Following your New Bedford car crash, you filed a car crash claim and your case was resolved through a trial or through a settlement with the insurance company. You have now recovered from your injuries and you want to collect the settlement money. How do you go about this?
We have highlighted four scenarios and how to collect your settlement in each one of them.
After a Trial With An Insured Driver
Your case went to court because you were unable to settle out of court with the driver or the insurance company. Your New Bedford car crash lawyer presented the evidence regarding your case and told your side of the story following which the judge or jury rendered their verdict.
The judge or jury found the other driver was at fault and their negligence resulted in the accident. You were awarded monetary damages and now you want to collect them.
Once the final verdict has been reached, the money is usually forwarded to you and/or your lawyer shortly after the trial is over. If the insurance company was ordered to pay the settlement amount, they are legally obligated to do so immediately and if they don’t, you can go to court and seek enforcement of the judgment.
After Trial With An Uninsured Driver
If you got into an accident with a driver who was not insured, you will need to seek payment from that driver. Most of the time this proves to be quite a challenge especially if the driver has been ordered to pay a significant amount of money in damages.
They may not be able to afford to pay the amount of money you are seeking for immediately or they might be reluctant to pay it. The best solution to such a problem is to work out a reasonable payment plan with the driver but sometimes this never plays out well. If this is the case for you, you may want to discuss with your car crash lawyer about your options.
After Settlement With An Uninsured Driver
Collecting money from an insurance company is not complicated and we hardly ever hear about an insurance company failing to pay after a settlement has been reached, especially if it’s already in writing.
However, getting payment directly from an uninsured driver can be a challenge. As with all other settlements, make sure you put your agreement in writing. This will prove helpful if you decide to go to a local civil court or a small claims court to pursue a judgment against the driver.
After A Settlement With An Insured Driver
The negotiation process can take weeks or months before you finally reach a settlement with the insurance company. Once you have reached a settlement, your lawyer should ensure that everything is put in writing by sending a letter to the insurance adjusters. The letter should state the settlement amount offer and that you have accepted it.
The insurance company will then send a “release” for your signature. If you don’t have a lawyer they will send the release to you although we strongly recommend that you get a lawyer to help you with your case.
A release is a legally binding document that obligates the insurance company to pay you the amount you had agreed on and in exchange you will not pursue any future damages arising from your car crash and you will not file a lawsuit.
The insurance company won’t send you a check until you have signed the release. If you hired a New Bedford car crash lawyer, the insurance company will send the check to them but it will be made out to you and your lawyer. Your attorney will then deposit the check in their law firm account and write you a separate check after they have deducted their fees.
If you still have pending medical bills, your lawyer can use the settlement money to pay them. In some cases, the insurance company may decide to pay your healthcare provider any outstanding medical bills but we strongly recommend that you and your lawyer take care of the medical bills yourselves. This way, you can negotiate the amount owed with your health care provider.
How Long After Settlement Before You Get Paid?
This will depend on a few factors such as:
How Long The Insurance Company Takes To Send the Check
As mentioned earlier, if you are willing to settle with the insurance company, you have to sign a release before they can send you a check. Unless your lawyer was clever enough to clearly state in your settlement agreement that the release has to be sent within a specific period, it could be ages before you receive a check. The settlement agreement should also include how long it should take for the release to be amended if the need arises. Thankfully, Rhode Island has a statutory deadline for issuing a settlement check which, is typically within a 30 day period.
You can read all about insurance regulations in Rhode Island.
Delays with Your Lawyer
Once your lawyer receives the settlement check, it has to clear his trust account before he can be able to finally pay you. This can take at least 10 business days although it can take a shorter time if the check is issued by the same bank as your lawyers trust account. This delay is unavoidable and you just have to wait it out.
Payment of Medical and Insurance Liens
Your doctor and insurer might delay sending “final balance due” statements and this could consequently delay payment for your medical and insurance liens. There can also be delays as your lawyer tries to negotiate settlement of insurance and medical liens so that you get more money.
These are just some of the reasons your settlement money might take a while before it gets to you.
Hire A New Bedford Lawyer To Take Care of The Settlement
In order to avoid a time consuming and expensive litigation process, most people prefer to settle. The best way to reach a satisfactory settlement is to present a compelling case to the insurance company through a detailed demand letter and persuasive follow up negotiations.
This can be a lot of work especially when you are trying to recover from your injuries. At Kevin P Landry, we will handle everything for you while you recover from your injuries. And we only charge a contingency fee- meaning we get paid only when you get paid.
All you have to do is call us at 508-999-0800 or visit our New Bedford Offices for your free initial consultation or we can visit you wherever you feel is convenient for you.