It may seem that winning a car accident lawsuit would be the end of your problems. However, car accident settlements may not arrive right away. The courts have put in place rules that govern the receipt of funds as well as the right of the defendant to pay the funds. Here’s an overview of what will happen after you win your case.
The Difference Between a Settlement and a Judgment
Not all car accident disputes make it to court. Oftentimes, insurance companies reach out-of-court settlements to save time and money. These proceedings are overseen by a mediator or arbitrator appointed by the courts. Legal documents of the terms are still drafted and further litigation can be pursued if the terms are not met.
A settlement may also occur during the pre-trial phase of the case. Sometimes, insurance adjusters may suggest that you agree to a settlement within the first weeks following an accident. However, the choice is up to you and your attorney. Parties usually have 15-30 days to pay a settlement to the other party. If they fail to do so, the settlement will start to accrue interest and further legal action may be taken to secure your funds.
If your case does go to court, the result of the court’s decision is called a judgment. A judge or jury decides the amount of damages a plaintiff can receive. After a judgment, the other party reserves the right to file an appeal which prevents them from paying the settlement money. The defendant typically has 30-60 days to file a motion of appeal with the courts. This suspends the current court order until another one can take place.
When the Other Party Doesn’t Pay
Insurance companies normally pay damages on time and in full to the other party. However, this isn’t always the case with companies or individual drivers. You may have a hard time collecting your settlement funds from certain parties. This is can be caused by a plethora of reasons, but the legal system can remedy the situation.
Seizure of Property
The courts can seize the property of the losing party for failure to pay the judgment. This includes all personal property such as real estate, property, etc. They will put a lien against the property until the party has made agreements to pay the judgment.
Individuals that fail to pay a judgment may have their wages garnished by the court. The courts will automatically deduct 25% from each paycheck. The amount automatically gets transferred into the account of the plaintiff.
Courts may also freeze the accounts of companies that fail to pay a judgment. During this process, the bank is forced to hand over the settlement amount to the collector.
Finding a Greensboro Car Accident Attorney
You may still need a lawyer to help you collect settlement money or to represent you during an appeal. Look no further than Lewis & Keller. We have offices located in Winston-Salem and Greensboro for your convenience. Contact our Greensboro car accident attorney for a free case evaluation.