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How Do You Cash a Settlement Check?

How Do You Cash a Settlement Check?

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How Do You Cash a Settlement Check?

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), nearly 15 million lawsuits are processed each year in the United States. The purpose of filing a civil lawsuit for a personal injury case is to receive monetary damages to cover the costs associated with one or more injuries. Not every personal injury case makes it to the trial phase of the litigation process. In fact, the goal of most personal injury attorneys is to reach a favorable settlement before a personal injury case sees the light inside of a courtroom.

Victims of personal injury incidents have plenty of issues to worry about starting with getting the medical care they need to recover from one or more injuries. They also have to worry about getting an insurance claim approved, as well as decide whether to take legal action against a negligent party. One of the things many personal injury plaintiffs do not think about is how do you cash a settlement check.

Does the insurance company cut you a check on the day when your personal injury lawyer agrees to a settlement? Does the attorney representing the defendant in a civil lawsuit write a check to you on the day that both parties agree to a value for monetary damages? The answer to both questions is no, as knowing how to cash a settlement check requires you to complete a multiple-step process.

At Morgan & Morgan, our personal injury lawyers help clients learn how to cash a settlement check, as well as acquire a deep understanding of what it takes to get compensated for one or more injuries. Since 1988, our team of personal injury attorneys has recovered more than $7 billion in monetary damages for our clients. Not only do we help our clients receive just compensation for their injuries, but we also provide legal support when it comes to getting paid.

Schedule a free case evaluation with one of the personal injury lawyers from Morgan & Morgan to learn more about the check settlement process.

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FAQ

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  • What Are the Two Types of Legal Settlements?

    Before you learn the answer to “How do you cash a settlement check,” you should first receive an overview of the settlement process. The first legal concept to learn about involves distinguishing between the two types of legal settlements.

    Lump-Sum

    As the most common type of legal settlement, a lump-sum payment represents a single value of money received by a plaintiff involved in a personal injury case. A lump-sum settlement offers several advantages, with perhaps the greatest advantage being one payment brings an end to the legal process. You receive all of your money, without having to wait for additional payments. Another benefit of a lump-sum settlement is future payments do not get hit hard by inflation. Victims of personal injury cases that receive a lump-sum settlement can invest the entire sum in an interest-bearing account. The downside to a lump-sum settlement is the defendant might not be able to afford to pay the entire amount at one time.

    Structured

    With a structured settlement, you receive a series of payments, which typically come in monthly installments. The stipulations for a structured settlement include the frequency of payments, the amount of each payment, and whether the settlement adjusts monthly payments to account for inflation. Agreeing to a structured settlement allows you to budget your compensation instead of trying to figure out how to manage a large lump sum. For example, you can automatically deduct an amount from a structured settlement each month to make car payments. However, the downside of a structured settlement is over the course of time, the party making the monthly payments might not have the financial resources to continue with the settlement plan.

  • What Happens After a Legal Settlement?

    Before you learn how to cash a settlement check, you should get an idea about what happens after both parties agree to a legal settlement. The personal injury lawyer you work with from Morgan & Morgan can explain how the process works in detail.

    Sign a Release Form and Legal Documents

    After reaching a settlement with the other party, you receive a document called the Order of Settlement. Both you and the other party must complete all the paperwork required by the Order of Settlement within either 30 or 60 days. The length of time you have to submit the Order of Settlement paperwork depends on a court order. Signing the release form means your personal injury attorney has explained to you the terms and conditions of the legal settlement. One important document you must sign ensures you will not take additional legal action against the other party. You should sign the release form in the presence of a notary public.

    Attorney Receives Check

    Whether an insurance company issues your settlement check or the check comes from the legal counsel representing the other party, the money does not go directly to you. Instead, your personal injury lawyer receives the check because you must follow a few steps before you get compensated for your injuries. The insurance company or the legal counsel representing the other party has a legal responsibility to issue the check on the day of receiving the release form.

    Paying Liens

    The reason why your personal injury lawyer receives your settlement check is to take care of any liens placed on your compensation. You might have to pay off a medical lien, which represents the healthcare expenses you have not taken care of on the day you received a settlement check. Another type of lien covers the costs associated with repairing property damage. For example, if your vehicle received extensive damages because of an auto accident, the shop that repaired the damage has the legal power to request a lien to be placed on your financial settlement.

    Your personal injury attorney ensures every lien gets paid off before moving on to another type of expense.

    Take Care of Court Costs and Legal Fees

    Most personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis, which means they do not get paid unless their clients win a judgment for monetary damages or receive a settlement check. The typical contingency fee charged by a personal injury lawyer runs between 25 percent and 40 percent. If you work with legal counsel that charges a 25 percent contingency fee and you settle a personal injury case for $100,000, your legal counsel receives a payment of $25,000 for providing legal services. Your attorney also might have to pay court costs out of your settlement money.

    Reception of Your Settlement Check

    After you pay off every lien, as well as take care of court costs and legal fees, the time has come for you to receive a settlement check. You have the option of having your lawyer mail the check to the address you provided that should be on file. Another option involves setting up a direct deposit transaction that ensures you receive your money as soon as your personal injury lawyer handles the financial issues such as paying off every lien. Depending on the processing speed of your legal counsel, you might have to wait to receive a settlement check in the mail for as long as six weeks.

  • How Do I Speed Up the Check Payment Process?

    Your personal injury attorney has several options that can speed up the check payment process. First, you sign the release form before your case concludes. This typically happens during negotiations to reach a favorable settlement. Second, your legal counsel provides you with the documents you must sign before the end of the legal process. Third, you can request an expedited mailing to reduce the amount of time you have to wait for a check to arrive in the mail. However, setting up direct deposit dramatically reduces the amount of time you have to wait for a settlement check. Finally, you can shorten the liens process by taking care of most, if not all of the outstanding expenses that are associated with your case.

  • How Do You Cash a Settlement Check Without a Bank Account?

    How do you cash a settlement check without a bank account? The answer is you have three primary options. Cashing a settlement check does not require you to have a bank account, but you can expect to take more steps to receive your money than if you have the settlement check deposited in your bank account.

    Bank That Issues Check

    If the issuing bank operates a local branch, you can cash the settlement check at the issuing bank. You must present two forms of identification that can include a driver’s license or a state-issued identification card. One of the reasons not to cash a check because of the lack of a bank account is you can expect to pay fees to consummate the transaction. The fees can be a flat rate or a percentage of the value of the settlement check.

    Retail or Convenience Store

    Several retail chains offer check cashing services. Walmart cashes a wide variety of checks that include legal settlement checks. However, most retail and convenience stores place a limit on the value of a check they will cash. Since many personal injury settlements exceed $10,000, cashing your settlement check at a retail or convenience store might not be an option.

    Check Cashing Business

    Check cashing businesses specialize in cashing checks for customers that do not have bank accounts. You need to present a government-issued identification card and pay the proper fees, which can be higher than the check cashing fees charged by the issuing bank. You do not have to take out a loan nor worry about a limit placed on the amount of money a check-cashing business can cash for a settlement check.

  • Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

    You have several reasons why it makes sense to work with a state-licensed personal injury lawyer. Your attorney gathers and organizes the physical evidence you need to file a persuasive insurance claim and a civil lawsuit. Interviewing witnesses represents another important legal service provided by one of the highly-rated personal injury attorneys from Morgan & Morgan. We also help our client learn the answer to the question, “How do you cash a settlement check.”

    The personal injury lawyer assigned to your case will describe the options you have to receive your settlement money in the form of cash. Morgan & Morgan also helps clients receive financial advice on how to manage the money generated by a legal settlement.

    Learn more about how do you cash a settlement check by scheduling a free case evaluation with one of the personal injury lawyers at Morgan & Morgan.

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