May 17th, 2023|
Originally published June 21, 2021.
If your legal team has finally reached a settlement regarding your personal injury case, you are probably eager to receive the funds, pay your bills, and move on with your life. It may have taken a while for the defendant’s insurance company to agree to the settlement amount, so the idea of waiting any more time is unappealing.
Here’s what you need to know about the settlement process.
THE SETTLEMENT PROCESS
How long does it take to get a settlement check? The answer depends on the various processing steps and payments (such as liens) required, but in most cases, you can expect to receive your funds in about six weeks. Knowing the steps that go into processing your settlement check can help you understand why it takes so long to receive it.
SIGNING RELEASE FORMS
The first step in receiving your settlement is to sign the appropriate release documents. These documents release the defendant and their insurance company from any further lawsuits or legal action in the case.
Depending on the terms of your settlement, your release forms may be simple or full of conditions. Go over them carefully with your lawyer to make sure you agree to all stipulations. In some cases, your legal team may wish to negotiate further on the settlement before releasing the claim. This can delay your payment further. However, it’s better to wait a little longer than to accept terms you disagree with.
INSURANCE COMPANY PROCESSING
The next step is for the defendant’s insurance company to receive your release papers and sign them. Then, the insurance company processes your payment. Payment processing does not typically take too long, but with larger settlements, the insurance company may drag out the process. Once the check is issued, the insurance company sends it to your attorney.
TRUST ACCOUNT AND PAYMENT OF LIENS
Once your lawyer receives the check from the insurance company, they are required to deposit it into a trust account. Your attorney also pays off any liens or outstanding bills at this stage. This often refers to medical liens but can refer to other creditors that need to be paid. If you paid these expenses yourself, you may receive reimbursement during this stage.
Many personal injury attorneys offer to work on your case with the understanding that they don’t receive payment until you get paid. This is helpful because you don’t have to worry about money upfront to hire a lawyer to get compensation for your injuries.
At this point in the settlement process, your attorney deducts their fees from your settlement amount. Their fee will be a previously agreed on percentage of your settlement, rather than being based on an hourly rate. It may also include fees for court costs, taxes, expert testimony, and other legal expenses, as detailed in your contract.
You can ask your attorney to send you an invoice of their legal fees so you know exactly how the funds were used. Once your legal team has received their payment, you are on your way to receiving yours.
The last step in processing your settlement is when you receive the funds. After paying all debts and fees, your attorney sends you the funds. You may opt to have the check sent in the mail or pick it up in your lawyer’s office. This last step can take several weeks as law offices handle many cases at one time, so there is no need to be concerned by any delay. Always call your lawyer if you have specific questions about your settlement’s processing time.
LEGAL COUNSEL AND THE SETTLEMENT PROCESS
Due to the complicated nature of personal injury cases, you stand the best chance of protecting your rights and receiving appropriate compensation if you work with an experienced personal injury lawyer. An experienced attorney can ensure that the defendant’s insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you by offering a quick and easy settlement that is a fraction of what you may be entitled to.
CONTACT THE TEAM AT BERG INJURY LAWYERS TODAY
If you or a loved one is considering filing a personal injury claim, contact the experienced attorneys with Berg Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. Our San Francisco personal injury lawyers can walk you through what to expect in your personal injury case and see you through the settlement process.
With 40 years of experience, Berg Injury Lawyers are ready to assess your claim and represent your interests so that you win the compensation you deserve.