The process of receiving your settlement funds isn’t without its challenges. There are going to come to some pretty big decisions, which could impact how much money is left over after everything else has been paid off. This is including whether or not filing a lawsuit will require paying more expenses than necessary (it typically does). Your lawyer won’t give up until they know that every penny possibly made it into his/her clients’ hands.
Personal injury cases can be exhausting for you and your lawyer. You may have been through a difficult trial or tough negotiations with insurance companies, but now it’s time for you to get some relief!
The following is a list of steps that must happen before your settlement payment can be processed. These procedures are similar to those followed by courts when rendering verdicts and involve several different parties, including you as well!
The hardest part about settling your personal injury claim is negotiating the terms of the settlement. Your lawyer has likely engaged in some extensive back-and-forth with an insurance company to reach this point, but it’s worth all that time if you can get money quickly and start getting better treatment for yourself or your loved ones!
The insurance company has now agreed to settle your claim. You will sign the agreement, which constitutes acceptance of their terms- this means that they are fulfilling what’s asked for in damages or other payments by you without argument!
Type of Settlement
You need to decide how you want your money – a lump sum or structured settlement. You have two primary options for receiving these payments:
- Lump-Sum – This option means that all of the funds will come at once which can be beneficial if you need the money right away.
- Structured Settlement – It is often the best option when there is a high future cost associated with receiving a large sum of money. The reason why this might be so, and what exactly goes into making it such an optimal solution for individuals who need their financial situation planned out. It is also ideal for minors to protect them from spending money recklessly. The fund is placed into a trust account which is distributed in line with the terms of the structured payment.
When to receive your settlement
When you’re waiting for your settlement check, the last thing on earth that anyone wants to experience is a delay. But there are steps in place if this should happen and personal injury attorneys can help make sure nothing slows down getting paid – especially when they know how important timely disbursement of funds (especially after an auto accident) means!
Settlement papers have signed release forms to confirm that you won’t attempt to get any more compensation from the at-fault party or to waive the insurance company from any additional liability or damages. Sometimes, the settlement gets delayed as the involved parties couldn’t agree on the terms of the release amidst the fact that they’ve already agreed on the settlement account. This applies especially to cases involving minors as it may require probate court approval.
Your settlement agreement will be determined by the terms of your case. It could include any supplemental agreements as well, so make sure you read everything carefully before signing!
Some of the terms of a settlement agreement can be:
- The legal concerns that are solved by the settlement agreement
- Both parties’ rights and obligations to the agreement
- Payment arrangements
- Methods to resolve disputes
The insurance company of the at-fault party will write the settlement check after you signed the release form. Your attorney will have the settlement check that goes through different steps before it gets to you. Your lawyer needs to deposit the check into their legal trust account. Lawyers are required to maintain this account to separate their funds from their own.
Negotiation Past-Due Medical Bills and Other Debts
It is very likely your health insurance provider has dedicated funds for your medical expenses. However, they aren’t covering all your medical expenses, especially in cases of serious injury or long-term cases. The cost can rack up. The insurance company will have priority on your settlement payment. Often called “liens”, your attorney can negotiate to reduce how much you owe from third parties including medical providers. Until the liens are paid back, only then will you receive your payment.
Liens can be from government health insurance programs or group health insurance carriers. In some cases, the government can pursue compensation and file a claim if the injured party doesn’t. On the other hand, your health insurance can claim reimbursement if they paid your medical bills.
Your lawyer will reimburse the lienholders once all liens are discussed and agreed upon. The money will be from the settlement funds. Note that processing of the reimbursement to lienholders can be time-consuming, contributing to the delay.
Once all expenses such as liens, expenses, and legal fees are settled, your lawyer will finalize your case. They will provide a copy of your release and the expenses paid. Once you review all documents and sign the necessary paperwork, you will have the check. You can complete the process in person or remotely. Although time-consuming, your personal injury attorney can expedite the process so you can get the settlement faster. You can ask your lawyer to draw a release form once the settlement is cleared. It also helps to submit all the needed paperwork as soon as possible so the insurance company doesn’t have to wait for them to process your settlement.
Although the processing of your settlement check will depend on your case, the insurance company shouldn’t delay your payment for unreasonable reasons. It can take up a few weeks to process your settlement but if liens are involved, it can take longer. However, if it is a less complicated claim, you can get your check-in in less than a week. Discuss with your personal injury lawyer how you can get your settlement faster to put all your case behind so you can move forward with your life.