After reaching a settlement for your personal injury case, you’re probably wondering how long it will take to receive a check. Chances are, you’re eager to put the money toward paying medical bills and other pressing costs.
However, the process isn’t as simple as waiting for a check to arrive in the mail. There are a few more steps to complete — and there can be hiccups along the way. What needs to happen before you get a settlement check?
Signing a Release
Before the defendant’s insurance company sends you a check, you’ll have to sign a release form. This states that you won’t pursue any further damages relating to the incident in question. In short, a release form protects the liable party from additional lawsuits for the same injury.
Processing the Release
After receiving your signed release, the insurance company will process it and issue a settlement check. The check will likely be sent to your attorney and made payable to the both of you.
Your Attorney Will Deposit the Check and Pay Your Liens
Upon receiving the check, your lawyer will deposit it into a special trust or escrow account. Once the check clears, your attorney will distribute the settlement money. Typically, your lawyer will have to put some of the settlement funds toward various unpaid debts, or liens.
Your Lawyer Will Deduct Legal Fees, and You’ll Receive Your Money
Your attorney will deduct legal fees from your settlement in the form of a percentage. Your lawyer will pay liens and also subtract legal costs such as court reporting costs and expert witness fees. Once these deductions are made, you will receive your settlement money.
Reasons for Delays
Sometimes, delays occur before getting a settlement payment. For example, the defendant may have their own release form. If that’s the case, the legal representation for both sides will have to review and agree upon it. Moreover, some cases require additional preparation, such as those involving estates.
If all things go according to plan, you should receive your check within six weeks. However, hiccups that slow down the process can occur. Be sure to contact your personal injury attorney if there is a delay in receiving your settlement check.