How Long Until I Get My Car Accident Check?

by Staff Blogger | November 21st, 2022

Even a minor car accident can leave you shaken, but a serious car accident can cause significant stress and financial strain. A car accident settlement can offer hope to families tight on money. Settlement checks provide coverage for medical bills, car repairs, or the replacement of a totaled car. However, even after your claim is settled, receiving your car accident check can take weeks or even longer.

Learn about the process of a car accident settlement in California and how Berg Injury Lawyers can help you claim your rightfully earned money.

Why Is it Taking So Long To Get My Car Accident Check?

When filing a straightforward car accident claim in California, car insurance companies only have 85 days to settle your claim, 15 days to respond, 40 days to accept or deny the claim, and 30 days to pay out your claim. However, this process is often delayed, and the claim can last for several months or years.

Sometimes settlements are delayed by internal procedures, like signing paperwork. In more contentious cases, the delay may result from negotiations or deliberations between your attorney and the insurance company. For instance, the settlement may be delayed if your insurance company has trouble determining who is at fault for the car accident.

Settlements can also be delayed for your benefit. For example, if you or a loved one were severely injured in a car accident, it may be months or even years before you fully recover.

Rather than settle your claim early and risk the settlement not covering your medical bills, your personal injury attorney can delay the settlement until you fully recover and have a better idea of your medical costs.

The Car Accident Settlement Process

Negotiating a car accident settlement can be a long, drawn-out process. If you’re confused about how the settlement process works, a car accident lawyer in Sacramento can walk you through each step.

  • Agreeing on a Settlement

The defendant’s insurance company and your attorney must first negotiate a settlement. Depending on the facts of the case and how much you and your attorney want to settle for, this process can take several weeks or months. Your attorney will also confirm that you are okay with the settlement offer before officially settling the claim.

  • Funds Placed in Escrow

Once you settle with your insurance company, the funds don’t go directly to you. Instead, your attorney will place them in a trust and hold your settlement in escrow. This ensures that you can’t simply take money from any third party who might be owed part of your settlement.

  • Deduction of Relevant Fees

In the aftermath of a car accident, you may owe quite a bit of money to third parties. This can include medical liens to your healthcare providers, expert witness fees, private investigator fees, police report expenses, court filing fees, and your attorney’s contingency fee. If you owe child support, the government can also place a lien on your settlement.

Before you receive your settlement, you will likely be informed of how much any third party will take.

  • Release of the Remaining Earnings

After your attorney has taken all relevant fees from your settlement, the remaining funds will be given to you. At this point, the money belongs to you.

What to Do if You Don’t Receive Your Check

The process of receiving your settlement check can be lengthy, and there often isn’t a way to speed it up; you may simply have to be patient.

There may be several reasons why your settlement check is delayed, including the following:

  • You agreed to a structured settlement that disburses tax-free payments in smaller increments over time.
  • Your settlement is more than six figures which can take longer for the insurance company to process and the bank to verify the legitimacy of the check.
  • Your attorney is still negotiating outstanding liens.
  • Weekends and holidays can affect the timeframe because check processing is placed on hold when the banks are closed.

However, if you’ve been waiting on your settlement check for more than six weeks, it may be time to talk to your attorney to find out why it is delayed. Although there are some exceptions, most settlement checks in California are disbursed in about six weeks. 

If you’ve been involved in an auto accident and want to discuss how long it takes to receive a settlement, contact us today for a free case review. Berg Injury Lawyers has been helping car accident victims in California maximize their settlements since 1981.