If you’re attempting to receive compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident, prepare for a long fight, or at least a long wait. Any legal process takes time, from a few weeks to a few years. It is often the case that people not at fault in a car accident do not see their money for months after the initial case is filed, and sometimes it can take even longer than that. Car accident attorney Robert White of Odessa, Texas wants clients to have realistic expectations for their case, and to plan accordingly. A few guidelines are listed below.
The Time Frame Depends Largely on the People Involved
Although you may think that a lawsuit is the only option for receiving damages, another option is an injury settlement. An injury settlement is an agreement between all parties involved in a case that determines what damages should be paid and when. It is typically resolved before a trial is initiated. Usually an injury settlement has a deadline of about 20 to 30 days for payment to be issued.
An amount of compensation determined by a court is referred to as a judgment. Even when the judge or jury rules in your favor, the judgment amount is not obligated to be paid until the decision is finalized. Timelines vary from state to state, but the losing party has approximately ten to fifteen days to motion for a retrial, and 30 to 60 days to motion for an appeal. If these deadlines pass and no motions are filed, then you can expect your payment soon after. However, be wary if the losing party files for an appeal. Appeals can take years, and the decision can be in your opponent’s favor.
Insurance companies, surprisingly, are known to be very easy to work with in terms of payment time. Due to the nature of insurance companies, they are well-versed in legal matters and will decide fairly quickly whether to file a motion for a retrial or an appeal. If they decide not to file, payments are typically made within 15 to 45 days after the final ruling.
You Have Options for Responding to Late Payments
Settlement agreements almost always include a stipulation regarding late payments. This usually allows for the collector of said payment to either add interest which compounds over the time that the payment is not made, or even for the collecting party to file a lawsuit and null the agreement.
In the event that a judgment is not paid on time, you may use the legal system to collect it. This is known as an “execution” and there are a few different ways this can be done. Most commonly done is the act of garnishment. Garnishment means that a bank is legally obligated to withdraw the judgment amount from the accounts of either the corporation or individual that is refusing to pay. For individuals, wages may also be garnished at a certain percentage until the judgment is fully paid.