Posted on November 18, 2018 in General
Your lawsuit settlement payment time frame will depend on the factors involved in your case. Some claimants receive their checks in just two weeks, while others may have to wait until the defendant appeals process or other potential hang-ups conclude. Only your injury attorney can give you a precise estimate on when you’ll receive your settlement check, but the following basic information can help you form an estimate.
Settlement Release Form
No defendant or insurance company will write a settlement check until the plaintiff signs the Release Form. Signing this document ensures that the plaintiff will never file additional claims against the defendant for the same issue and/or injuries again. It states that upon receipt of the settlement, the case has come to a resolution and the claimant forfeits the right to any additional legal action against the defendant for the damages in question. Signing the Release Form generally isn’t optional or negotiable if you wish to obtain a settlement. Insurance companies simply won’t expose themselves to further liability in that way.
Signing the Release Form is the first step toward getting your settlement check. You will generally receive this form the day you and the defendant agree to a settlement or in the few days thereafter. Your lawyer will review the language of the form and either request changes or recommend that you sign the paperwork. The sooner you sign, the faster you can receive your settlement payment. Your lawyer will then submit the signed release form to the insurance company, along with any further documentation as needed. Once the insurance company receives the signed form, it can release the settlement check to your attorney.
Delays, Loopholes and Settlement Interest
The date you’ll get your check depends on the defendant’s internal settlement processes. If the insurance company releases your settlement check right away, you can expect to receive it in the mail within two weeks or so after the conclusion of your case. Some states will impose interest rates on unpaid settlements for each day the insurance company fails to issue the payment to encourage prompt payment. Unfortunately, many seasoned defendant attorneys and insurance companies know how to exploit loopholes in the system to delay payments without interest.
Some personal injury cases will have unique factors that delay the settlement check. Cases involving minors or estates, for example, may require more preparation than typical cases. Before you obtain your settlement payment, your lawyer will use the money to pay off anyone you owe. Potential delays in receiving your payment include liens, attorney’s fees, and lien negotiations. You could owe money to your health insurance provider, physician, case experts, lawyer, and/or another party. Your lawyer will pay off your debts and liens before distributing what’s left of your settlement to you.
Can a Lawyer Speed Up the Process?
After a major personal injury accident, you may have injuries and property losses piling up the bills, on top of lost wages from missing time at work. You may have waited for your settlement agreement for weeks or months after your accident. Now that you’ve successfully resolved your case, it’s understandable to be impatient for your payment. You may not be able to move forward with your life without it. Yet like most legal matters, there is a process the defendant must fulfill before releasing your settlement check.
To speed up your lawsuit settlement payment timeline as much as possible, hire an experienced personal injury attorney to represent your case. A lawyer will know how to quickly submit the required documents and ensure the defendant doesn’t breach any rules to unfairly delay a payout. Hiring an attorney is the easiest way for you to get the money you deserve after suffering injuries from someone else’s fault.