Car accident victims are often concerned about how much they will receive as compensation and when they will get it. This is also why most crash victims accept the first settlement offer made by the at-fault party’s insurance provider without consulting an Atlanta car accident lawyer.
Furthermore, crash victims often ask if they get paid by the at-fault party immediately after the judgment. Will there be a delay? Does it require filing additional documents?
This article will answer these questions, shedding light on the car accident lawsuit process and whether you get paid immediately after the judgment. We will also discuss the three options available to collect the sum awarded as compensation in the judgment for your car accident lawsuit.
If you or a loved one are victims of a car accident, our lawyers at The Weinstein Firm will help you analyze your case’s facts to decide whether to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit. We will also help you get compensation as quickly as possible. Contact us today.
Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Explains What to Expect During the Lawsuit Process
There are several reasons car accident victims file a lawsuit. For instance, they might want more compensation or might have had their claim wrongfully denied. It could also be that the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage is not enough to pay for the victim’s hospital bills, out-of-pocket costs, or non-economic damages.
Victims might also decide to go to court if they want to claim punitive damages, which will significantly boost their compensation. In either case, a lawsuit starts when your lawyer files the processes in court. They will also attach supporting evidence to prove your claim.
This proof includes the following:
- Copies of the accident/police report
- The pictures from the crash scene
- Video footage
- Statement of the parties and eyewitnesses
- Contact information of the parties involved, their insurance provider, vehicle registration, and license number
- Contact details of eyewitnesses
- Medical treatment records and proof of medical expenses
- Accident reconstruction expert report, if any
- Psychological evaluation of the victim, if any
Once the processes have been filed, and all the parties involved are notified, the interrogatory and discovery process commences. During this time, both parties will exchange the documents they will present as evidence and hold a deposition. During a deposition, the party being deposed (the plaintiff or defendant) will answer questions about the case and their personal life.
A deposition allows your lawyer and that of the at-fault driver to determine the strength or weakness of your claim. If your case is weak, your attorney might ask you to withdraw at this point. If it is strong, the at-fault party might consider settling to keep the case from going to trial.
However, the court will order a pre-trial settlement if the at-fault does not ask to settle. If the pre-trial settlement fails, your Atlanta car accident lawyer will prepare you for trial. During the trial, both parties will present their case and back them up with evidence for the car accident lawsuit.
Usually, the party that can prove their assertions and refutes the claims of the other side wins. Winning means getting awarded the amount asked for as compensation, a sum close to or above it, or the amount stipulated by the law in such cases.
Will I Get Paid Immediately After a Judgment in a Car Accident Lawsuit?
After successfully winning a car accident lawsuit, you will not receive your compensation immediately. Getting paid the money awarded by the court might take a few days to weeks, depending on the amount and the defendant’s financial status. It could also take months or years if the money is paid in installments.
However, irrespective of the timeline, when collecting a judgment sum, there are three options available to you. But note that it is best to use these options if the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage does not cover the sum awarded, or the defendant does not have an insurance policy.
Filing a Garnishment after Car Accident Lawsuit
The first option is to file a garnishment against the defendant’s bank accounts in the State of Georgia. Here, you will file a financial institution garnishment and collect the sum awarded from the defendant’s open accounts.
Alternatively, suppose the defendant works in Georgia or has contractual relationships in the state where they get paid. In such cases, you can file a continuing garnishment against their employer or contracting party. This type of garnishment mandates the employer or contracting party to pay the money owed to the defendant into the court registry.
The money will then get paid to the plaintiff/victim until the judgment sum is fully paid off. A continuing garnishment lasts for three years. Also, if the defendant works in another state or has a bank account outside Georgia, you will domesticate the judgment before filing a garnishment.
Recording a Writ of Fieri Facias
The second option is to have the court issue a writ of fieri facias, also known as Fi. Fa. This writ applies in any county where the defendant has property within Georgia. Fi. Fa serves as a lien, and you can levy any of the defendant’s properties using law enforcement to pay the judgment sum. If the defendant has property outside Georgia, you must get the judgment domesticated before a court will issue a writ of fieri facias.
Conducting Post-Judgment Discovery
It is not uncommon for you not to know the assets a defendant has that they can use to pay the judgment sum. If this is the case, your lawyer can serve post-judgment discovery to the defendant and their contact. Once served, the defendant must respond under oath and reveal all their assets, allowing your lawyer to advise you on the best step to take.
Insurance Claim vs. Car Accident Lawsuit
While an insurance claim is the fastest route to compensation, it often limits how much you can get, especially when you suffer extensive damages. On the other hand, a lawsuit will get you maximum compensation and offer different avenues of receiving payment from the at-fault party.
Are You Considering Filing a Lawsuit? Contact Our Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers Now!
At The Weinstein Firm, our lawyers put our client’s needs first and go the extra mile to protect their rights and ensure they get paid the compensation awarded. You can trust our team of legal experts to keep fighting for you until we win.
Additionally, we do so without demanding upfront costs because we work on a contingency fee basis. So book a free initial consultation with our personal injury lawyers in Atlanta, Georgia, today to get started.