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How Long Does It Take to Receive a Settlement Payment After a Car Accident?

by | Oct 5, 2022 | Injuries, Personal Injury |

When you have been injured by a negligent driver in Houston or San Antonio, you have the right to receive compensation for your losses in a timely manner. Your car accident lawyer can help you understand all of the steps in the claim submission process and the deadlines that apply to the insurance company. One question that is frequently asked is when the claimant can expect to receive a check after signing a settlement.

How Long Does It Take to Receive a Settlement Payment After a Car Accident?

You can expect to receive a check from the other driver’s insurance company within six weeks of settling. Texas personal injury law imposes limits on how long the insurance company can take to approve your claim and issue your payout. Insurance companies that don’t observe the legal deadlines are subject to penalties. If your case was relatively straightforward, you might get your funds less than six weeks after settling.

How Does the Settlement Process Work?

There are several important steps that you, your car accident lawyer, and the insurance company need to take before you can receive your check. Here is what you can expect from the claim submission process, including estimates regarding the length of each stage:

Negotiating the Claim

After you have chosen a car accident lawyer in Houston or San Antonio, he or she will prepare for negotiations with the insurance company. The negotiation phase is extremely important because it determines the value of your claim. Fighting for maximum compensation means your case might take a little longer than if you accepted the insurance company’s first offer, but claimants who negotiate often walk away with significantly more money in the end.

Investigating and negotiating the claim typically takes between a few weeks and several months. Claims involving minor injuries are relatively quick to resolve. The severity of the injuries and the need to bring in expert witnesses can lengthen your case. Accidents involving a government vehicle, a commercial truck, or a rideshare car typically take additional time to investigate. Any fatalities resulting from the accident can also lengthen the investigation.

Reviewing and Settling the Claim

After the insurance company receives your claim, they have between 15 and 45 days to investigate it. If they issue a rejection, you will have the opportunity to begin an appeals process.

Finalizing a settlement on a claim that has been approved requires the claimant to sign the offer and a release. The release states that the claimant cannot reopen the case and request more money from the insurance company at a later date. After you sign off on the settlement, the insurance company must issue your check within five days.

Receiving Your Check

The insurance company will send the check to your car accident lawyer, who will deposit it into an escrow account on your behalf. The escrow account is used to pay the legal fees and any liens on your account, such as unpaid medical bills or child support. If you hired any expert witnesses to testify on your behalf, those individuals will also receive payment from the escrow account.

After all the liens have been settled, your lawyer can send you your payout. Processing the check at the law firm usually takes a few weeks.

Don’t Rush the Settlement Process

When medical bills and other expenses are pressing on you, it can be tempting to seek the fastest way of getting your settlement check. However, settling too soon could cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

The Risk of Accepting the Insurance Company’s First Offer

You might receive an offer from the other driver’s insurance company very soon after the accident, possibly even before you have had time to contact a car accident lawyer. In that situation, you should be very skeptical about the amount of money you are being offered. Insurance companies often try to wrap up claims quickly, hoping to cut their costs by issuing settlements that are too low.

The Risk of Hiring the Wrong Car Accident Lawyer

Some car accident lawyers try to maximize their own profits by pushing their clients to accept settlement offers without negotiating. This practice allows the lawyers to increase the volume of cases they take on, often at the expense of the clients. You should always choose a lawyer who has a track record of taking time with cases and bringing in large sums of money.

The Risk of Settling Before Your Medical Expenses Are Clear

Sometimes, injuries take longer to heal and require more medical treatments than the doctors initially expect. Your car accident lawyer might advise you to wait until you have finished your treatments before you seek compensation. In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years, however, you can petition for an extension if the true extent of your injuries takes time to reveal itself.

Even if you plan to wait on submitting your claim, you should get in touch with a car accident lawyer immediately after the accident. He or she can begin to counsel you on other issues, such as how to handle communications with the insurance company without implicating yourself in the accident.

How to Avoid Delays

While you should be willing to spend a little extra time reaching a settlement if you can receive more money in the end, our lawyers can help you avoid unnecessary delays. Here are some tips that will help you get through the claim submission process efficiently:

Gather Evidence at the Scene of the Crash

The less evidence your car accident lawyer starts with, the longer he or she will need to spend investigating your claim. Before you leave the scene of the crash, take photos and videos that show both cars from multiple angles. Be sure to take down the name of the other driver, along with his or her insurance information. If there were any people who saw the crash take place, ask them for their phone numbers, as well.

Respond to Requests for Documentation Promptly

Insurance companies are allowed to conduct an investigation into the claims they receive, which usually includes requesting additional documents from the claimant. The insurance company is not obligated to issue a verdict on the claim until they have received all of the required information from you. Your car accident lawyer can help you cooperate with the investigation to the extent that you are legally responsible, without disclosing unnecessary information.

Keep Your Statements Minimal

Anything you say about the accident could be used as evidence against you. If your car accident lawyer needs to fight counter-arguments, the amount of money you receive and time required to get your check could be compromised. You are not required to speak with the other driver’s insurance company at all, so you should allow your lawyer to handle communications with the defense. You should also refrain from posting on social media until the case is resolved.

Where Can You Find a Car Accident Lawyer in Houston or San Antonio?

Getting the largest payout possible with a minimal amount of time between settling and receiving a check depends on the lawyer you choose. Our car accident lawyers in Houston or San Antonio will negotiate with the insurance company thoroughly and efficiently, representing your interests at all times. To schedule a free consultation with our legal experts, contact Joe A. Gamez Law Firm, PLC.