Typical Steps In An Auto Accident Claim

Every accident case is different. There is no written-in-stone procedure, and part of what makes a Seattle car accident attorney effective is the ability to adapt case strategy to fit your particular circumstances. Nevertheless, there are several typical steps that most car accident claims follow:

  • The demand — Once you contact an attorney following a car accident, the lawyer typically conducts an initial investigation. This includes obtaining and reviewing your own medical records, reviewing police reports and contacting any witnesses to the accident. The attorney thoroughly evaluates your case and typically sends a settlement demand and some of the evidence supporting the demand figure to the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier.
  • Negotiations — In very clear-cut cases, the insurance company may accept a well-supported initial demand and agree to settle. Otherwise, it may attempt to negotiate a reduced settlement. Your attorney can take into account the strengths and weaknesses of your case and advise you whether the insurance company’s proffered settlement is reasonable.
  • Lawsuit — If the insurance company does not offer an acceptable settlement, your attorney files suit against the at-fault driver, typically in a Washington State superior court.
  • Discovery — Having filed a lawsuit, your attorney now has the right to extensive discovery from the at-fault driver and can also obtain statements under oath called depositions from the at-fault driver and any other pertinent witnesses. Negotiations continue as more information comes to light, and most cases settle during this period.
  • Trial — If a settlement still hasn’t been reached, a formal trial may occur where both sides present evidence and witnesses before a judge and jury. The jury then decides whether the defendant is liable for your losses and how much your losses are worth.