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Can I get an advance on my personal injury claim?

Question:

I was a pedestrian hit by a car and haven’t been able to work since. I can’t pay my bills and I’m worried about being evicted. Is there any way to get money now before my case settles?

Answer:

If you need money now and cannot wait until your personal injury case settles, there are several options:

1. It is sometimes, though admittedly rarely, possible to get the at-fault driver’s insurance company to advance funds before a case has settled. Our personal injury lawyers have been able to make this happen when our client’s injuries were very serious and fault for the accident was clear-cut.

2. As a pedestrian hit by a car, you can make a claim for “medical payments” under your own auto insurance policy if you have auto insurance and you have medical payments coverage under your policy. If you have this coverage, your auto insurance carrier will reimburse you for medical bills you incur, even though you were not driving a car when you were injured. The triggering eligibility for the benefits is that you were hit by a car. The maximum they will pay is your medical payments policy limit. You are not obligated to use the money to pay your medical bills now. You can use the money however you choose. Once your claim against the at-fault driver settles and you get money, your car insurance carrier will likely demand reimbursement of the medical payments they paid advanced. One of the things we do as your lawyer is to negotiate them down on their reimbursement claim. Sometimes we can get them to waive reimbursement.

3. Another option is to turn to an advance lending company. As personal injury attorneys, we discourage this because the lending companies charge exorbitant interest rates. The way they work: they first vet the case to verify that liability is clear and the at-fault party has insurance. Then, based on the severity of the injuries, the lending company determines how much they’re willing to lend. Once the case settles, your attorney is obligated to reimburse the lending company from the money collected.

4. We have had success in getting landlords and other creditors to accept a lien, meaning we sign a document guaranteeing to pay the creditor out of the settlement.

5. Sometimes personal injury lawyers are willing to advance money to their clients. This is done on a case by case basis.

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