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Where's The Personal Injury Money?

by Theresa Hoffman

When an injury by a careless driver has affected your life for the worse, you are probably owed money damages. There are two ways to be paid money damages. You may be fortunate enough to settle your case or you may have to go to court and be awarded a judgment. For you to be paid, there must be a source of funds. Read on to find out more.

The Source of Funds

Before you can ask for damages, your attorney evaluates the driver and their insurance situation. In most cases, drivers depend on their insurance to cover your medical expenses and other money damages. If they are not insured and you live in a state that does not have no-fault laws, the only way to be paid for your accident is to sue the driver directly. If you win in court, the judge will use the following means in an attempt to provide you with compensation:

  1. Real estate holdings of the driver
  2. Bank and investment accounts of the driver
  3. Garnishment of the driver's wages

Settlement Offers

When dealing with the other person's insurance company, a settlement can be the best-case scenario. You will be paid immediately without the need to go to court, which might be months down the road. In most cases, the settlement that you and the insurance company agree on specifies that the funds be made available to you within about 30 days. If you and your attorney have a contingency plan in place as a means of paying your legal bills, the fee is generally provided to the attorney directly from the insurance company.

Court Judgments

Not all cases settle and some cases end up in court. The chances of a case settling depends on the complexity of the case and whether or not fault is in question. If you win your case in court, the insurance company has a set period of time to pay you. If the driver did not have insurance but has the financial means to pay you, the judge will order the defendant to pay you. The judge has the power to freeze the assets (bank levy) of the defendant until the court judgment is paid and to garnish their wages.

Your attorney is not likely to take your case unless you have a good chance of winning, so a representation agreement should be a sign that your case is worth pursuing. To learn more about where the funds come from to pay personal injury damages, speak to an attorney like those at Pollack & Zuckerman Attorneys at Law.