Car Accidents & Insurance Settlements

After a lengthy process of negotiations, you have finally reached a settlement in your car accident case with the responsible driver’s insurance company. While it is reassuring to know that your money is on the way, there are a few more steps involved before you can receive it.

You Have to Sign a Release

Before you can receive your check from the insurance company, you have to sign a release. This is a legal document that essentially says that the matter is closed and you will take no more legal action against the responsible party in regard to this specific incident.

Your Personal Injury Attorney Receives the Check

Generally speaking, the insurance company makes the check payable to both you and your attorney and sends the check to the latter. Your attorney puts it into an escrow account or special trust for you so that he or she can make distributions for you on your behalf. For example, most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning that the fees come out of your award. Your attorney will deduct his or her fees from the award.

Outstanding Debts or Liens Have To Be Paid First

Before you can receive any of your money, any outstanding debts or liens have to be taken care of first. For example, if you have medical bills related to the accident that you haven’t paid yet, your attorney can take care of these out of your settlement money. If you used your health insurance to cover the bills, your insurer may have enacted a lien against your settlement, in which case your attorney will have to pay that off as well.

You Can Choose How You Want To Receive the Money

Once all fees, debts, and liens have been taken care of, you can receive your settlement money. You can choose a structured settlement that staggers payments over a long period of time, or you can receive the entire amount all at once in a lump sum. If you’re worried that you might spend all the money at once if you receive a lump sum, you might want a structured settlement instead.

Once you win a car accident lawsuit or reach a settlement, you can relax knowing that your money is on the way, but you still have to exercise a little more patience. Consider reaching out to a car accident lawyer from a firm like Greenspan & Greenspan P.C. for assistance.