What to Expect After a No-Fault Insurance Settlement
When you accept a no-fault insurance settlement, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Your money is coming. But you should expect a few more visits to your attorney’s office before you see it.
A settlement isn’t the same thing as cash in hand. Once everyone has settled on a number to resolve your auto insurance claim or lawsuit, you still need to put all the paperwork together and make sure the money goes to the right people.
Getting a No-Fault Insurance Settlement Agreement in Writing
No insurance settlement is final until the written settlement agreement is signed. Once you agree on a number your lawyer may still negotiate when your claims are paid, and how. All of this, along with any promises either side makes, are included in the settlement agreement for everyone to sign.
Understanding a Waiver & Release
Your settlement agreement may come with a Waiver and Release. This contract says that you, the policy holder, agree that the settlement agreement resolves all your outstanding claims against the insurance company. This doesn’t include future medical expenses or attendant care costs, but it does include everything up to the date it is signed. If you forget to include something in the settlement, you may end up paying for it yourself later on.
Negotiating for a Hold-Harmless Agreement
If the settlement amount is less than the total of all of your medical expenses to date, your lawyer may insist on a Hold-Harmless Agreement. This says your insurance company agrees to repay you for any lawsuits filed against you by your medical providers. In place of a hold-harmless agreement, many insurance company lawyers will ask the court to “apportion” or divide up your settlement among your doctors and treatment providers, so that everyone gets paid the same percentage of their bills.
Entering a Consent Judgment or Voluntary Dismissal
Once the agreement is final, the case needs to be closed with the court. This is done through a Consent Judgment in the amount of the settlement agreement or a voluntary dismissal. A consent judgment allows you to collect the award from no-fault providers or third party defendants who refuse to pay, so it is usually used when there are ongoing payment arrangements.
Distributing the Award
After the case is closed, the insurance company will cut a check to you and your law firm. Your auto accident attorney will keep this money in trust. Any doctor or creditor with a lien gets paid first. Next, the contingent attorney fee, expert witness fees, and court costs are paid. Third, any outstanding medical provider or attendant care bills are paid. You get everything that is left, including lost wages awards.
A settlement isn’t the last step in a no-fault auto accident case. But with the experienced attorneys at Christensen Law working for you, you can rest assured that No-Fault Insurance Settlement is handled the best way possible, your bills will be paid and you will have what you need to live your life.