So your case is finished and you have won a settlement equaling damages or compensation. Unfortunately, you aren’t finished yet. You may have won the lawsuit, but you may still have a battle on your hands to collect it. Here’s what you can expect in the aftermath of a Columbia car accident judgment.
Timing for Payment
There are two situations that determine the timeline for receiving your damages payment, a settlement agreement and a court judgment. If your car accident attorney was able to help you and the other party negotiate a settlement agreement before your case went to court, the settlement will probably have an agreed-upon time limit for payment, often 20 to 30 days. Most settlement agreements allow you to collect interest if the other party fails to pay before that time limit runs out, which strongly encourages on-time payment in order to avoid paying extra. Some settlement agreements include a contingency plan if the settlement isn’t paid on time, you have the right to cancel it and continue the lawsuit you were preparing before the agreement.
However, if you brought the suit to court and received a judgment, the time limits are determined by the rules of the court or state statutes, which vary depending on where the case was decided. A Columbia car accident judgment will have different limits than one on the other side of the country or across state lines. These time limits are not outer limits with extra penalties—in fact they are the opposite, and it is perfectly normal for the other party to wait to pay you until one of the deadlines has passed. This is partly because there are other actions they can take during this time that may complicate your case.
Before 10 to 15 days have passed, the other party still has the right to file a motion to request another trial, and after filing this motion, the court has a few weeks to decide whether to grant that request. Alternately, before 30 to 60 days after the trial, the other party may file an appeal to have the judgment overturned. Appeals take even longer to resolve, and some last as many as two years; your car accident attorney can tell you, based on the specifics of your case and the applicable state laws, whether this is likely and what you should or can do. Either of these situations open up the possibility that the judgment will change, so of course the other party will probably not pay you until the motion or appeal has been settled.
Missing the Deadline
In addition to legal ways to delay payment, the losing party may illegally procrastinate in paying you the damages. This is not very likely if the other driver’s insurance company is taking the lead in the payments, since insurance companies deal with legal issues and court judgments on a regular basis and know perfectly well that delaying may require them to pay even more in the end. Most insurance companies will pay promptly, within 45 days of the Columbia car accident judgment, unless they decide to appeal or file a motion for another trial. Sometimes, the other party fails to pay on time.
What Are Your Options?
There are a number of actions you can take if the other party does not pay your damages in a timely manner. Most of these are considered executions of a judgment, and the most common is probably garnishment. This is a legal action that contacts the other party’s bank or employer and demands payment either from the bank account or from a portion of their wages. Other, less common executions include executions on personal property, such as a vehicle, or liens against any real estate the other party owns. Your car accident attorney should be able to advise you on which of these options is most likely to help you in your case. Contact Harris and Graves, for more information on what to expect after a Columbia car accident judgement. Harris and Graves are located in South Carolina with law offices in Columbia, Greenville, Conway, Spartanburg, Rock Hill, and Florence.