Car accidents can feel stressful and downright shocking. No one wakes up thinking they’ll be in a car accident. The unexpected financial toll of paying for medical expenses, damage to your vehicle and property all while you may not be working can leave you wondering how you’ll get paid after a car accident.
How to Get Paid After a Car Crash
Insurance laws vary by state. New Jersey, New York, Florida and a handful of other states have no-fault insurance laws which means that your own insurance pays for medical claims up to a certain amount, regardless of who was at-fault in the accident. In some circumstances, it may be possible for victims to sue an at-fault driver or other entity for losses, like pain and suffering. A car accident lawyer can advise you of your best options for your scenario. Step to take to get paid after an auto accident include:
#1: Seek Medical Care
By going to the emergency room or getting checked out by a doctor, you are starting the healing process as well as creating an evidence trail of your injuries and treatment required. If you don’t seek medical care, insurance companies will not take any claims for injuries seriously. Once you do seek medical treatment, make sure to keep track of all expenses related to your care including medical devices or aids, medications, and transportation to and from appointments.
#2: Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
Personal injury attorneys who specialize in car accidents have the knowledge and experience to best advise you on your options for seeking maximum compensation for your losses. Their training on negligence laws and legal precedents will allow them to formulate a strategy to prove the at-fault party caused the accident. It could be that a third-party suit is in order in situations like a defective car part, an employee driving a work vehicle or truck or a ridesharing vehicle.
If you’re in a no-fault insurance state, just because your own insurance carrier may cover your losses doesn't mean you’ll get paid fairly. Insurance adjusters may look for ways to devalue your claim by saying that a pre-existing condition was to blame for an injury or denying that you need recommended medical care. Particularly in injury cases that require hospitalization or extensive treatment, insurance companies may not be quick to pay for all of your losses. A car accident attorney can guide you through the claims process.
Settlements vs Trials
Most car accident claims end with a settlement. If you’ve retained an attorney, he or she will negotiate back and forth with the insurance company to reach a fair agreement, sometimes before a lawsuit if even filed. Only if a settlement can’t be reached will the lawsuit eventually reach a trial during which a judge or jury will decide the verdict and compensation amounts.
While most claims end in a settlement, that doesn’t mean you should be quick to settle with the insurance company. Insurance adjusters will contact you shortly after an accident looking to settle quickly. Once you agree to a settlement and sign a waiver, you cannot go back and claim further damages or losses. This is why it’s critical that you have a full understanding of your medical condition and prognosis before you accept an offer. In the early days following an accident, you may feel overwhelmed and be tempted by their offer. Don't accept a settlement without talking to an attorney.
How Long Does It Take to Get Paid After a Car Accident?
The car insurance claims and lawsuit process can take as little as a few weeks for minor cases to several years for complicated or high value claims. The severity of your injuries, the availability of evidence and your own perseverance all play into how long it takes to settle a claim. Once you receive a favorable outcome, the actual payment can come in the form of a structured settlement or a lump sum payment.
Just as it sounds, structured settlements are paid in regular intervals while a lump sum is paid all at once. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means they only collect their fees if and after you receive a favorable outcome. Your attorney will receive the settlement check, take out their fees along with any medical debts or liens owed and then send you the remaining amount.
Brandon J. Broderick is Here for You 24/7
We get it. Car accidents can have an impact on your health, well-being, and finances which can cause worry, fear, and anxiety -- for you and your family. The attorneys at Brandon J. Broderick have decades of experience championing for our clients and succeeding, even when other attorneys say there is no case and insurance adjusters deny or devalue your claim.
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we believe in exceptional client care, empathy, and results. That’s what makes us one of the top-rated car accident law firms in the area. With offices in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Florida, we’ve got you covered. We’ve helped people just like you move forward after sustaining an injury that was caused by another’s negligence. Contact us today for a free consultation.