Getting involved in a car accident can be quite stressful and overwhelming, especially when dealing with the process of getting a claim. This is why it is important to seek the assistance of an attorney from your area. If you are residing in the Los Angeles area, then it’s best to get an experienced auto accidents lawyers to help you settle your claim.
But when everything has been settled, and all parties have come to a compromise, what happens next?
Usually, after settling a claim, the next thing to do is get your settlement check post. But before you’re able to receive your check post-settlement, the following conditions must be met:
- Treatment is completed, or the patient is at maximum medical improvement. The timeline on this is anywhere from 1 day to years.
- All of the medical records and bills must be obtained along with any doctor’s reports for future lost wages and medical bills. The timetable on this varies with the volume of medical records and reports that must be collected, and the range is between days and months.
- Getting a response to the demand package.
After sending your settlement demand containing relevant medical bills and records, it should take a while for the insurance company to evaluate your claim. It can take as long as 15 to 90 days. Your car accident lawyer will be responsible for following up with the insurance company.
In California, you should receive a settlement check within two weeks to two months if there are no problems and the insurance company has no additional demands or requirements. Although insurance companies aren’t legally allowed to delay the settlement process, some insurance companies use the following tactics to work around the law:
- They might delay your settlement if they don’t agree to the amount of money you’re requesting. For instance, they might believe you’re owed less, and they may send you lower offers. They do this in part to wear you down under the guise of fair settlement negotiations. They know that you need your settlement to pay for your losses, so they hope you’ll give in because you want to put this whole accident behind you.
- The insurer might delay because they are busy with other insurance claims.
- There might be a delay because the insurer is claiming that you didn’t complete the paperwork fully.
- There might be a delay because the insurer is claiming that you didn’t send in enough evidence.
- They might delay because they intend to take your claim to court.
There are various reasons why a delay may occur, but it should normally take around a few weeks to a few months after your demand letter has been sent for the insurance company to reply. Generally, after all the steps have been followed, the settlement will finalize in an average of six weeks. But it’s not as simple as just receiving a check in the mail; there are more steps you need to follow for receiving your claim.
Signing documents and release forms.
Once you and the insurance company have finally come to terms with your settlement, your attorney will draft a series of release forms that need to be signed when the release forms have reached their final state. You will need to review and sign them before your settlement can proceed.
The insurance company will process your release and gives you a check.
When the insurance company receives your signed released forms, they should immediately process them and issue a settlement check.
The check is typically payable to both you and your attorney. The insurance company usually sends this to your attorney. Although there are some cases where delays may occur, if you experienced abnormally long delays, you should ask your attorney to help you follow up on the check.
Your Lawyer Deposits the Insurance Check in an Escrow Account and Pays Your Liens.
Once your lawyer receives the check, they will be depositing the insurance check into a special trust or escrow account. It’s a mandatory step in most states, but once your settlement check is cleared, your lawyer will finally distribute your settlement money.
But you have to remember. You may not get the full amount due to liens (unpaid debt.) Expected liens may include unpaid medical bills.
Your attorney will deduct the legal fees from your check.
Of course, your lawyer isn’t doing all this hard work for free. Once your lawyer pays off any remaining debt with the settlement money, they will deduct the legal fees depending on what you initially agreed upon.
Usually, these legal costs include:
- Gathering medical records and other medical evidence
- Paying expert witness fees
- Paying deposition and court reporting costs
You have the right to demand a detailed list of attorney fees to double-check whether you have reached a fair agreement for the fees with your lawyer.
After that, you can finally get your settlement claim and use it to help in your recovery or cover your lost income.