If you were injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver in Flagstaff or Northern Arizona, you might expect to be treated fairly by the insurance company when you file your claim. Unfortunately, they may do everything they can to deny your claim or try to get you to accept less compensation than you deserve in your settlement.
You will feel a huge sense of relief when you finally settle your claim. However, do not expect a check from the insurance company immediately. Several steps must be completed before you are paid.
How Long Will it Take for You to Finalize Your Auto Crash Settlement?
It can take a long time to settle a car accident case. However, if you want to obtain all the compensation you deserve under Arizona law, you should not accept the insurance company’s first offers. They are probably far less than the full value of your claim. In addition, you should not settle your case until you consult with a skilled car accident lawyer.
Once you negotiate your settlement, you will still need to be patient. It can take four to six weeks before the process of finalizing your settlement is completed and you have received your check.
What Steps Must Be Completed Before You Receive Your Payment?
It can be helpful to understand the steps you will need to take so you know where you are in the process and can move it along if the insurance company is dragging its heels on paying you. Here are the steps you will need to complete:
Signing a Release
The insurance company will first require you to sign a release of all claims form. In this legal document, you agree to waive certain rights in exchange for the agreed-upon payment from the insurance company.
You should not sign a release of all claims form until a lawyer reviews it. Your attorney may need to negotiate some terms in the release before you sign it. While this can take time, your legal rights will be better protected. You must understand the basic clauses in the release, such as:
- Final settlement. The release will provide that this is a final settlement of your claim and that you cannot reopen your case to seek compensation in the future.
- Right to sue. You are waiving your right to file a lawsuit and to have your case decided at a jury trial when you sign the release.
- Entire agreement. The release will provide that it is the entire agreement between you and the insurance company. You need to be sure the document contains all your agreements before you sign it.
Issuing a Check
The insurance company will issue a check after they receive your signed release. However, do not expect the check to be sent out right away. They may have a day of the week or month when checks are issued. This step in the process could take a week or more to complete.
Depositing Your Check
As soon as your attorney receives your payment, they will deposit the check into their client trust account. They understand how anxious you are to receive your settlement proceeds and will try to get your money to you quickly.
Once your check clears, your lawyer will pay any liens on the settlement proceeds, such as medical or other bills you owe. They may negotiate reduced payments with these creditors. While this may make the process take a little longer, it will save you money in the long term.
Paying Attorney Fees and Costs
If you have not been paying litigation costs as they were incurred, your attorney will deduct the costs, such as expert witness fees, medical records costs, and litigation filing fees. They will also take the payment for their attorney fees from your settlement.
Sending You Your Check
The last step in the process is to send you your check or have you go to your attorney’s office to pick it up. Your case is finally completed.
Were you injured in an auto crash in Flagstaff or Northern Arizona? Our experienced personal injury lawyers are here to fight for the compensation and justice you deserve. Call our Flagstaff office at 928-226-0165 or fill out our online form to schedule a free initial consultation to learn more about how we can assist you. You should also take advantage of our free book offer and order our free book, Injured in Northern Arizona: What Happens Next Is Up to You, to start learning about your rights.