Collecting Damages in an Auto Accident Case

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Once an automobile accident case has been settled, either in or out of court, most people might assume that there has been an official close to the matter, and that any judgment or settlement will be paid out in a timely manner. Unfortunately, in addition to the time that it takes to get to the settlement or judgment, there may also be delays in collecting damages in an automobile accident case. In any case, there are two ways to obtain recovery. Victims can obtain recovery for their damages either through an out of court settlement, or through a court judgment. Regardless of the form of recovery, however, if you have hired an attorney to assist you in litigation, it is important to keep in mind that he will also collect his fees from any judgment or settlement made in the case.


Generally, any settlement made will be between the injured party and insurance company. In order to begin this process, a letter will be sent to the claims adjuster stating the monetary loss incurred as a result of any necessary medical treatment resulting from the accident.

Once the insurance company has received your demand letter, they will then provide a written release form, oftentimes withholding payment until they receive the release form. The release form, while seemingly harmless, will generally state that you give up your right to pursue the insurer for any deficient funds in exchange for payment from the insurer.

Typically, this process can take anywhere from a couple weeks to a few months, depending on the severity of the injuries and the level of fault of the other party. Interestingly enough, if a settlement is reached, there may be provisions within the agreement that allow the injured persons to collect interest upon any late payments made by the insurance company, or by the opposing driver if he is uninsured.


While cases settled outside of court are restricted by the opinions of the parties, and whether or not they will agree to the same terms, a decision through trial generally provides a clear cut answer. Typically, once the judgment is entered, the court will also lay out a payment plan the defendant must adhere to. Generally, however, payments will not begin until around two weeks after the filing of the court’s decision. This is because the losing party has the right to file a motion for a new trial, which could potentially overturn the judgment. In addition, it is important to note that, even though a court judgment can seem final, both parties still have the opportunity to appeal the judgment in order to change the decision.

Contact an Attorney

Issues caused by an automobile accident can last for much longer than the actual trial. Not only will a victim have to deal with the injuries sustained in the accident, but also, he may not even receive the full payment that was promised. If you are looking for an attorney to help you through each step of your case, contact the David Aylor Law Offices in Walterboro, Charleston, or North Charleston for a free case evaluation.

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