Getting Compensation Money After Winning or Settling Your Injury Case
You might not get your personal injury compensation immediately after you settle the case or get a favorable court judgment. The hoops you must go through depend on whether the defendant’s insurance company pays your compensation. Read on to discover some things to expect before you get the compensation money.
The Insurance Company Pays
For many personal injury cases, the defendant’s insurance compensates the victim up to the defendant’s insurance policy limit. Some things you may have to do in such a case include the following.
Sign the Release
The insurance company will require you to sign a liability release form before it releases the money. Signing the document means releasing the insurance company from all liability and damages related to the injury. You cannot pursue further compensation for the same injury from the same defendant once you sign the release.
Do not sign the release if you plan to pursue further compensation, for example, if you want to appeal your case. However, note that you won’t get any money before you sign the form. Consult an injury lawyer to review your case, compensation, and release form and help you decide whether to sign it.
Settle the Liens
The insurance company will release the money once you sign the release form, but you won’t get it immediately if you have liens. Liens are third-party claims that you must pay first. Personal injury liens include the following:
- The money you owe the healthcare providers that treated you on credit while your injury case was pending
- Insurance companies that paid your damages, including medical bills, with the knowledge that you would reimburse them from the compensation money
- Lawsuit loans that you took due to satisfy emergency financial needs that couldn’t wait for your case’s conclusion
A lawyer can help you negotiate the liens so they don’t deplete your compensation check.
Settle the Legal Fees and Costs
Many injury lawyers work on contingency and only get their money upon a case’s conclusion. If that is the case, your lawyer must also deduct their legal fees and case costs. You should know the fees and costs in advance since you negotiate them before the case begins. You get your money once the insurance company deducts their dues.
The Insurance Doesn’t Pay
Collecting compensation money from parties other than insurance companies is not always straightforward. Some things you may have to do first include the following.
Asses the Defendant’s Financial Stability
Collecting your compensation should begin before the negotiation or lawsuit starts if an insurance company won’t settle the bill. Confirm that the liable party has the financial resources to pay your compensation. Otherwise, your pursuit of the case is pointless.
Your lawyer will run a check on the defendant to determine whether they have adequate resources to cover your compensation. In the process, the lawyer assesses the defendant’s credit rating, income, and financial assets. Many lawyers will only proceed with cases against financially stable defendants.
Freezing Defendant’s Assets
Some defendants may sell or dispose of their assets before the case concludes. Your lawyer should ask the court to freeze the defendant’s assets so they can’t sell them while the case pends. The court may grant your wish if you have a particularly strong case.
Collecting the Judgment
Ideally, the defendant should hand over the compensation check once the court directs them. However, you might have to start a judgment collection process to get your money. The process depends on the assets you want to use to satisfy the judgment. For example, the court may help you to:
- Garnish the defendant’s wages
- Seize the defendant’s assets
- Garnish the defendant’s bank accounts
Don’t seize the defendant’s assets without involving the government. Use a lawyer who will go through the legal channels to get you money.
Contact Frenkel & Frenkel to evaluate your case and determine how to proceed. We have over 25 years of experience in personal injury law. We promise to do everything possible to get the compensation you deserve.