How are My Car Accident Settlement Proceeds Distributed?
In the movies, when someone settles their car accident case, they walk out of the courtroom a rich man. Their lawyer tells them to stop by their office later that afternoon and they’ll give them their settlement proceeds.
In the real world, it doesn’t happen like this. When you do finally settle your case, the defendant doesn’t pay you that same day. Usually, the settlement will give the defendant a period of time (usually thirty days) to pay you. And when they do pay, they usually give the check to your car wreck lawyer in Houston, not you.
The settlement check could be made out to one of three people. You may receive one check made out to both you and your lawyer. You both sign off on this check and it’s deposited into your Houston car accident lawyer’s trust account. They have to pay any medical bills or liens before you receive your portion of the settlement proceeds.
The other thing that may happen is you get two separate checks: one made out to the medical providers and one made out to you. The check for medical bills will be sent directly to the third-party provider. The other check will be deposited into your lawyer’s account. Once it clears, they’ll take their contingency fee and you’ll get the rest.
This process can easily take anywhere from 30-45 days. You have to be patient. Keep in mind. Your Houston car accident lawyer had to work for months or years to settle or win your case. You can’t expect to receive your money in one day.
How Much Will Your Settlement Proceeds Be?
One thing you need to consider is that your car accident settlement may not be as much as you think it will be. In order to settle your case, your Houston car accident lawyer is going to have to make some concessions. For example, your pain and suffering may be less than you initially demanded. Or, you may not get 100% of your lost future earnings.
The whole point of settling your case is to find a number that works for both sides. The defendant isn’t going to settle for the full demand. If that were the case, they’d just wait and take their chances at trial.
Your Houston accident lawyer isn’t going to take less than what you need to cover your out of pocket expenses. For example, if you have $150,000 in medical bills and $10,000 in car repairs, they’re going to make sure your share of the settlement is at least this much. Now, you will have to use your settlement proceeds to pay back your medical bills. In fact, there’s a good chance your medical providers have already filed a lien against your lawsuit.
Your Houston Car Accident Lawyer Will Reimburse the Medical Providers
Like it or not, your Houston car accident lawyer has to pay back the medical providers. If your personal health insurance covers your injuries, they will have to be reimbursed. In order to guarantee that this happens, they’ll probably file a lien against your lawsuit. This means they’ll have to be paid right off the top.
There is a good chance your medical providers will be willing to take less than the full amount. If your total settlement won’t even cover the medical bills 100%, they will probably agree to a lesser amount. Your attorney will negotiate settlements with them. They’ll try to get these down as much as possible so you can get more of your settlement money for yourself.
You have to remember – it’s not your lawyer’s job to make you rich. It’s their job to make you whole. The goal is to make sure that you don’t have to pay out of pocket for an accident that wasn’t your fault. You can’t expect to win millions of dollars if you didn’t actually suffer millions of dollars in damages.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Houston, Texas
When you first meet with your Houston car accident attorney, you’ll have two questions. First, what is your case worth? And, second, when will you get your money? No good attorney will give you an exact answer to either of these questions. They can’t. Every case is different.
One thing that is always true is that having a skilled Houston, TX personal injury lawyer by your side gives you a better chance of recovering damages. This is why it’s a good idea to call a skilled lawyer today rather than later.