After a car accident, you probably need to be paid as soon as possible for your damages. The most common question after a wreck probably involves when you can expect to be given a check. The answer depends on a number of factors, so read about these factors and how they influence your payday below.

Fault: Who Caused the Accident?

Cases in which the parties are each pointing the finger of fault at each other can take a lot longer to resolve. That is because fault is a roadblock that has to be removed before anything else can proceed. In the worst-case scenarios, you must take things to court for a judge and jury to decide upon fault — and that takes extra time.

Settlements: The Quick Way

If you want to be paid as quickly as possible, you should consider an accident settlement. This means you agree to accept a sum of money from the other driver and their insurer in exchange for dropping the case and not taking them to court. That being said, there is a lot more to consider about settlements:

  • If you accept an inadequate settlement, you have no way to undo things. Once you sign, agree to a claim release, or deposit/cash an insurance check, things are pretty much over with and you don't get do-overs.
  • In most cases, victims don't ask for enough money to cover their damages. It's best to let a personal injury lawyer look over the facts of your case and your settlement offer before you agree to anything.
  • As long as your lawyer agrees that you are being offered the right amount, your check from the other driver's insurance company will be along shortly — in a matter of days or weeks in most cases.

Court: Sometimes Worth the Wait

Not all cases can be settled but you still have a way to be paid. Court does take longer and is a bit more trouble to go through. In some cases, however, it's worth it as long as you take these issues into consideration:

  • Listen to your lawyer. If they say take it to court, then you can count on their experience about past cases to guide you.
  • Cases worth trying in court include those with elements like severe injuries, death, permanent injuries, damage to careers, and punitive actions. Courts can award punitive damages when appropriate when a message needs to be sent. For example, drunk driving accidents and distracted driving accidents tend to garner punitive awards.

To learn more, speak to a personal injury lawyer.