While it is not an absolute legal obligation, the first step that you should take to get paid after a car accident is to call a personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer will begin your case by speaking with you and learning more about what happened. They will then investigate your car accident and gather the proof you need to show that the other driver is legally responsible for paying you. Finally, they will review your documentation and speak to you so they can come up with an estimate of what you may be due in a car accident settlement.
Once your attorney has done the legwork, they will advise you on the best way to seek financial compensation.
There are a few main ways to be paid after a car accident:
- You can file a claim with your insurance company or the responsible driver’s auto insurance company and negotiate a settlement.
- You can file a lawsuit against the responsible driver in court if you meet certain criteria.
With either option, you are dealing with the insurance company.
You May Need to Negotiate Compensation Over Time
Filing the claim or lawsuit is just the beginning of the process. The insurance company may not get back to you immediately, offering you the exact amount of money you seek. Insurance companies make car accident settlements like any other business negotiation. Both sides will start with their position and must move off their work over time.
Chances are that your lawyer will need to accept multiple offers that only partially pay you what you deserve. You would need to counter with your offer. Eventually, you would reach a settlement agreement, provided that the insurance company accepts liability for the car accident.
You May Need to File a Lawsuit to Get Compensation
Your lawyer may advise you to start in court with a lawsuit, although you usually begin by filing an insurance claim. There are several reasons why you may need to go to court:
- The insurance company denied your claim entirely because they believed their driver was not at fault.
- The insurance company believes that you were partially at fault for the accident, and you dispute their findings.
- You simply cannot get an acceptable settlement offer from the insurance company, and your lawyer needs to up the pressure.
Even if you have filed a car accident lawsuit, it is still very rare for your case to go to trial. Neither you nor the insurance company have a strong motivation to take the risk of going in front of a jury. Very few personal injury lawsuits end up at trial.
How You Are Paid Once the Car Accident Settlement Is Signed
Once you have reached an agreement, your lawyer and the insurance company will negotiate the actual language of the settlement. You would need to sign a release stating that you will not return to the insurance company for more money.
Then, it may take days to weeks for the insurance company to issue the check. Those entitled to receive part of the money, such as your lawyer and health insurance provider, will be paid from the proceeds.
Contact a New Jersey Car Accident Lawyer at Kitrick, McWeeney & Wells, LLC for Legal Help
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact a New Jersey car accident lawyer at Kitrick, McWeeney & Wells, LLC to learn more about your legal rights. Call us at 732-920-8383 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Manasquan and Brick, New Jersey, we serve clients in Middlesex County, Atlantic County, Mercer County, Monmouth County, and Ocean County.