Waiting to get a personal injury settlement check can be frustrating. A personal injury lawyer in Austin, TX will work diligently to get money into your hands as soon as possible. However, many factors may impact the settlement timeline of a personal injury claim.
Factors That May Affect How Long It Takes to Get a Personal Injury Settlement Check
An attorney will work to minimize factors that lengthen the timeline of an injury case. However, some factors are not within their control. Also, rushing some things could result in a lower settlement amount.
Factors that impact when you receive a settlement check may include:
One of the primary factors that impact the timeline for your case is the length of your recovery. It is not wise to settle a personal injury claim before you reach maximum medical improvement or MMI because your doctor cannot state with certainty that you will or will not have a permanent impairment until you complete treatment.
Therefore, settling your personal injury claim will take longer if you sustain severe or catastrophic injuries. Once you reach MMI, your lawyer will obtain a detailed report from your doctor containing your prognosis.
If you have a disability or impairment, you could receive future damages, including compensation for ongoing care and diminished earning capacity. Your lawyer might need to hire medical specialists and economists to assist in calculating the value of future damages.
The Accident Investigation
Your legal team will conduct an independent investigation, which is crucial. They must gather evidence proving your claim and identify all parties responsible for your damages.
Some personal injury cases are complicated. It will likely take longer to complete the investigation if complex issues are involved.
For example, product liability and medical malpractice claims can take longer to complete. Likewise, a car accident involving multiple vehicles or a commercial truck could take longer to investigate than other crashes.
The parties will engage in settlement negotiations. If there are no disputes regarding liability, the parties must agree upon a settlement amount. It could take several months to negotiate a settlement agreement.
Your attorney will send a demand letter to the insurance company outlining the facts of the accident, your injuries, and the damages you sustained. The letter will demand a specific amount to settle your case, including compensation for economic and non-economic damages.
The insurance company might accept the demand and issue a settlement check. However, in many cases, the insurance company will make a counteroffer for a lower amount. The company might raise allegations of contributory fault, failure to mitigate damages, or delays in receiving medical care to justify the lower settlement offer.
If your attorney cannot settle the claim, they will file a lawsuit to argue the case in court.
What Happens After I Sign a Settlement Agreement?
A settlement agreement resolves your personal injury claim. You release the at-fault party, insurance company, and all other parties from any further liability for your claim. In other words, you cannot demand more money, so you should always talk with a lawyer before signing a settlement agreement or accepting a settlement offer.
When your attorney receives the settlement check, they must take several steps before giving you a settlement check:
Deposit the Check
Your attorney will deposit the settlement check into a trust account to hold the funds until the check clears.
Pay Medical Liens and Bills
Your attorney will pay any outstanding medical bills and medical liens on your behalf. Your lawyer may negotiate settlements for medical costs and liens to put as much money in your pocket as possible.
Deduct Attorney’s Fees
Most Austin personal injury lawyers accept cases on a contingency fee basis. Therefore, they do not charge you any legal fees upfront.
Instead, they agree to take a percentage of your settlement amount for their legal fees. If they do not recover money in your case, you typically do not owe any legal fees.
Deduct Costs of the Case
Personal injury attorneys typically pay the costs of the case as they incur them.
Expenses for your personal injury case could include, but are not limited to:
- Fees for obtaining medical records, accident reports, and other documents
- Copy and postage fees
- Travel expenses
- Expert witness fees
- Deposition fees
- Court filing fees
- Cost of preparing for trial
When your legal team deducts their attorney’s fees, they will also reimburse the law firm for the expenses they paid during your case. They should provide an accounting of all costs they deduct from the settlement proceeds.
Issue a Settlement Check
After paying costs, legal fees, and medical liens, your attorney will issue you a check for the net settlement proceeds.
Contact an Austin Personal Injury Lawyer for Help Settling Your Claim
Your legal team will work as fast as possible to get a check into your hands. They understand that you need these funds as you continue to recover from a tragic accident and personal injury. Contact an experienced Austin personal injury attorney for help negotiating and settling your case.