandatory arbitration, which allows us to compel the defense (the other insurance company) to go to arbitration – basically a miniature version of a trial. The only stipulation is that the damages, or money we will be asking for, is less than $50,000. One of the major benefits of arbitration is that it acts as a reality check for both sides. Arguments from both sides are heard by an impartial, third party attorney, who ultimately decides whether to award money to the plaintiff, or to side with the defense. The reality check of arbitration allows both sides to see if their case has flaws in it that they may not have realized beforehand, without the cost of trying it in court.
Arbitration is not necessarily the final step, though. If either side is unhappy with the verdict, they are allowed to appeal the case in court. By filing for what is known as a “trial de novo,” the case will be pulled out of arbitration, and put back on the schedule to be heard in court. This may seem like a losing side can drag the case on forever, but there is a system in place to prevent this from happening. The side that loses in arbitration must improve their case in court, and if they do not, then they have to pay the attorney’s fees from the time of the appeal until the case is decided by a judge or jury. This means that if the defense appeals an arbitration decision that awards our side $40,000 and the court decides to agree with the arbitrator and award us the same amount of money or more, then you wouldn’t have to pay a single dime for our time following their appeal. Because those costs can reach tens of thousands of dollars, this is a major disincentive that generally forces both sides to accept the arbitration decision.
You may not need to go to court
Your Seattle car accident injury case is unlike any other. Your case may not require spending time in trial, and it may not even require a lawyer. Experienced Seattle injury lawyer Jason Epstein has written a FREE book for Washington State residents, The Truth About Washington Auto Accidents, to help auto accident injury victims in their fight against the insurance company. This easy to read book will give you advice for choosing the right attorney for your case, how to deal with the insurance companies, and much more. Order this no-obligation book for FREE on our website.