A settlement or jury award will never fully make up for the time spent, injuries sustained, and inconveniences incurred because of your specific incident. However, money is the only thing our system has available to help compensate you for your damages and losses. While we would never say that the money makes it worth going through all the pain, doctor visits, and further inconveniences, we at Zaner Harden Law can promise you that we will work tirelessly to provide you the very best result. Rest assured, we make the insurance companies lay out every dollar on the table that they have to spend on your case and we will get you the maximum value possible for your case. The best way to find out if past clients are happy with an attorney’s services (and the result) is to look for online reviews of that firm. Check out sites like Google, Avvo, and Thumbtack. These are independent sites that accept reviews of all attorneys. Be wary of looking at reviews that are just posted on an attorney’s website as there is not way to verify that those are actual authentic reviews.
How Settlement Awards Are Disbursed
Once your case is settled for a certain amount, there is still a lot of work that must be done before you can get your check. The check from the insurance company must first be deposited into the firm’s client trust account. Receiving a check, depositing it, and then letting the deposit settle with the bank can sometimes take several weeks.
Once the check has settled, Zaner Harden Law will then have to take a close look at your entire file and evaluate a number of factors, including how much you owe back to health insurance or healthcare providers. This is a critical step because your health insurance, lien company, or other providers have a legal right to be paid back for any treatment they provided. If you have a skilled attorney, he or she will be able to negotiate these amounts down to as little as possible so more goes into your pocket.
Not all lawyers will do this; some firms will hire an outside company to negotiate with the insurance company and then they will take money out of your settlement for this service. Zaner Harden Law does not do this; Zaner Harden Law negotiates these balances down in-house and considers it part of the attorney fee you are paying them.
Once the balances have been reduced, the firm will then draft a “distribution statement” which will break down your settlement in great detail and will show you how much money will be going into your pocket. At that point, the firm will schedule a time for you to come in, review, and sign the distribution statement. If you have any questions about your settlement, you are of course free to ask them before signing anything. Once the distribution statement is signed, the firm will hand you a check which you can then deposit in any bank account with your name on it.
Tax Issues to Be Aware Of
The general rule regarding personal injury settlements is that they are tax-free. The underlying logic of this is that a settlement is not “income” like a salary or bonus is – it is money which is needed to make you whole and bring you back to where you were before the crash occurred. For this reason, the government is generally not entitled to any taxes from the settlement.
However, some parts of the settlement may be taxable – including parts of the settlement that are considered wage loss. Clients who do have questions about the tax implications of their settlement are advised to speak to their accountant or a tax attorney.
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