Your case has been settled. Now what?
Personal injury cases either end up in a settlement or go to trial in court. This depends on a case-by-case basis. The settlement occurs when the plaintiff receives monetary compensation from the defendant. When this occurs, both sides agree they will not go to trial. Settlements usually occur because both parties do not want to spend multiple thousands of dollars going to trial. Trials are oftentimes very costly and there’s a probability that plaintiff could incur high costs that would essentially not result in high compensation.
During settlement negotiations, both sides determine a specific monetary amount they could possibly agree on. This is done after both sides see the evidence and determine if there is a possibility that they should go to trial. Each type of case differs and each circumstance may warrant a different outcome. For example, a case that may not have high medical costs could end up in a settlement rather than go to trial. If you or a loved one have retained counsel and have gone through the settlement negotiations, the next steps would have you wondering when the settlement check would be coming in. This is one of the most common questions after settlement has been reached between both parties. It is definitely understandable that many clients are waiting on settlement checks to come in so they could pay off their medical bills that they have paid for originally out-of-pocket.
What Happens After a Settlement?
In order to determine when a settlement check will arrive, it is important to understand the process of settlement negotiations and what happens afterwards. Our experienced personal injury attorneys always work to keep our clients in the loop and make sure that they understand the entire settlement process. The steps for settlement are explained below:
- Once a settlement is agreed upon, the settlement release is signed. The settlement release is drafted by both attorneys from both sides and contain detailed terms and conditions. However, the most important factor to take from a release is that a settlement release gives up both parties rights to go to trial on the same exact issue. A settlement release must be signed in order for a settlement check to be written out. The check will usually be written out to the client and the client’s attorney.
- When the settlement release is signed, the insurance company then receives it.
- The insurance company will then process the settlement, release the check, and send the check-out to the attorney.
- Once your attorney receives that settlement check, the attorney will then place it into a client bank account. A lawyer is bound to place the settlement check in a client’s account until the fees and costs are accounted for. Failing to take such measures could result in the lawyer being disbarred. This is called the escrow period where all the fees and costs must clear in order for plaintiff to get the rest of the amount.
- Once the settlement amount is placed in the bank account, different costs will have to be paid before the client receives their compensation. One of the most common costs include medical liens placed while the plaintiff was getting medical treatment.
- After deducting the cost, the attorney then takes their fee. For more information on how much your attorney fees may cost, it is advised to first speak with your attorney. Usually, personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, for more information on contingency fee basis please contact one of our attorneys.
- Once all costs and fees are deducted, the attorney will then send the client the check of the remaining balance. The average time for this entire process will take about six weeks.
What To Do if Your Settlement Check Has Not Arrived
There are different steps a client can take when determining when their settlement check will be coming in. Some of these steps include, but are not limited to:
- Speaking with your experienced personal injury attorney. Usually, the attorney would know and have a time frame on when the settlement check would be coming in and who it would be delivered to.
- Usually, a settlement check could take from 4 to 6 weeks to arrive. The more complex the case, the longer the settlement check me take to arrive.
Why Would a Settlement Check Be Delayed?
Sometimes, a settlement check may be delayed and go farther than the six-week average period. There are several reasons that may account for such delays, these may include:
- Insurance companies may knowingly delay writing settlement checks
- There may be an accounting fees, such as doctor fees, that were not accounted for when the original the agreement was signed between the attorney and client. For example, it is advised that he client not settle until they have received their treatment from their doctor.
- There may be factual problems with the case that slow down the processing.
- The settlement amount may be for a large amount
- There may be a clerical error on behalf of either your attorney or the insurance company
- Those cases that involve government entities, such as Medicare, could take much longer since coming in contact with such departments would take days, possibly even weeks.
Our attorneys work aggressively to make sure that our clients are not left waiting for long periods of time, and are quickly reimbursed for their costs. We understand that our clients go through a lot of financial distress, especially the unknown fear for the future after going through such personal injury accidents.
If you or a loved one have experienced a personal injury, contact our settlement attorneys to better determine your case legal outcome. By scheduling a free consultation with us, our attorneys could determine if your case will have to go to trial, or end up in a settlement. Regardless, our attorneys will work to make sure you get just compensation for your injuries. Our attorneys will not settle just to get it out of the way. Our attorneys also had extensive trial experience and are prepared if settlement negotiations do not go as planned.
Further, in order to prevent any miscommunication, our attorneys always keep our clients informed of the settlement process every step of the way. We want to make sure our clients are included in everything and do not have any questions regarding the process. We are readily available by phone or by email, and our offices are located in major cities around California and Nevada.
It is important to hire a personal injury attorney prior to settling because insurance companies may take advantage of unrepresented plaintiffs. For example, they may offer lower than expected just because they know that the person is not well versed in the legal world.
***Disclaimer: This page is created by Heidari Law Group for educational purposes. This article provides a general understanding of the law. It does not provide specific advice. By using this site and reading through this page, there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and any member of Heidari Law. Further, due to the constant change of the law, some parts of the information above may no longer be good law.