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How Long Does It Take To Get A Settlement Check From A Car Accident In Tennessee?

It is impossible to know how long it will take to get a settlement check from a car accident in Tennessee. While we try to get your money to you as quickly as possible, there are no guarantees. Things happen, even in the most straightforward cases.

It is difficult to predict when an insurance company will settle, as well as how quickly it will process your settlement for payment. Some cases last only a few months from filing the claim to cashing the check, but others take years to ensure you receive fair compensation for your damages.

What could delay reaching a settlement in a Tennessee car accident claim?

A delay in reaching a settlement with the insurance company is often the most time-consuming part of waiting for your compensation. Some of the most common delays include:

Your Recovery

We cannot recover fair compensation until you either fully recover, have reached your maximum recovery, or we have a good idea about your future medical needs. This can take months or even years. If you will need ongoing care, we will need to talk to your doctors and other experts to understand the full scope of this care and estimate costs.

Building Your Case

Collecting the evidence to support your claim requires extensive work. We must collect all your medical records and related documents, talk to medical experts and accident eyewitnesses, get copies of your pay stubs, and other employment information, and compile any other proof needed to provide a strong case. Requests for these documents often require specific processes to obtain them. This can lengthen the time it takes to collect evidence significantly.

Considering Your Demand Package

Once we submit your demand package to the insurance company, the insurer must analyze your case and consider your demands. It is not unusual for the insurance company to drag its feet at this point, taking a month or longer to consider your demand package. We keep in close contact with the insurance company, keeping your case fresh on the insurer’s mind and encouraging a quick response.

Questions About Liability

Cases where proving liability is difficult typically take longer. In some cases, the insurance company refuses to negotiate a reasonable settlement or accuses you of contributing to your own injuries. When this happens, we may have to file a lawsuit and provide additional evidence to prove the other driver caused the crash. This can take several months or even a year or more.

How long will I have to wait after we reach a Tennessee car crash settlement?

Even once we negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, you will not get paid immediately. There are still a number of steps in the process before you receive your payout, and any of these hurdles can cause a delay in getting your money. You can expect to wait at least a month for your check.

These delays might include issues with:

The Release Form

Before the insurance company will write your check, it requires you to sign and submit a release form. This form states that by accepting the payment, you waive your rights to any further legal action in this case. We can help reduce the chance of a delay due to this form by ensuring we draft a form that is acceptable to the insurance company before we ever reach a settlement.

The Insurance Company’s Process

There is no way to predict how the insurance company’s payout process works, or how long it may take. For example, the insurer might need the signature of one or more employees to issue a check. The insurer might also only issue checks one day a week. These delays may extend for several weeks if the employee responsible for your case is out of town or there are other hiccups in the process.

The Trust Account

Once the insurance company issues a check, it does not come straight to you. Instead, your attorney places it in a trust account, which protects your money until the check clears.

While this usually takes only a few days, larger checks can take a week or longer. If there are issues with the check, the delay can be significant. For example, if the check is missing a signature, it may need to go back to the insurance company and repeat the process again.

Negotiation and Payment of Liens and Bills

Before we can issue checks to clients, we must clear any liens or bills against them. This may require obtaining up-to-date statements from their health insurance company, Medicare, or Medicaid. Getting these final balance documents can take several weeks. In addition, we often work to negotiate a smaller payout for their liens and bills. The time this takes can pay off in a much larger check for the client.

Lawyer’s Fees and Distribution

Once we take care of all other fees, we deduct our agreed-upon fees and cut you a check for the remainder. You should receive this check or an automatic deposit soon after, although large checks may take several days to clear your bank and appear in your account.

While this process can be lengthy, we do whatever we can to expedite the process while still getting you the compensation you need and deserve.

Call OEB Law, PLLC today for settlement help in Knoxville.

We understand your financial stress, and want to get your compensation to you as soon as possible. However, we also want to ensure you receive the full value of your claim and have enough money to cover your future needs.

If you have questions or concerns about your settlement check or your accident case, give us a call at OEB Law, PLLC: 865-546-1111.


What to Expect From Your Car Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be able to recover damages from those responsible for your pain and suffering. Hiring the right attorney is one of the best things you can do to help your case. The attorney you hire should have experience with all the facets of a personal injury case and be aware of all the complexities that may arise during the legal process.

The lawyers at OEB Law, PLLC have years of experience handling car accident claims and have helped countless accident victims recover compensation for their injuries. Here are four things to expect from your car accident lawyer as your case proceeds:

1) Familiarity with Litigation and Laws

Your attorney will be responsible for handling all aspects of your case. A successful attorney will be well-versed in subject areas relevant to the case. Car accident cases, in particular, require that attorneys be familiar with a variety of legal topics including:

  • Negligence
  • Fault and legal liability
  • Damages
  • Tennessee traffic laws
  • Insurance regulations
  • Civil procedure

Plaintiffs who hire an attorney familiar with these topics are more likely to have a successful lawsuit and receive larger settlements. Before officially hiring one of our attorneys, feel free to ask us about our experience and knowledge in these areas during the initial consultation.

2) Ability to Collect Evidence Effectively

The most important part of any car accident claim is proving the liability of the other driver. To do this, your attorney will have to prove that the other driver’s negligence behind the wheel caused your injuries.

Proving negligence is no easy task but our qualified attorneys are confident in their abilities to collect evidence effectively. We collect the following in each case we take on:

Evidence from the Scene

First, our attorneys will collect as much evidence as possible from the scene of the accident. This might include:

  • Pictures you have taken
  • Your account of the accident
  • Any eyewitness statements

We might also take photos of your vehicle, any of your injuries, and anything else that suffered damages.

Police Reports

We collect the police report in every case we handle. We do this for various reasons:

  • Not every police report is correct. By catching any inaccuracies quickly, we can work with officers to clear it up.
  • This report can help prove liability and can help expose inconsistencies in the other driver’s story.
  • The report may also state whether the other driver violated one or more traffic laws. These violations are evidence of negligence and can help your case immensely.

Medical Documentation and Expert Testimony

In addition to collecting evidence from the scene of the crash to prove negligence, your attorney will need to establish the severity and causation of your injuries. Our attorneys will acquire your medical records and provide a detailed account of your injuries, doctors’ visits, surgeries, and treatments. We will also contact medical experts whose testimony may help establish that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries.

3) Understanding of Settlements and the Litigation Process

A reliable car accident attorney understands that every car accident case is different. Some cases will settle out of court while others will proceed to trial.

While most attorneys work toward a settlement as it is usually the quickest (and least expensive) option for everyone involved, a good attorney will prepare your case for court just in case.

Having your case ready for court will save time and money during the litigation process. Our attorneys are trained to handle settlement negotiations as well as litigation.

If your case does go to trial, it is our responsibility to file your case within the state’s statute of limitations (one year). However, we know that filing the claim sooner rather than later will help ensure the preservation of evidence and the availability of witnesses and experts, so we will do what we can to file earlier.

The litigation process will also require both sides to collect and exchange information during discovery. We are comfortable taking interrogatories and depositions and will use the information learned to help your case. We will also effectively present our evidence in court and question witnesses and experts on the stand. The presentation of your case will play a major role in whether the court will award you damages for your injuries.

4) Reasonably Value Your Claim

Before negotiating a settlement or going to trial, our attorneys will value your claim. We will do this by looking at the damages you incurred and determining a reasonable amount of compensation to ask for. This amount will be based on a number of factors such as:

  • Total medical expenses (past and future)
  • Lost wages and future lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma

While economic damages (e.g., medical costs) can be easy to calculate, noneconomic damages (e.g., pain and suffering) are not as easy to figure out.

Generally, your general economic damages will be multiplied by a certain number between one and five to determine the non-economic damages. This multiplier will depend on the severity of your injuries, the likelihood of a full recovery, the impact of the accident on your everyday life and other factors. Your attorney will know how to value your damages based on the injuries you suffered.

At OEB Law, PLLC, we are determined to help car accident victims and their families in any way we can. With so much on your plate, you need an attorney you can trust to handle the ins and outs of your personal injury claim. Our attorneys are trustworthy, dedicated and ready to assist you. Call 865-546-1111 today to discuss the details of your case.

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Study: drivers who text just as dangerous as drunk drivers

The dangers of texting while driving have received a copious amount of attention in the media lately-for good reason. After all, those who text or use hand-held devices while behind the wheel are four times more likely to be involved in a car accident. If this fact were not enough, a recent study found that texting while driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving.

Drivers who text just as dangerous as drunk drivers

Specifically, the study, which was recently published in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention, found that texting while driving is just as dangerous as driving with a blood alcohol level of twice the legal limit.

For the study, researchers from various universities used a driving simulator to compare drunk driving and texting while driving. One group of participates used headphones and a microphone to simulate a hand-free cellphone. The other group had a blood alcohol level that was over the legal limit. In the simulator, each group had to ensure that their virtual vehicle stayed within its lane and traveled at a speed between 37 and 50 miles-per-hour.

The researchers found that when the hands-free group was merely having a conversation, they drove with the skill of a person with a blood alcohol level that was well below the legal limit. However, when the conversation became more involved, the participants drove like someone who was almost at the legal limit. When the participants used their phone to text, they drove with the skill exhibited by someone well over the legal limit.

Tennessee’s response

To help combat the danger that texting while driving and other distracting behavior causes, Tennessee has banned texting for all drivers. In addition, young drivers and bus drivers are prohibited from using cellphones at all. A violation of the texting law is a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a fine up to $50.00 plus court costs.

As it can be difficult for law enforcement to determine whether a driver is texting (or merely dialing a phone number), the Tennessee Highway Patrol has rolled out a campaign where state troopers drive a tractor-trailer to enforce the law. Using a tractor-trailer gives the trooper an unfettered line of sight into other vehicles. If the trooper driving the truck sees texting or other reckless behavior, he or she radios ahead to another trooper to make the traffic stop.

In addition to the fine, those who text while driving can face a civil lawsuit, should their negligent behavior result in an accident. In Tennessee, those who are injured by such drivers may be entitled to recover the costs of present and future medical treatment, loss of wages and pain and suffering.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a careless driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to learn about your right to compensation. Call the experienced attorneys at OEB Law, PLLC today (865) 546-1111 we will help you. 

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What to Do After an Accident

Car accidents often have at unexpected times. Knowing what to do after a motor vehicle accident happens can help you later, if recovering damages becomes an issue. Here are some tips for motorists that have been involved in car accidents.

Steps to Take

When an accident happens, taking the proper steps can mean the difference between a smooth recovery and an extremely difficult one. The first step to take is to put safety first. Ensure that everyone involved is okay and if necessary, seek immediate medical attention for anyone who is injured.

After ensuring everyone’s safety in your vehicle, you will probably be talking to the other driver. Do not admit fault during this conversation, as it could be used against you later. After an accident talking with the other party is also important in order to ensure you have each other’s insurance information, vehicle descriptions, driver information and phone number and addresses.

Also, drivers will want to see if there were any witnesses to the accident. Bystanders at the scene may provide crucial testimony if it becomes needed at court. Be sure to obtain their contact information so that you will be able to easily find them later.

Making notes and taking pictures of the accident is also a crucial step. Having solid proof of the details will make for a smoother process down the line. It is often easy to skip this step with the confusion of the event, but the information may prove to be an advantage later.

The next step is to talk to the insurance companies of the parties involved in the accident. Keep in mind that the insurance company may not be necessarily looking out for your best interests. Do not simply settle your case without speaking to an experienced personal injury attorney. You may have injuries that require life-long care, and settling early could prevent you from obtaining compensation to pay for this care.

When to Take Legal Action

When you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to seek the assistance of an attorney that has handled these types of cases in the past. Personal injury attorneys know the ins and outs of the system and are able to navigate through a claim quickly. It is important to know the options that are available to you, and how you can protect yourself during this time. Contact Knoxville’s premier personal injury and car accident attorneys, OEB Law, PLLC. Call (865) 546-1111 today.


5 Questions to Ask Your Car Accident Lawyer

Many people are not sure where to begin when it comes to choosing a Knoxville car accident attorney, so they select the first one they see without considering if there may be someone else better suited to handle their case. Choosing the first attorney you hear about is rarely a good idea, since the right lawyer plays a key role in reducing the stress you experience and helping you recover the compensation you deserve after a car accident.

Do some research, ask your friends and neighbors for recommendations, and make a list of possibilities. Then schedule an initial consultation. Tennessee car accident lawyers typically offer this consultation free of charge, and only charge you after you receive a payout in your case. This is known as working on a contingency basis. Before your consultation, make notes, and make sure you are aware of these five questions to ask your car accident lawyer:

  1. What are your practice areas?

Some lawyers are Jacks of all trades. They practice personal injury, family law, criminal defense, and estate planning. While they will likely have a vast knowledge of various subjects, you want an attorney who focuses on personal injury — especially car accidents. You want someone on your side who knows all the major players, and navigates this process regularly. You might also want to ask:

  • How long have you been practicing law? Have you always focused on personal injury?
  • How many car accident cases to you handle each year?
  • How many of these settle out of court? How many go to trial?
  • What resources do you have to help you settle car accident cases?

Our firm focuses on injuries from car accidents so we know how to handle any case that comes our way. We do not dilute our practice with other areas of law so we can put our energy into winning your case.

  1. Have you handled car accident cases with injuries like mine?

This question is especially important if you suffer from complex injuries or a condition requiring ongoing medical care. While it is fairly simple to calculate the cost of treating a broken leg, it is more difficult to prove soft tissue injuries or anticipate future care needs for a traumatic brain injury. Related questions may include:

  • What was the result of the similar cases?
  • Can you provide me with references from someone with similar injuries?
  • What is your approach to cases with injuries like mine?  
  1. Do you think I have a strong enough case to recover compensation for my losses?

While the initial consultation offers you an opportunity to get to know the lawyer better, it also gives the car accident attorney a chance to evaluate your case. You should not expect to receive any legal advice during this meeting, but that does not mean you cannot ask the attorney how he or she would assess your case.

Consider asking some follow-up questions:

  • What factors support us winning my claim?
  • Is there anything about my case that would stop me from recovering full compensation?
  • Can I still recover compensation even if I believe I was partially at-fault for the accident? Will that affect my compensation?
  • Do you believe we can settle this out of court?
  • About how long do you think it may take to settle my Tennessee auto accident claim? (No lawyer should promise a quick settlement.)

After assessment, your lawyer should tell you whether s/he thinks you have a valid case. Remember, no good lawyer will ever guarantee a case’s success.

  1. What is your approach to the settlement negotiation process?

If you are like most people, you would rather avoid going to court. However, you know you need a fair settlement to cover your bills and you have heard that might involve a judge and jury. In most cases, this is not true. However, it is best to know how your car accident lawyer will handle the settlement negotiation process before you begin.

Some attorneys are quick to jump to filing a lawsuit, while others are willing to duke it out through several rounds of negotiations. Some advise clients, while others ask what the client prefers. Knowing how your attorney handles this process is important if the insurance company does not agree to a fair settlement quickly. Related questions include:

  • Is mediation or arbitration an option to settle my claim?
  • How often do cases you handle require filing a lawsuit? How many actually go to trial?
  • Will you be representing me in court if my case goes to trial?
  1. How will you keep me up-to-date about my Tennessee car accident claim?

Some attorneys are much more hands-on than others, so it is important to find out exactly how often you can expect to hear from your attorney. Some even pass the case to another attorney in the firm after your initial consultation, so it is important to learn exactly who will be updating you about your case and how often. Other questions may include:

  • Will any other attorneys work on my case?
  • How often can I expect you to update me about my claim? Will I be speaking with you directly or will I be in contact with another lawyer or paralegal?
  • What is the best way to contact you? How quickly can I expect to hear back?
  • Is there someone I can reach if I have a question while you are in court or out of the office?

Call today to schedule your FREE initial consultation with a Knoxville car accident lawyer.

The Knoxville auto accident attorneys at OEB Law, PLLC are here to help you get the compensation you deserve after a Knoxville car crash. We will be happy to answer any questions you have about the car accident claims process or the steps necessary to turn your wreck into a check. Call our office at 865-546-1111 to schedule your free case evaluation and initial consultation today.