You have done it! After your car accident almost two years ago you have finally reached a settlement for your case congratulations! Now what? You get paid right? Yes, but it’s not always that easy. There is still a little waiting left to do, but the rainbow at the end will be worth waiting for. There are a few things to remember during this process; It does not benefit anyone for an attorney to sit on your settlement, no two cases are ever the same, your outcome is not guaranteed, loans are bad but sometimes a necessary evil, and you have to pay your medical bills. After having met with hundreds of clients these are some of the things that come up the most while meeting with clients.
Now first you need to know, every firm does it a little differently but the root process and result is effectively the same everywhere. In most cases this fee will start at one rate and increase if the case is filed in court. In Texas if your case settles before filing in court the average starting rate is usually 33.⅓%, this amount comes off of the top of your settlement. So for instance if a motor vehicle accident case settled for a policy limit of $30,000.00 (this the minimum standard for Texas) the attorney would receive 33.⅓% which is $10,000.00. The remaining amount is split between any case expenses, medical bills, and the client.
So, why is it taking so long…
Well there is a process and there are very many reasons you might experience this. For instance when your case has settled you will need to sign a release of claim from the insurance company, your attorney will contact as soon as they receive it. Sometimes this is sent via fax or email and takes no time, but some insurance companies still send this correspondence as first class mail which can take 3-5 days to get to your attorney.
Once signed your attorney will have to send it back to the insurance company so they can put your check in the mail which can take another 3-5 days. Once your attorney receives and verifies the information on the check is correct they will deposit it into your cases trust account. Then once the check has been cleared your attorney will divide the funds between your attorney fees, case expense, medical bill and disburse the funds with the remainder going to you the client. Unfortunately this process can be interrupted a thousand different ways, far too many to name but believe me your attorney is just as upset as you are when this process is halted and this happens far too often. Especially when a lot of those issues are often avoidable.
Why aren’t I settling for as much as my friend did, they got way more than me when they had their accident…
Part of the benefit of hiring an attorney is that most of your medical bills will likely be covered by a letter of protection, which basically just keeps your medical providers from sending your bills to collections.
The largest variable by far in personal injury is medical bills. While your lost wages, mileage and expenses are often factored into the total of your settlement, your medical bills contribute to the total the most. This is why it was so important to treat your injuries until you are back to good health, as much as you can be anyway. So If your friend had $30,000.00 in medical bills and you only had $5,000.00 it’s not always possible to reach that same benchmark on every single settlement and every single case. Your attorney and their team will try their best to reach a good a decent settlement for your case and if they are litigation attorneys they are willing to go to court to do so.
It’s my MONEY AND I NEED IT NOW!!!
You’re right it is your money, however depending on where you are at in your case that might be a while. Your attorney is not going to know how much you are going to settle for on day one. Your attorney definitely wants to settle your case as quickly as they can but patience is key here. Now we can’t always see into the future and things happen and maybe you need the money because of the accident you’re not working as much or maybe just got behind on bills. It is possible to get financial assistance in the way of a loan. There are hundreds of loan services that can assist you with this but the key thing to remember is that it is a LOAN, not a gift so you will have to pay it back sometimes with interest which will come from your settlement. This is why some attorneys will advise you against getting one unless you absolutely cannot survive without it.
Trusting your personal injury lawyer, like from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC, is important so if you are having doubts about how long the process is taking let them know. Have a conversation with your attorney and keep in mind that no two cases are the same. Having patience and an open mind when going through the process is important. It’s the attorney’s job to guide you through this process so they should be willing and able to answer any questions. While attorneys are good and reading the law they cannot read your mind so ask your questions, get your answers and stay informed.