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How Long Does It Take to Get Compensated After a Car Accident?

Published March 16, 2018 by Bruce Millar
How Long Does It Take to Get Compensated After a Car Accident?

A car accident is not a pleasant experience for anyone. It ends up creating financial burdens for both the accident victim and the at-fault driver. The at-fault driver may end up with higher auto insurance premiums.  The accident victim will most likely have to have their car repaired, which will mean they’ll have to rent a car, and may suffer financially with medical payments and with other common car accident financial burdens. Therefore, knowing when that check is coming to compensate the burden is a good question. We took a look at each situation and broke down what we usually see. Take a look:

Have you been involved in a fender-bender in which there are no serious injuries? Or have you suffered a personal injury accident in which you sustained only minor injuries? You and the other person may want to resolve the matter informally without involving an insurance company and without filing a lawsuit. The at-fault or responsible party pays you an agreed-upon compensation amount in return for you agreeing not to take further legal action against him or her.

Resolving your dispute in this manner has several advantages for you: You receive compensation on the spot or usually within a few days and do not need to find an Atlanta personal injury attorney. However, beware of accepting a compensation offer in this manner in which the other party agrees to pay you at a later date. In such a case, your agreement should be reduced to writing and signed. If the other person asks for you to sign a document before giving you the agreed-upon compensation, be sure to read it carefully or have an attorney review it so that you are fully informed of the agreement’s terms and what legal rights – if any – you have to pursue additional compensation.

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It is common for an insurance company to contact you within a few days (sometimes the same day) from when you contact their office to report a claim or loss. Your claim will be assigned to a claims adjustor who is responsible for evaluating the “worth” of your claim and making a settlement offer to you. While there is no hard-and-fast timeframe within which an insurance company must make an offer to you, most insurance companies want to resolve claims quickly and will make an offer within a few days or (in some cases) weeks of the accident. The precise amount of time you must wait before receiving an offer from the insurance company will depend on how long it takes the adjustor to evaluate your case. Once an offer is accepted, the insurance company will usually tender payment to you within a few days (in most cases no more than 30 days from the date the offer is accepted).

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If you and the other party agree to settle your case out of court, the settlement agreement reached between you and the other party will contain the terms and conditions of payment. The parties can agree that the at-fault party will make payment upon any terms that the parties wish. Typically, the parties agree to either a lump-sum cash settlement (in which case payment is usually made within 30 days or so of the date the settlement is agreed to) or periodic payments (in which case the responsible party makes monthly or semi-monthly payments over a specific time period, until the agreed-upon settlement amount is paid in full).

It is important to seek legal representation before agreeing to a settlement. In a settlement you typically waive your right to pursue the other party for additional compensation. Therefore, it is important that the settlement amount you agree to takes into account not only the expenses and losses you have already suffered but also those expenses you are reasonably likely to suffer in the future as well (ongoing medical needs and decreased future earnings, for instance).

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By the time you obtain a judgment in your favor from a court, you have likely waited for weeks or months (or, in some extreme cases, years) for your case to be resolved. When the court announces a judgment in your favor, the court will also set the terms and timeline within which the other party is to pay you. Depending on the financial resources of the other party, the court may order either a lump sum payment within a certain number of weeks or it may allow the other party to make periodic payments of a certain amount until the judgment is paid in full. In either case, it can take 30 days or more before you begin receiving payments from the other party.

If the other party does not pay according to the terms set by the court, there are ways to bring this to the court’s attention and demand the other party make immediate payment. This requires the filing of another action and asking the court for permission to go after the assets or other funds of the party to satisfy the judgment. The good news is that if this becomes necessary you may be entitled to recover your attorney’s fees if the failure to pay is deliberate and willful; the bad news is that this can result in an even greater delay in receiving your compensation.

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If you prevailed in court or entered into a settlement agreement and the other party fails to pay you compensation according to the court’s orders or settlement terms, you may be able to enforce your rights to compensation through either a contempt of court action or a breach of contract action. Both actions require the filing of additional documents with the court and require you to show that the party who was supposed to pay you has not done so. If you win, you may be entitled to recover not only the compensation you were originally supposed to receive but also interest, court fees, attorney’s fees in bringing the additional action, and/or punitive damages.

Many people are frightened about the prospect of filing a personal injury lawsuit because they fear what might happen if they are not successful in settling their case or recovering compensation in court. Money should not be a barrier to you exercising your legal rights. It is common for personal injury or car accident attorneys to take your case on a contingency fee basis. This means that your Georgia personal injury attorney does not receive a fee for his or her services unless he or she is able to recover compensation on your behalf.

At The Millar Law Firm, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are committed to helping you receive the compensation you need for your injuries as quickly as possible. We take time to understand your needs and desires and then formulate a strategy designed to help you get the most compensation possible in the shortest time frame. Contact us at (404) 620-4301 today.

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