Car accidents cause many unexpected expenses, including medical bills and car repairs. At the same time, you might need to stop working for a period during your recovery. One of the most logical questions a car accident lawyer in Houston, TX might be asked is how soon a client can expect to receive a check after winning a settlement.
If I Win a Car Accident Settlement, How Soon Will I Get Paid?
After you win a car accident settlement, the payout goes to your law firm in the form of a check. The amount of time needed to deliver the payout to the client depends on how soon the insurance company issues the check and how fast it can be processed. Most personal injury attorneys know from experience that for people who have been involved in car accidents, being compensated quickly is an important priority.
You can expect your attorney to process the check and send you the balance within six weeks at most. This estimate budgets a little extra time for weekends, holidays, etc, so while most law firms can’t promise to deliver the payout in fewer than six weeks, you may well receive your money much faster.
Winning Compensation for a Personal Injury: An Overview
Receiving your check is the last step in the legal process by which you can hold a negligent party accountable for causing you an injury. Here is a simplified breakdown of the other steps that lead up to the payout:
Choosing a Lawyer and Assessing Your Damages
You experience an accident and realize you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. After locating a credible law firm, you set up a consultation with a lawyer that is licensed to practice in your state.
After discussing your damages and the events leading up to the accident, the lawyer agrees to take on your case, and you agree to give him or her the right to represent you officially. You and your lawyer proceed to compile a list of damages to determine the value of your claim.
Submitting Your Claim and Negotiating Your Settlement
Once your claim is prepared, you submit it to the other driver’s insurance company. The insurance company must acknowledge receipt of your claim within 15 days. They then have the right to conduct an investigation into the validity of the claim, which should not exceed a maximum of 45 days.
The insurance company might accept the claim and agree to the amount you request. However, if they reject it or if they do not offer an appropriate amount of money, your lawyer can negotiate by pointing to evidence that you could use in court, if necessary.
Accepting a Settlement
If the insurance company refuses to negotiate, you have the right to take them to court, where it may be possible to obtain a verdict in your favor. However, for the purposes of our discussion here, let’s assume that the insurance company agrees to pay you an amount of money that is proportionate to your damages. After you accept the offer, the insurance company has five days to send out a check.
How Is the Settlement Check Processed?
The amount of processing needed depends on whether or not there are liens on your settlement, whether or not your health insurance covers your emergency care, and how you have structured your legal fees. If your health insurance provider has the right to seek reimbursement for any accident-related costs they cover, your lawyer will send them the percentage of the settlement they are owed. Similarly, any outstanding legal fees will be deducted.
After processing the settlement, your attorney will send you the balance of your payment. A typical car accident settlement covers:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional damages
What’s Included in the Check I Receive?
The check you receive can include an amount reflective of your damages, minus the legal fees. In some cases, unpaid child support or IRS debts could also be deducted.
While some of your medical expenses may have been covered by insurance, the portion of the settlement that goes directly to you will include reimbursement for any costs that you covered out of pocket. The amount of money you paid for transportation to and from the hospital can be included in this part of the settlement, as can any deductibles and/or copayments you were charged.
If you do not have health insurance or if your policy leaves you responsible for a large portion of the medical bills, the check you receive may include a significant amount of money. Your payout may also include money for anticipated future medical expenses.
Noneconomic damages are losses that cause you stress or discomfort without directly affecting your finances. Physical pain, anxiety, disfigurement, and a decrease in the quality of your life are all examples of noneconomic damages. While nothing can “undo” losses of this nature, your settlement should include the amount of money that you and the insurance company agreed would provide fair compensation.
Your lost wages include all of the income you missed as a result of the accident. “Income” is defined as benefits, tips, and advancement opportunities, as well as your salary or hourly wages.
How Can I Receive My Check as Soon as Possible?
Get Started Early
Speaking with a car accident lawyer and gathering evidence as quickly as you can will greatly reduce the amount of time that passes between the crash and the arrival of your check. The sooner you meet with an attorney, the sooner he or she can begin working on your case. You can begin to document the accident even before you leave the scene by:
- Taking videos and photographs of the two cars
- Obtaining the names of the police officers who respond and writing down the number of the police report
- Exchanging insurance information with the other driver
- Asking potential witnesses for their contact information
In general, the more evidence you have in your favor, the faster the insurance company will yield to a settlement. One of the best ways to generate evidence of your injuries is by going to the ER, where your condition will be treated and noted in your medical history.
Consider the Long and Short Term Benefits of Your Approach
While our attorneys will work to get you your check as soon as possible, we also encourage our clients to consider the long-term benefits of working carefully to maximize their compensation. The insurance company’s first offer may not be its best, and it may be in your best interests to let us negotiate for a higher payout. In the meantime, we can help you explore ways to defer some of your accident-related expenses until after the settlement is finalized.
Schedule a Consultation With a Car Accident Lawyer in Houston, TX
Our personal injury lawyers offer free consultations in Houston TX. We are available to discuss your grounds for compensation and any aspects of the legal process that are unclear to you. To request a meeting, you can contact us at (713) 357-6905.
We hold insurance companies responsible for honoring their policies and providing their payouts in a timely manner. Our expert attorneys are there to lend your case their compassion and legal knowledge, fighting to maximize your payout every step of the way. When you need assistance with a personal injury case, contact Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner.