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What Happens After You Agree to a Car Accident Settlement in Florida?

When you’ve been involved in a car accident in Florida and have reached a settlement with the insurance company or the at-fault party, it might seem like the end of a long journey. However, agreeing to a settlement is just the beginning of the final phase of your claim. Understanding what happens after you agree to a settlement in Florida is crucial for ensuring that the process is completed smoothly and that you receive your compensation promptly. 

What Happens After You Agree to a Car Accident Settlement in Florida?

1. Formalizing the Settlement Agreement

The first step after reaching a verbal agreement is to formalize the settlement in writing. This involves the preparation of a settlement agreement or release form by the insurance company or the defendant’s attorney. This document outlines the settlement amount, the terms of the settlement, and any conditions attached to the payment. It’s imperative that you review this document thoroughly, preferably with the assistance of your attorney, to ensure that it accurately reflects the terms agreed upon and that you’re fully aware of any legal rights you may be waiving upon signing.

2. Signing the Release Form

Once the settlement agreement is drafted, the next step is for you, the claimant, to sign the release form. This legally binding document signifies your agreement to the terms of the settlement and typically includes a clause that absolves the other party of further liability related to the accident. It’s essential to understand that signing this document prevents you from filing any future claims against the at-fault party for the same incident. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that the settlement amount adequately compensates for your damages and injuries before signing.

3. Processing the Settlement Check

After the settlement agreement is signed and returned to the insurer or the at-fault party’s attorney, the payment process begins. In Florida, insurance companies typically have a specific timeframe within which they must issue the settlement check. This period can vary, but it’s generally within 20 to 30 days after the agreement is finalized. The check is usually sent to your attorney, who will then handle the disbursement of funds.

4. Disbursement of Settlement Funds

Upon receiving the settlement check, your attorney will deposit the funds into a trust or escrow account. Before you receive your portion of the settlement, your attorney will deduct legal fees and any other agreed-upon expenses from the total amount. These may include medical bill payments, lien settlements, and reimbursement to insurers if they’ve covered any costs related to your accident. After these deductions, your attorney will issue a check for the remaining balance to you.

5. Resolving Liens and Medical Bills

Part of the settlement process may involve resolving any liens placed on the settlement by healthcare providers or insurers who have paid for your medical treatment. Your attorney will negotiate with lienholders to possibly reduce the amounts owed, ensuring that your settlement covers as much of your costs as possible. Once all liens and medical bills are settled, you will receive the final settlement amount.

6. Impact on Your Insurance

Agreeing to a settlement for a car accident claim can also have implications for your auto insurance. Depending on the details of the accident and the settlement, your insurance rates may be affected. It’s advisable to discuss the potential impact on your insurance premiums with your provider to avoid any surprises.

7. Tax Considerations

It’s important to consider the tax implications of your settlement. While most personal injury settlements are not taxable, there are exceptions, such as settlements that include compensation for lost wages. Consulting with a tax professional can help you understand any tax obligations you may have as a result of your settlement.

8. Monitoring Post-Settlement Recovery

Even after the settlement is finalized and the funds are disbursed, it’s essential to continue monitoring your recovery if you’re still undergoing treatment for injuries sustained in the accident. If new medical issues arise related to the accident, it’s important to communicate with your healthcare provider, even though you cannot seek additional compensation from the at-fault party.

Contact Lawlor, White & Murphey Today

Agreeing to a settlement in a car accident case marks the beginning of the final steps of your legal journey. It’s a process that requires careful attention to detail and an understanding of the legal and financial implications. Working with an experienced attorney, like those at Lawlor, White & Murphey, can help ensure that the process goes smoothly and that you receive the compensation you deserve. Remember, a settlement is not just about closing a case; it’s about securing your recovery and ensuring that you can move forward from the accident with the support you need.  Contact Lawlor, White & Murphey today at 954-525-2345 or book a consultation online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

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