What Are the Different Ways to Collect on a Personal Injury Judgment?

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If you were injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s carelessness or recklessness, you may be entitled to financial compensation through a personal injury case. Most personal injury claims settle, meaning that they are resolved with agreements between the injured party and the insurance company. Some, however, require trials that may end in judgment awards. Either way, you may need assistance from an Omaha personal injury attorney to collect the money that you are owed.

Wait for a Settlement Check

The majority of personal injury cases are resolved with settlements. Settlements save both parties time, money, and stress. They also keep the particulars of the case confidential and out of the public eye. An insurance company is generally more willing to offer a fair and reasonable settlement if the claimant has hired an attorney. The insurance company will know that an attorney means the ability to go to trial, and will most likely offer a better settlement to avoid a court case.

If your personal injury case settles, you must wait for a settlement check to arrive in the mail to collect your compensation. You will need to sign a liability release statement first, which releases the defendant from any further liability for your accident or injury in exchange for the settlement value agreed upon. The courts generally require both parties to complete settlement paperwork within 30 to 60 days. Once you sign the paperwork, your case will be resolved and – in most cases – unable to be reopened.

The insurance company’s accountant will cut your settlement check and mail it to you. Expect the settlement check to take one to two weeks to arrive. If two weeks have passed and you still do not have your check, contact the insurance company to ask about your payment. If you suspect that the insurance company is intentionally delaying your payout, consult with a lawyer about a potential insurance bad-faith lawsuit in addition to your original injury claim settlement.

Receive a Judgment Award Check 

If you win your personal injury case at trial, you will receive a check in the mail for the judgment award issued against the defendant(s) within a few weeks, in most cases. If there is no insurance coverage available to pay the judgment award, the courts may make the defendant pay using another method, such as wage garnishment over a period of time. This could take longer to receive your full judgment award.

Keep in mind that once you receive the check from a judgment award, you will need to pay off your financial obligations before keeping any remaining amount for yourself. These obligations may include paying taxes, attorney’s fees, and outstanding medical bills. In many cases, the amount that a plaintiff can keep is the portion of the award granted for pain and suffering.

Go Through the Appeals Process

There is a chance that you will have to wait for the appeals process to be completed if you receive a personal injury judgment at trial in Nebraska. An appeal is an additional lawsuit filed to argue against the outcome of a case. A defendant cannot file an appeal just because he or she does not agree with the decision made; the appeal must be made for a valid reason, such as an error of fact or jury misconduct. 

With an appeal, you would have to wait to receive a check for your judgment award. If the appeal succeeds, the courts may reverse the judgment, meaning that you may no longer be entitled to financial compensation. In this case, you could appeal again to the next highest court. Depending on the case and the number of appeals filed, the appellate process could take a year or longer to finish, delaying or even rescinding your collection of a judgment award. For more information about how to collect on a personal injury judgment, contact an attorney from Omaha today.