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If the insurance company provides a settlement offer that you accept, you will have a chance to review the details and sign a settlement statement and release of future claims. That paperwork will be sent to the insurance company so they can issue the settlement funds. Your attorney will work with medical providers and any other lienholders to negotiate unpaid bills. Once the settlement check is received from the insurer the money will be used to pay your attorney fee, medical expenses, liens/loans and case expenses. The remaining money will be paid directly to you via check or ACH/wire transfer.
A personal injury lien is a third party’s right to take some or all of your settlement to satisfy repayment for an advance of money or services. In a personal injury case, this is most frequently a cash advance or medical treatment on lien.
Treating on liens means the healthcare provider does not ask for any up front payment for the treatment. Instead, the injured party or their attorney signs a document guaranteeing the provider will be paid from the personal injury settlement (usually before you are).
After a crash the most important thing to do is ensure you and everyone in your car are safe. If you are safe and able, you should get photos of the scene and of the vehicles and exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver or drivers. You should try to get any information that proves the accident happened and document as many details as possible.
The value of a personal injury case is determined by the severity of the case, largely tied to the injuries. PI cases are calculated using the medical bills, lost wages, future medical treatment and pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is the least predictable number in this calculation. There’s no set equation, but this number is a monetary way to compensate for the pain, inconvenience and impact to your life caused by your injuries. Since the settlement amount is based on your bills and pain and suffering, once a settlement amount is agreed to, the proceeds will be used to pay your medical bills, other liens, case expenses and attorney fees—the remainder will be sent to you.
In order to pursue a personal injury settlement, there must be another party responsible for the accident who is able to personally, or more commonly through insurance, provide compensation. You must also have suffered damages in the form of a physical injury or emotional trauma.
Every case is different, and it really depends on several key factors that we discuss here.
But in general, our research shows that the average successful personal injury case takes around 1.5 years from the day the accident occurs to the day the injured person receives their check. But remember, this is an average. Some cases settle in as little as a few weeks, while others can take much longer or not settle at all.
Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency model. This means that you pay nothing up front, there’s no hourly rate for the time the lawyer spends on your case; instead the lawyer will take a percentage of your settlement if it settles. If you happen to lose your case, you owe nothing.
Diminished value (DV) is the cost of your car’s loss of reputation (yes, your car has a reputation) following an accident. Even if your car is repaired by a quality and qualified professional using all the necessary procedures to restore it back to its pre-accident condition, potential buyers won’t be willing to pay the same price. That difference in the pre-accident value of your car to the post-repair value of the car is how diminished value is calculated.
If your health insurance company paid your medical bills after your accident, they can file a claim to recover what they paid from your settlement later. This is called subrogation. Many health insurance policies have a subrogation clause in the fine print. How much they can recover depends on the policy, and Mighty and your attorney can help you evaluate your policy so you can choose the best path forward.
It’s possible your auto insurance policy includes Medical Payments Coverage (Med Pay). If so, Med Pay will provide a specific amount of coverage for your (and your passengers’) medical expenses from a car accident regardless of who was at fault. These can help pay for hospital stays, medication, physical therapy, and more.
Med Pay is automatically included in your policy if you live in Pennsylvania, Maine, or New Hampshire.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is similar to Med Pay but also includes lost wages and other expenses arising from a car accident, regardless of who was at fault.
PIP is automatically included in your policy if you live in one of these states: Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah.
Yes, definitely. If you don’t have health insurance or the ability to pay directly, you have the option to treat on a lien or letter of protection (LOP). This means the healthcare provider does not ask for insurance or money up front, and instead you or your lawyer signs an agreement promising to pay the provider back from the personal injury settlement before you receive your share.
Note of caution: treating on lien is often more expensive than going through health insurance or paying up front. That said, you'll only have to pay if and when your case settles.
Every case is different. Your attorney’s reputation, how far along your case is, and the individual merits of your case all factor into what financing companies might offer.
Plaintif financing rates tend to be higher than loans or credit card advances. One reason for this is that legal financing is non-recourse. This means that if your case loses, you owe nothing.
Rates vary from finance company to finance company. The typical ballpark cost could roughly equal 40% per year. That means if a financier advanced you $5,000 against your case and your case took 2 years, you’d pay back the $5,000 you received plus a $4,000 return.
A plaintiff financing advance is when you sell or assign a portion of your settlement to a financial company in exchange for upfront money. They are almost always structured to be non-recourse and not a loan, meaning if your case loses, you keep the money and pay nothing back. If you win, you reimburse the money plus any fees and further returns you agreed to at the time of the advance. Usually, these fees and returns are more expensive than a typical loan or even credit card interest.
While lawsuits can compensate you for expenses incurred as a result of a defendant’s actions, this can take a while, usually months or even years. During that time, expenses can pile up in the form of rent, bills, food, medical costs, etc., many of which have accumulated as a result of the events which led to your claim. Injured people use financing to help bridge the gap between their immediate needs and an expected settlement.
Financing companies are often willing to give more money as long as the amount advanced remains below 10% of the value. If the first company you get financing from doesn’t approve you for more financing, but you find another company that does, that company may need to “buyout” the first financing company since financing companies often prohibit multiple fundings on a single case. These “buyouts” are expensive as they can often compound the rates and fees you pay.