You and your lawyer have worked together to reach a settlement after your car accident or other type of personal injury case. But after your personal injury case has been settled, you may be asking: How long does it take to get a settlement payment? The answer to how long it takes to get money after a case is settled will depend on several factors. While rough estimates usually put the amount of time to receive settlement money around four to six weeks after a case it settled, the amount of time leading up to settlement will also vary. There are multiple factors to consider when asking how long it takes to get a settlement check.
The content of this article will provide general information about the settlement payment process in West Virginia, but it is always best to bring specific questions regarding your own case to your personal injury attorney. As always, please feel welcomed to contact the team of legal experts at DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC for further information.
Timeline of the Settlement Process After Injury
In order to determine how long after a settlement you get paid, you also need to know how long your personal injury case will take. When you and your lawyer begin working together to file a personal injury claim, your goal is to reach a settlement with the opposing party. Only a small percentage of personal injury cases go to trial, the majority settling out of court. If your case does end up going to trial, that will certainly impact the amount of time it takes to get settlement money. But in most situations, you can expect that your case will most likely reach a settlement without going to court.
After filing a personal injury claim, an insurance company has a limited amount of time to pay or deny the claim. West Virginia laws dictate the timelines for insurance companies processing claims. These laws protect consumers from being subject to manipulative and deceptive insurance company practices that prolong the process unreasonably in an effort to avoid making payments.
In West Virginia, the deadline for insurance companies when processing claims is usually 30 to 40 days, depending on factors like when and how a claim was submitted. This amount of time may be extended if there are complicating factors such as a claim error, or other payers or parties involved. The insurance company will also have a window of opportunity to request additional evidence, if needed, to support your claim. Having a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer is essential to making sure all the correct steps are taken, your damages are fully calculated, your claim is adequately supported by evidence, and that any unnecessary delays are avoided.
One of the reasons a personal injury case takes a significant amount of time to reach a settlement is that, without time, you may not be aware of all the damages you should be seeking. Imagine this scenario: You are involved in a car accident, and come away with some minor neck pain. But after a week or two of discomfort and limited mobility, you go back to a physician for further tests and find that you need a substantial amount of physical therapy—maybe even surgery—to heal properly. After months of therapy your injury is finally showing signs of recovery. But now, you’re saddled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses from an accident caused by another driver. This is one of the reasons that insurance companies have been known to try to rush accident victims into a settlement. The true cost of their injuries is probably not yet known, and a low offer may seem reasonable, even if it’s not.
Your personal injury lawyer will devote the time necessary to fully understanding the way your life has been impacted the injury. Only in this way will they be able to get you the compensation you need and deserve. Once this amount has been accurately calculated, a good lawyer will make sure that you are awarded this sum of money promptly and without delay. Settlement money isn’t just an abstract concept—it’s something you need to pay bills and live your life as you would have before the accident. Calculating damages will mean evaluating many details following the accident, such as:
- Bills for hospital and doctor’s visits, medical treatments, prescription medications, and therapy
- Cost of future medical care
- Lost wages from missed work, including benefits
- Loss of future income
- Permanent disability, if applicable
- Property damage expenses, such as the cost to fix your vehicle after a car accident
- Out-of-pocket expenses, such as transportation or childcare costs
- Emotional trauma and pain and suffering due to the accident
Gathering proof of all of these expenses can be a difficult process, and your personal injury lawyer will need to work tirelessly and creatively to make sure an insurance company has no room to deny you the payment you are justified in receiving. Your legal representative will then send the settlement demand to the insurance company, including all calculated damages and the total amount of compensation you are asking to be awarded.
The insurance company will need to evaluate and respond to the claim within the legal timeframe, but there could be complications at this stage, including demands for more evidence, contests of liability, disputes about comparative negligence, and negotiations regarding the settlement amount. A good lawyer will defend you from being taken advantage of, and make sure the rightful amount of compensation is ultimately settled upon. When that settlement is at last reached, you will likely be asked to sign a release form, and a check will be mailed to your attorney, usually within four to six weeks. After deducting their attorney’s fees, your lawyer will send you a check for the final settlement payment.
Getting the Settlement Money You Need in West Virginia
If you are looking for more information about how to file a personal injury claim in West Virginia, we invite you to reach out to our office to begin a discussion about how our lawyers may be able to help you. When you make the decision to take legal action after an injury, it is usually because your life has been significantly altered. When potential clients come to us for the first time, they are facing some the most difficult challenges they have ever experienced in their lives. We see our clients during the most devastating times—when they have been severely hurt, have lost the ability to work, are faced suddenly with permanent disability, or have lost a loved one to the negligent actions of another party.
As personal injury lawyers, we at DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC are in a position to help people when they need it most. Personal injury law is a valuable tool to help victims of negligence and wrongdoing stand up and hold accountable those who cause harm to others. Although a lawyer can never truly recover what has been taken from you, they can defend you from the injustice of being forced to live with the extreme financial repercussions of someone else’s error. Settlement money is not only a representation of justice being carried out. For many people, it is a means to quality medical care, the ability to pay their rent or mortgage, a way to access transportation after their car has been totaled, and a guarantee that they and their family will be provided for, even when their ability to obtain stable income has been taken away.
For those reasons, it is our goal that every client we represent receives full and fair compensation in as timely a manner as possible. Contact our office if you are in need of compassionate legal representation after an injury.