The time after an accident can be very stressful. On top of the challenges of healing from injuries, you may be experiencing anxiety over medical costs or other expenses you are facing. Because many people miss work due to their injuries or even find themselves disabled after an accident, the question of how to pay those growing bills can loom large.
For many, a fair settlement payout can provide an answer to their financial issues. Understanding the process for paying out settlements can help you know what to expect and give you an idea of the timeline involved. It may seem tempting to accept a quick settlement offer from the insurance company. However, you should always consult with a lawyer before agreeing to any settlement because the initial offers are often not made with your best interests in mind.
What Are the Main Steps in the Settlement Payment Process?
Once you have reached an agreement on a settlement amount, there are four basic steps to a settlement payout in California:
- A settlement release form is signed: You must agree to and sign a legally binding document outlining the compensation you will receive for giving up your right to pursue further legal action against the defendant and their insurance.
- The insurance company mails a check to your lawyer: Your lawyer will carefully inspect the payment for any issues and place the check into a designated account for safekeeping until all legal matters have been resolved.
- All your outstanding bills are settled: If you have any liens from medical bills, these must be paid first. Your lawyer will also deduct your legal fees. You will receive a detailed accounting of these transactions.
- You receive your compensation: After all necessary fees and bills have been handled, your lawyer will mail you a check for your remaining settlement amount.
What Are Your Payment Options for Receiving Your Settlement?
When it comes time to receive your settlement, you have two options for payment: a lump-sum payment or a structured settlement. In a lump-sum payment, you receive the entire settlement at once. Some people prefer this option because it gives them immediate control over their funds, but for others, it may be overwhelming and potentially increases the risk of financial mismanagement. With a structured settlement, your funds are paid to you in equal installments over time, ensuring that you will have income in the future. Your lawyer can assist you in deciding which payment plan is right for your needs.
Why Is It Crucial to Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney Before Accepting a Settlement Agreement?
As for-profit businesses, insurance companies don’t have your best interests at heart. They often want you to sign a quick settlement for a low amount to reduce their own losses. Once you sign a settlement agreement, you are legally bound to it, even if you realize later that it will not be enough to cover all your expenses. An experienced personal injury lawyer can ensure that you understand your options, and they will fight to get you the settlement you deserve. Contact our office today for a free consultation on your personal injury case: (949) 749-7402.