What to consider in a St. Louis car accident settlement includes: what you need in terms of compensation, how much time you are willing to dedicate, and how an attorney can help. If your queries need answering, it is time to call an attorney who is experienced with advocating for victims’ rights in and out of court. An attorney can work hard with the goal of obtaining maximum compensation for your injuries in mind.
What You Should Take Into Account When Considering a Settlement
When considering a settlement, there are a number of factors you should take into account before agreeing to a settlement amount. When a settlement is reached, the settlement amount is called the gross settlement. From that settlement amount, there are several things that are deducted before arriving at the net settlement amount, which is the amount the plaintiff receives. Plaintiffs should talk with their attorney about those items that are deducted, namely:
- Attorneys fees (usually 33.3%, but that figure could be more or less depending upon the agreement you have with your lawyer)
- Attorneys expenses
- Liens that have to be repaid to medical providers.
Another issue that plaintiffs should be aware of are taxes. Although this is not tax advice and all plaintiffs should consult with a CPA or tax attorney about their settlements, for the most part, settlement amounts that are compensation for personal injuries are not taxable. However, if any part of the settlement amount is reimbursement for lost wages, then that amount is considered taxable by the IRS and must be declared on your taxes.
For injured parties who are receiving assistance from Missouri HealthNet (Medicaid) they must understand and get advice on the implications that may exist if a settlement amount makes them ineligible to continue receiving Medicaid benefits. It is important to have a discussion with your lawyer about these issue before agreeing to any settlement amount.
There is a popular saying that is appropriate when talking about settlements: “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”. A settlement takes the uncertainty out of continuing a lawsuit to trial and putting the decision in the hands of a jury. Sometimes juries see the evidence differently than lawyers and their verdicts don’t represent how plaintiffs see their injuries. In settling your personal injury case, an injured party may believe that they did not receive the compensation they believe they deserve, but they have taken all of the uncertainty out of the case.
The Time It Takes to Receive a Settlement
There is no general length of time it takes to receive a settlement. Settlements may occur pre-suit, which is before the case is filed, or settlements may transpire when a jury returns with their verdict. In Missouri car accident cases, a large percentage of settlements take place before the case is even filed. Many other cases are settled within 6 to 12 months after a case is filed.
Few cases settle after the trial has begun although it is possible. Once a case is settled, it usually takes about thirty days to complete the paperwork and issue the settlement check.
Potential Issues You May Encounter When Negotiating for Compensation
Some of the issues that are typically encountered when negotiating a settlement include the defense being unwilling to pay what you believe the case is worth, and that is certainly going to factor in the amount of money that is offered through the settlement. You need to be aware that settlements may not always compensate you for your losses as much as you believe they should. You should have in-depth conversations with a lawyer and be willing to take the case to trial if there is not a successful resolution.
Liens are associated with the medical care provided, so if a person is injured in a car accident and obtains medical care, those medical providers may assert a lien against any kind of settlement that the plaintiff receives in order to get their money paid back. Entities that pay for medical care that results from negligent conduct pursue liens against settlements because they do not believe that it is fair for an injured party to keep money that partially reimburses the plaintiff for the medical care he or she received as a result of a third party’s negligent conduct.
If the injured party received substantial medical treatment, the lien for that medical care may be large. A large medical lien may affect the ability to get a case settled because the lien amount is deducted from the amount of the gross settlement along with the lawyer’s expenses and the lawyer’s fees, leaving a net settlement amount that may be less than the plaintiff is willing to accept. In cases where liens are an impediment to achieving a successful settlement, the lawyer can try to negotiate with the lienholders to reduce the liens and maximize the net settlement amount for the injured party.
Steps to Take to Recieve a Settlement in a Timely Manner
To ensure you receive your settlement is received in a timely manner, it always helps if you make sure that you follow your doctor’s advice to the letter. You should not miss any follow-up medical appointments or if one has to be missed, it should be immediately rescheduled. Those who follow medical advice and treatment show the defense that you are somebody who is interested in getting better and not trying to seek more than what your case is really worth.
Reach Out to a Trial Lawyer Today
Because of the severity of your injuries, a trial may not be your best option for obtaining maximum financial recovery. A St. Louis car accident settlement and what you need to consider about it includes your end goals. If you still need compensation after your wreck, you need to work with an experienced trial lawyer. Call today to start your confidential consultation.