Most lawsuits settle out of court. In fact, government statistics show that over 90% of cases never see a courtroom. Settling has many advantages, including faster access to compensation and a guaranteed amount of money.
However, one question clients ask us is, “Are settlements public record?” Many of our clients are worried that details of their case will be available for anyone to uncover.
In Washington, personal injury settlements are not public record. This means that no one will be able to find out how much money you received in a settlement or any other details, such as the injuries you suffered as a result of your accident.
Privacy is One of the Advantages of a Settlement
Unlike a settlement, court records are public. This includes the transcripts of any trial and other information, such as medical records that were introduced as exhibits. If you have to take your case all the way to a jury, then any member of the public could uncover sensitive details about your condition. For this reason, many people are afraid of going to court.
But would anyone really research your case and look up your case file? Possibly. For example, if you are going through a divorce, your spouse might want to find out how much money you received in a trial. Also, if you are injured in the future, an insurance adjuster might want to find out what injuries you suffered in a previous accident.
Should You Settle?
Whether to settle a lawsuit is an individualized decision. There is no “one size fits all” approach to this issue. As experienced Yakima personal injury lawyers, we are happy to discuss your options with you.
The primary benefit of settling is speed. If you go to court, you might have to wait over a year before you receive any compensation. It is very hard for people with bills to pay to wait that long, especially if they are so badly injured that they can’t return to work. With money tight, they need compensation now.
By settling, you immediately gain access to funds that can pay medical bills, utilities, your mortgage, and other expenses. You are also guaranteed money. If you go to trial, by contrast, you could always lose, which means you would end up receiving nothing.
Defendants often like to settle so they don’t have to admit liability for the accident. This might be important for a business defendant that doesn’t want negative publicity. The defendant doesn’t admit fault for the accident but pays out compensation nevertheless so that the case can come to a resolution.
Negotiating Favorable Settlements for Our Clients
At Kapuza Lighty, we strive each day to get our clients the best possible outcome for their case. Based on our detailed approach and our experience at the bargaining table, we can maximize the amount of compensation you receive for your accident.
If you have been injured, don’t wait for the at-fault party to approach you with a settlement offer. Take control of your case today. You can talk to us by calling 509-866-4166 or sending us a message. We represent injured victims in Yakima and surrounding areas.