How long does it take to get paid once my car accident case is settled?
In cases where attorneys receive the settlement funds from the insurance company quickly and don’t have to pay out much to other agencies or individuals, it can take as little as 1-2 weeks for an injured person to receive their portion of the funds. But, sometimes there are situations where it can take months to distribute the funds to the injured person(s). In order to better understand the process, here are some of the things that attorneys have to do in order to get their clients the money they are due from a car accident case settlement.
First, insurance companies require that all parties involved in the lawsuit sign a release which states that for the settlement amount they give up all future rights to sue the person, persons, or company that were responsible for their injuries. After the insurance company receives the release they will send the attorney the amount agreed upon in the settlement. But, there are times when insurance companies stall and don’t pay the attorneys when they agreed to.
When the attorney finally receives the funds, he/she may have to pay: outstanding medical bills; subrogation liens; letter of protection claims; attorney’s fees; attorney expenses; and other costs related to a car accident case.
Medical Bills and Subrogation Liens
Medical insurance companies can insist they be repaid for medical services they provided to a person injured in a car accident. Some of the more common subrogation liens exist for health insurance companies, Medpay, Medicare and Medicaid. They are known as collateral services and are subject to subrogation claims, which means that any benefits paid by them due to a lawsuit must be repaid when a settlement is made. Unfortunately, obtaining lien information from Medicare is a very slow process. If an injured client has and uses Medicare to pay their medical bills, they should be warned that when an insurance company’s adjustor issues a settlement check, their proceeds from the check will most likely be held up because the Medicare lien amount will take a long time to obtain. In fact, it could take a couple months or more.
Letter of Protection Claims
The Letter of Protection is a contract formed between a medical provider and an attorney. The contract places a lien on the injured party’s financial settlement, from which the medical provider is paid by the attorney.
Often called “contingency fee” attorney’s fees are charged by an attorney for representing their client in personal injury cases. The fee is a percentage (generally 33%) of the settlement amount after expenses are taken out.
Common expenses that attorneys have when representing their clients include: investigator, deposition, jury, medical records and expert fees; and police reports.
Once all of those expenses have been paid, the attorney will draw up a final accounting of all of the transactions. The attorney will then sit down and review the final accounting with his/her client(s). Once they understand and approve of the final accounting, a check for the balance due will be given to them.
As you can see, there are many expenses that may need to be paid before a check can be issued to an injured client. There will be times when it will take more than two months for an injured person to receive their portion of the settlement. That’s why it is so important to hire a personal injury attorney who is experienced in car accident cases and settling subrogation liens. An experienced attorney will know what to do, when you need it done.
Finding excellent lawyers in Los Angeles, CA for example, can seem like a tough battle as there are so many. It is important to look through the reviews of each lawyer you are considering to see what others had to say. A good resource is Yelp!