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What Is the Process for Receiving My Personal Injury Settlement Check in Pittsburgh, PA? – Morgan & Morgan
If you get injured, filing a lawsuit or insurance claim can allow you to recover damages such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. However, the process of obtaining your settlement check may take time. Delays to receiving your payout can be frustrating when bills keep coming in and your creditors are waiting to get paid. Knowing the process for receiving your personal injury settlement check in Pittsburgh, PA can help identify why your check is delayed and what you can do about it.
We think it is wrong that injured victims face unnecessary or unreasonable delays when getting their checks. Morgan & Morgan knows how important receiving a timely payout can be for your recovery and comfort. Our committed attorneys leave nothing to chance and can fight for you until the check arrives. Contact us now to find out how we can help you get the settlement you deserve.
The Steps for Receiving Your Personal Injury Settlement Check in Pittsburgh
Once negotiations have concluded, you can typically look forward to receiving your check. However, before you can enjoy the proceeds of your settlement, there are some steps in the process. Claimants have to sign paperwork such as the release form, wait for the check to get issued by the insurer, and pay off various lien holders. The check can only begin to make its way to you after all the necessary steps in the process are completed. This process, in detail, includes:
1. Signing a Release Form and Other Documents
One of the most important actions for receiving a check is signing the release form. This document “releases” the defendant from any further legal liabilities in the case and is part of the “order of settlement” paperwork that needs to be completed by both parties. You must sign the release form before the insurance will begin processing and issuing a settlement check. Your attorney should ensure that the terms contained in the release form are satisfactory before you sign.
2. Processing and Issuing the Settlement Check
Once you have done your part and signed all the crucial paperwork, the insurance company is obligated to issue your check within a reasonable time. However, every insurer has different policies and procedures. Generally, the process of issuing and mailing out your check should not take more than a month. However, your check can get delayed at the insurance company for various reasons, including:
- The release form was incorrectly signed or contained mistakes
- The employee dealing with issuing checks is on vacation or off sick
- The case involves an estate or a minor
3. The Check Is Deposited
Next, your attorney receives the check from the insurance company. Upon receipt, your lawyer will go ahead and deposit the check into a trust or escrow account and wait until the bank clears the funds. When the check has cleared, the disbursements will begin. First of all, your lienholders and debtors will get paid. This is an important step before you can receive your money. Liens and debts that have to be settled can include:
- Unpaid medical bills
- Reimbursing private health insurance or Medicaid/Medicare
- Unpaid child support
Paying off liens is critical as soon as you receive a settlement check, whether you are working with an attorney or handle the case independently. Failing to promptly pay your debtors, such as healthcare providers, can have legal consequences.
4. Deducting Attorney’s Fees and Legal Expenses
Your attorney will now go ahead and deduct their fees and any costs involved in bringing your case from the settlement amount. Depending on the complexity of your personal injury case, legal expenses can include court filing costs, expert witness fees, deposition costs, and others. After the attorney has taken care of deducting fees and expenses, they should issue you a check for the remainder of the settlement amount.
5. Receiving Your Personal Injury Settlement Check
It can be a huge relief to finally hold the settlement check in your hands and have funds available that allow you to move on with your life after a personal injury. Once you have received your check, you can simply deposit it with your bank in Pittsburgh or cash it in. Depending on how fast you would like the funds to be available, you can cash your check at:
- Your bank
- The institution that issued the check
- A grocery or convenience store
- A check cashing store
When you cash in the check at a bank, the hold period could be up to seven business days or longer, depending on the amount. Alternatively, you could receive your money instantly at a cash checking store. However, fees can be higher at cash checking or convenience stores.
What to Do if Your Settlement Check Is Delayed
If it seems that you have been waiting for your check forever, you might want to investigate why there is a hold-up and who is responsible. Checks can be delayed at the insurance company, your attorney’s office or get lost in the mail.
At Morgan & Morgan, we understand that injured victims are keen to receive what they are entitled to. Our attorneys will not abandon you once they win the case or negotiate an out-of-court settlement on your behalf. We can be by your side until you hold the check safely in your hands. If your payout seems unreasonably delayed, our experienced attorneys can follow up with the insurance company, track your settlement check, and speed the process along.
Reasons Why Your Settlement Could Be Delayed
Settlement checks can be delayed for various reasons, including insurance company staff being off sick or on vacation. However, in some cases, the settlement process itself can take an excessive amount of time, depending on:
The Facts of Your Case
If liability is tricky to determine in your accident, you can expect the insurance company to put up a fight. They may start by denying your claim altogether or making a lowball offer. This typically results in prolonged negotiations which can delay the settlement and your check for a considerable time.
Your Medical Improvement
It is generally advisable to wait while negotiating a settlement until you have reached maximum improvement. Only then can doctors and your attorney calculate your future expected medical bills and income losses correctly. Settling while you are still recovering or receiving medical treatments can be tricky as you generally give up the right to go after more compensation once you have signed the settlement agreement.
Suppose you develop complications or further injuries after a settlement has been agreed on. You would then be responsible for your own future medical expenses. While it is understandable that injured victims are eager to receive their checks and start paying off their bills, waiting some time before agreeing on a settlement can work in your favor.
The Extent of Your Damages
If you have suffered life-changing or disabling injuries, expect the insurance company to scrutinize every detail of your claim. When a lot of money is at stake, insurers tend to pull out all the stops to try and minimize a settlement. When a settlement reaches six figures, the entire process from settling to receiving your check can be lengthy. In most cases, claimants can help speed up the process by following their medical treatment plan and working with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Morgan & Morgan
What Is a Settlement?
If you got injured in an accident that occurred due to the negligence of another, you could potentially file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation. If you have a valid case, an attorney can help you file a lawsuit against the defendant and negotiate with their insurance company to agree on a fair settlement for your damages.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), it is common for personal injury cases to settle outside the courtroom. The legal dispute is officially resolved when all parties agree on a settlement amount. Settlements can be reached at any time before or after a lawsuit is filed, right up until trial. By accepting a settlement, the injured party agrees to drop all further legal claims in return for receiving their payout.
How Long Will It Take to Receive My Check?
Since your check will go through a several-step process before you can hold it in your hands, you cannot expect to receive the check instantly after signing a settlement agreement. However, if the process for receiving your personal injury check in Pittsburgh, PA, goes according to plan, you should receive your money within a month or up to six weeks at most. Therefore, if you have signed the release form and all other required paperwork, and neither you nor your attorney received a check after four or five weeks, you should investigate why there is a delay.
What Can I Do to Speed Up the Process of Receiving a Check?
Generally, your influence on the settlement check process is limited. However, there are some things you and your attorney can do to ensure that the check is not delayed unnecessarily, which can include:
- Drafting a release form before the end of settlement negotiations
- Expediting the mailing of important documents
- Tracking mailed documents so the other party cannot claim they never received them
- Discussing your liens with your attorney before the check arrives
Having an experienced and determined personal injury attorney from our firm in your corner can help speed up the process of receiving your payout.
What Are the Reasons Why My Check Is Delayed?
Receiving a check after settling a claim generally takes a while. However, you are entitled to receive your payout within a reasonable time, provided you have signed the necessary paperwork and taken all other required steps. Reasons for check delays can include:
- The settlement paperwork is not signed and completed correctly
- The insurance company delays processing your check
- Your attorney is waiting for the check to clear
- Your attorney is still negotiating with your lienholders
- The check arrived while your attorney was out of office for some time
How Can I Track My Settlement Check in Pittsburgh, PA?
Your attorney should be able to advise you at which stage you are in the process of receiving your personal settlement check in Pittsburgh. You can also ask the attorney to follow up with an insurance company to determine why your check is delayed. Your lawyer should receive your check directly from the insurance company and can track your check to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays.
If you handled your case without legal representation, you will need to find out what happened to your check. The best starting-off point is contacting the responsible insurance company. You could ask when you can expect to receive your check or whether there is anything you can do to help expedite the process. If you are not getting any satisfactory answers after repeatedly contacting an insurance company, consider seeking legal advice for your situation. You could also file an official complaint with the Pennsylvania Insurance Department.
Morgan & Morgan Can Fight for What You Deserve
We know that after going through lengthy settlement negotiations, waiting for the settlement check you need and deserve can be frustrating and upsetting. Minor delays may be inevitable. However, Morgan & Morgan believes it is not right when insurance companies delay settlement checks unnecessarily, effectively forcing injured individuals to put their lives and recovery on hold.
You do not have to fight for what you deserve or take on a powerful insurance company on your own. Our seasoned personal injury attorneys can handle your personal injury case from the day you get hurt until the settlement payout hits your bank account. You only pay if we win. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.