After being in a car accident, many people are eager to receive a settlement as soon as possible. With medical expenses and other losses piling up, it is understandable to want to resolve your personal injury claim quickly. So, how soon can you expect to receive your check when you work with a car wreck lawyer in Houston, TX?
How Soon Will You Receive a Check After You Accept a Settlement Offer?
Settlement checks must be issued by the insurance company and processed by the personal injury attorney who handled the case. While you cannot expect to receive your check instantly, the insurance company must abide by laws specifying that they send out payments in a timely manner. Assuming they follow these regulations, you should receive your payment within six weeks of accepting the offer.
How Does the Settlement Process Work?
Seeking a Settlement
A settlement offer is an agreement that the liable party’s insurance company issues offering a sum of money to pay for your damages. Upon accepting a settlement, you relinquish your legal right to initiate a lawsuit against the other driver.
When your attorney starts working on your case, he or she will focus on winning compensation by presenting evidence of the other driver’s negligence to determine their liability. Your lawyer will also demonstrate the nature, severity, and value of your losses. The goal is to convince the other driver’s insurance company that if they do not settle for an appropriate amount, they will face a court-issued verdict in your favor.
Negotiating the Value of Your Claim
While the insurance company’s first offer might fall short of the amount you are legally owed, your attorney can negotiate for the maximum value of your claim. Many insurance companies increase their offers when they see that the claimant is working with an experienced attorney who can argue a case convincingly.
If the insurance company does not yield, you can proceed to initiate a lawsuit. However, this step is usually unnecessary since far more car accident claims are resolved with a settlement than with a trial.
What Happens to Your Payment After the Settlement Is Finalized?
After you have signed the settlement offer and the accompanying release form, the insurance company will issue the payout. Your attorney will receive the check and process it by deducting any fees associated with the case, such as the percentage of the settlement that is due to the law firm and the money owed to any expert witnesses you hired. If you owe child support or have other liens on the check, those will be deducted as well.
Many people have health insurance policies that pay for emergency medical care upfront and seek reimbursement from the settlement later. Therefore, if your settlement includes compensation for your medical bills, it is likely that your health insurance provider will receive a percentage of the check before the money goes to you. After the check has been fully processed, your attorney will send you the balance.
How Long Does the Insurance Company Have to Issue the Payment?
The length of time that elapses between accepting a settlement offer and receiving a check depends on two factors: how long it takes the insurance company to issue the payment and how long it takes your law firm to process it. At our firm, we keep our processing time to a minimum so that you can get the money you need as quickly as possible. Furthermore, we will hold the insurance company accountable for meeting its legal deadlines.
After you agree to a settlement offer, the insurance company has five days to issue the check. If they fail to initiate the payment within 60 days, they may owe you interest. In some cases, they may also owe you the value of your legal fees.
How to Manage Accident-Related Expenses
If you are concerned about the time it will take to receive a check from the settlement, your lawyer may be able to advise you on how to defer some of the out-of-pocket expenses until your case is resolved. While not all of the accident-related costs can be negotiated, you might be able to mitigate some of your most pressing financial concerns.
For many people, medical expenses make up a large percentage of the losses following a car accident. There are several ways to address the medical expenses without the need to front cash for the bills.
As discussed earlier, your health insurance might provide coverage initially, reserving the right to take a portion of the settlement once the case is resolved. If you do not have health insurance, your attorney might be able to make a formal request asking the hospital to defer the bills.
Many individuals shy away from hiring an attorney because they are concerned about paying legal fees upfront without the assurance that their case will yield a payout. Our firm works on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you will not be charged anything until your case is settled in your favor.
Time Away From Work
If you need to take time away from your job to recover, keeping up with day-to-day living expenses can be challenging. If you incurred a disability, you might qualify for benefits through a government program such as Social Security, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or Supplemental Security Income. Many individuals have contractual agreements with their employers specifying paid time off in the event of an illness or injury.
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), all companies with at least 50 employees must grant workers up to 12 weeks of leave if a serious health condition arises. Paid time off can be taken as part of an employee’s FMLA leave, and the company is required to keep the employee on the employer-sponsored health insurance plan.
Don’t Rush Your Personal Injury Claim
Taking the time to understand the full value of your claim and negotiate with the insurance company can increase your payout by thousands of dollars. In the case of serious injuries, fighting for all of the compensation you deserve can yield millions. Some insurance companies will try to persuade you to accept a low offer as a way to reduce their expenses. Once you accept an offer, you cannot reopen your case.
Our firm will help you create a workable strategy to address your accident-related expenses without sacrificing the value of your claim in the long run. At the same time, we will work to resolve your case as efficiently as possible, processing your check and getting you the money as quickly as we can.
Consult With a Car Wreck Lawyer in Houston, TX
If you would like to discuss your personal injury claim with one of our attorneys, you can set up a free consultation with us. We can be reached at 713-547-5178. During the consultation, we can go over:
- How your accident occurred
- The kinds of losses you incurred
- Potential outcomes for your case
- Available legal strategies
- Sources of evidence in your favor
We will handle your case with compassion and expertise, taking every opportunity to maximize your compensation. There is no legal reason to sustain the costs of an injury someone else caused. To speak with a car wreck lawyer in Houston, TX, contact Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC.