How Do I Get Paid if I Win My Car Accident Case?

When you are involved in a car accident case, the jury or judge may rule in your favor and grant you a financial award for damages. While this is good news, it, unfortunately, doesn’t mean the legal battles are over. Now you have to try to collect what the court ordered the other party to pay.

How Quickly Do I Receive the Funds?

If your claim went through a settlement process, you and the other party likely agreed on a timeline for payment. The parties can come to any agreement they want, but 20 to 30 days is a typical length of time. Settlements often include a provision that if the payor doesn’t meet that deadline, the payee may be able to start adding interest on the unpaid balance. Depending on the amount of money in question, this may be enough to get the payor to pay.

If your claim went through a trial that resulted in a judgment in your favor, the payment timeline maybe longer. Most states have laws dictating the payment schedule. The losing party may not pay anything until it decides whether to make a motion for a new trial. Most states allow 10 to 15 days for this filing and at least a few weeks for a judge to issue a ruling on the motions. Another possibility is for the losing party to file an appeal, which is usually due in 30 to 60 days after the verdict. The appealing party usually doesn’t pay anything while an appeal is pending, and some appeals can take years. You wouldn’t receive any money unless and until the court ruled in your favor at the appeal.

What If the Losing Party Doesn’t Pay?

If all the motions and appeals are over and you are dealing with an insurance company that is responsible for payment, you should have the funds within 45 days of the court’s final ruling. Insurance companies want to avoid penalties and interest that can go along with failure to pay on time.

If the losing party is an individual or a corporation that refuses to pay, you may have to execute on the judgment. Here are a few possible steps involved in this:

  • Garnishment involves serving papers on the bank where the person or business holds money. With a properly executed garnishment, the bank is legally obligated to give the funds to the court, which passes them along to you.
  • Individuals may also have their wages garnished, which means that the employer takes money from the paycheck and sends that money to you. In most areas, paycheck garnishments can be up to 25% of the wages.
  • Real estate liens are available in some states. Personal property can be seized in some states as well.

If you need help with collecting or executing on a judgment to get the funds owed to you, contact a knowledgeable and experienced car accident lawyer, like a car accident lawyer in Woodland Hills, CA, today. They can walk you through the steps to successfully get what the court has awarded.

Thanks to Barry P. Goldberg, A Professional Law Corporation for their insight into how to get paid if you win a car accident case.