Common OKC Car Accident Settlement Issues

If you sustained severe injuries after a car accident, you may be facing some unexpected costs such as medical bills and property damage. Before attempting to pursue compensation, an injured person may want to consider speaking with an attorney about the many Oklahoma City car accident settlement issues that may arise.

Contact a seasoned car accident lawyer to review the factors of your accident to better help advocate on your behalf. Call and arrange for an appointment to begin discussing legal solutions that may positively influence your case.

Common Settlement Issues

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding a car accident, agreeing upon the terms and conditions of a settlement can be difficult to accomplish. In addition to this complicated process, a person may have a medical lien which can cause a delay in receiving their settlement.

Medical Liens

In most car accident cases, a medical lien if filed on a person’s medical bill and as a result, the amount of compensation they can receive may be reduced. For example, when an insurance company agrees to pay for an injured person’s medical expenses, they may stipulate that in the event the claimant is granted compensation, the medical expenses need to be repaid to the insurance company. This can lead to a claimant taking home a substantially lower amount than they previously believed when signing the settlement offer. As an example, the insurance adjuster agrees to pay you $10,000 for your claim and you don’t realize you have a medical lien from the hospital for $9,000. So, you end up only netting $1k from the settlement after the lien is paid off.

The biggest issue with medical liens is when the providers file a lien early on in the patient’s treatment. The doctor’s office wasn’t to make sure they get paid, so it’s common for them to file the lien before treatment has completed. This causes what appears to be a low dollar amount attached to the lien, when the actual bill can be much higher. In general, the insurance company will include all lienholders on a settlement check. A doctor’s office isn’t going to endorse the check until they’re paid in full. You may have settled your case with the insurance company, but you won’t be able to cash the check until the medical lien holders sign off.

Additionally, if a claimant has a Medicare or Medicaid lien, it can take a while to get the final dollar amount owed from the Medicare or Medicaid office. In this scenario, the insurance company paying out the compensation in the settlement agreement will refuse to issue the check until they receive the final payout letter. This protects the insurance company in the event they underpay the lien.

Obtaining the Settlement in a Timely Manner

When a plaintiff and a defendant reach a settlement, the claimant can expect to receive their compensation within a week or two from the insurance company.  This time frame is assuming that the are not any settlement delays regarding the medical liens.

To avoid potential delays, a person can take some steps to ensure they receive their settlement in a timely manner. Before signing the settlement release, a claimant can ask that a timeframe of issuing the check be included in the document. This may substantially reduce the risk for delays in receiving compensation. If a delay occurs following the placement of such a provision in the settlement agreement, an attorney can file a lawsuit to enforce the agreement. Before issuing check instructions, the attorney or claimant generally needs to be aware of all of the liens on the claim to get the claim properly resolved.

Following Up With the Insurance Company

Another way that a car accident attorney can help to make sure a person receives their settlement on time is to follow up with the insurance company. This is common sense, but it’s common for adjusters to be busy handling 100s of claim files. In some cases, an insurance company may need prompting and a detail-oriented lawyer could help make sure they mailed the checks.

Some defense attorneys order the checks as soon as an agreement is made and exchange the settlement release with the claimant’s attorney the same day.

Contact an Attorney About Issues in an Oklahoma City Car Accident Settlement

Before settling a car accident case, a person should understand that such an agreement typically is permanent and binding. Basically, once you sign the settlement release, you can’t get more money later – even if you have to get more medical treatment.  To avoid potential Oklahoma City car accident settlement issues, a person may find it beneficial to meet with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer. They could assess the different factors that may impact your case and help develop an effective legal plan of action.