If you have a personal injury claim, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can advise you on the potential value of your case. You should also ask them about how your personal injury settlement would be paid out and about any costs and fees that would be taken out first.
There are many different points in a personal injury case at which the case can be settled. Most New York personal injury claims end in a settlement instead of a trial. Accepting a known sum can sometimes be wiser than seeking more but risking losing at trial. You can settle your claim in mediation or private negotiation before a judge or jury decides your case. You can settle your claim any time after the accident, even while a jury is deliberating.
How Do the Parties Negotiate?
A skilled New York personal injury attorney can assess the value of your case. We gather information about your lost wages, past and anticipated medical bills, pain and suffering, and property damage. Then, using our experience, knowing what juries have awarded in cases like yours or the settlement value of similar cases, we present the other side with a settlement demand.
Sometimes negotiations progress informally. But sometimes, the parties need the help of a neutral third-party mediator to help them resolve the case.
Preparing and Signing the Settlement Agreement and Release
Once the parties agree on a mutually satisfactory resolution, they prepare a contract that acts as a settlement agreement and general release of all claims. If you have hired an attorney to represent you, we will help prepare the agreement to make sure it fully protects you. The defense attorney or the defendant’s insurance company will draft the release if you do not have an attorney. Settlement agreements can be long and complex. We advise you seek counsel from a seasoned New York personal injury attorney before signing one.
Once both sides agree to the terms of the settlement agreement, they can sign it. Although it is not required by the state, your signature should be notarized. Once you sign, you have accepted and agree to abide by all the terms.
The Settlement Amount is Paid Out
After the parties sign the settlement agreement, the other side, usually the insurance company, writes one or more checks described in the settlement agreement. Typically, the check is payable to you and your attorney and delivered to your attorney. An insurance company can generally cut a check within a few weeks. If you need it sooner, that is something an attorney can negotiate for you as part of a settlement agreement.
In most situations, your attorney will deposit the check in the law firm’s client trust account, wait a short while for the check to clear, pay the firm’s costs and fees, and distribute the remainder to you. Our clients know exactly what to expect in fees and expenses and what they will net after a settlement. At Hach & Rose, LLP, we do not charge our clients unless they receive compensation.
Sometimes someone may place a lien on your settlement. A lien is a legal right to the first part of your settlement proceeds. A lien generally comes from a prior attorney, medical provider, or insurance company that paid you benefits for the injury it wants to recover. Some people may also need to pay off child support liens before they recover the rest of their settlement.
After attorneys fees and costs, and after the liens have been paid, you will receive the balance of your settlement in a check. Although personal injury settlements are not generally taxable, check with your attorney to determine whether you must pay taxes on any portion of your settlement.
Are There Exceptions to the Typical Timeline?
Most personal injury settlements are paid as described above. Payment will generally take three to six weeks after the parties agree to settle. But that does not apply to wrongful death cases or cases settled on a child’s behalf. In those cases, a court must approve the settlement, causing the process to take longer.
Can A Personal Injury Attorney Help Me with My Settlement?
Absolutely. We highly recommend that anyone settling a personal injury claim first consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Our team at Hach & Rose, LLP in New York City can help you evaluate your case, determine a reasonable settlement, and then help you pursue the compensation you deserve so you can move forward with your life.