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How Long Does It Take for Funds to Settle - morgan and morgan
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How Long Does It Take for Funds to Settle?

How Long Does It Take for Funds to Settle?

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How Long Does It Take for Funds to Settle?

You have reached the end of the litigation process with a favorable outcome. Now, you want to know how long it takes for the funds awarded to settle? The answer is typically between one and six weeks after your attorney reaches a settlement or the judge hearing your case awards you monetary damages. The reason why it takes as long as it does is your lawyer receives your settlement check to take care of certain expenses before you receive just compensation. Whether you receive compensation within one week or six weeks of reaching a settlement or winning a favorable legal judgment depends on several factors.

With more than 30 years of litigation, Morgan & Morgan helps clients recover financial losses as quickly as possible by negotiating settlements and expediting the settlement check process. We have recovered more than $15 billion for clients since we opened our doors in 1988. If you are a victim of an act of negligence that caused you harm, working with an experienced attorney can help you receive just compensation, without having to wait six weeks to get paid.

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  • Why Does the Type of Settlement Matter?

    One of the most influential factors that determine the answer to the question, “How long does it take for funds to settle?” involves deciding which of the three types of settlements you want.

    Structured Settlement

    A structured settlement represents a series of payments that span several months to years, depending on how much you want to receive monthly. This type of legal settlement allows you to establish a monthly budget based on a payment schedule. However, inflation can erode the buying power of structured settlement payments that you receive down the road. Another issue with a structured payment plan concerns the money taken out of your monthly checks to pay for expenses such as court costs and medical liens. Your lawyer might want the entire value of legal fees taken from the first few settlement checks, which means you do not start to receive compensation until your lawyer receives the entirety of legal fees.


    A lump-sum settlement arrangement protects you against future rising commodity prices. It also allows you to pay off all expenses and still have plenty of money left over for personal use. If you are someone who needs to follow a rigid budgeting system, then a lump-sum settlement arrangement might not be the best option for you. A lump-sum settlement also might not be a good idea because the defendant cannot come up with such a large sum of money to make one payment. 

    The third settlement option is to combine a structured and lump-sum arrangement. For example, you can agree to receive half of the value of the settlement in one payment and then spread out the remaining half of the settlement value over several months or years. To determine which type of settlement arrangement is the best match for your personal finances, consult with one of the state-licensed lawyers at Morgan & Morgan.

  • What Is the Legal Settlement Process?

    Negotiating a settlement helps you avoid the costly and time-consuming trial phase of the litigation process. Your lawyer follows several steps until either you reach an agreement with the other party or your case moves to a civil courtroom for litigation. Negotiations can happen at any time, but they usually unfold before the filing of a civil lawsuit, during the discovery phase of a civil trial, or at the request of the judge hearing your case during the trial phase of the litigation process.

    Determine a Reasonable Value for Monetary Damages

    Before you sit down for a round of negotiations, your attorney determines a reasonable value for the initial offer. The keyword is reasonable because the legal counsel representing the other party quickly rejects an offer that far exceeds the value of your economic and non-economic losses.  Determining the value for economic damages is easy because each expense is documented with a receipt. However, non-economic damages, which represent non-tangible costs such as fear and anxiety, are much more difficult to calculate.

    Mail the Other Party a Demand Letter

    Mailing a demand letter lets the other party know that you plan to pursue legal action by filing a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. The demand letter should include a reasonable value for the monetary damages that you seek, as well as a detailed description of the incident or incidents that have forced you to take legal action. Your legal counsel presents an explanation of how you reached the value for monetary damages. Send the demand letter by certified mail to ensure you receive confirmation that the other party received it.

    Start of Negotiations

    You can expect at least one back and forth session, with an offer presented by your legal counsel and a counteroffer made by the other party’s attorney. Negotiations typically involve several rounds of counteroffers before both parties agree to a settlement or to end the negotiations and move forward with a civil trial. The best time to negotiate a settlement occurs during the discovery phase of the civil litigation process. Discovery allows each lawyer to examine the evidence gathered by the other attorney, as well as review the statements made by witnesses. After exchanging information, it might be apparent to both lawyers that reaching a settlement makes sense to both parties.

  • What Is the Process After Reaching a Legal Settlement?

    Determining how long it takes for funds to settle often depends on the process that unfolds after reaching a favorable settlement. Each of the following steps takes time and how fast you complete each step depends on the legal skills of your lawyer. At Morgan & Morgan, our team of experienced litigators knows how to expedite the process that you need to follow after reaching a legal settlement.

    Sign Legal Documents

    The first item on your to-do list is to sign and submit every legal document required by the judicial system. You can expect to sign a legal document called the Order of Settlement, which you must submit between 30 and 60 days after reaching a legal settlement. Signing the Order Settlement verifies that your legal counsel has explained the terms and conditions of the settlement. Signing and submitting a release form means you cannot take additional legal action against the other party.

    Your Lawyer Assumes Control of the Settlement Check

    Whether you receive a check from an insurance company or the legal counsel representing the other party, you do not immediately assume control of the settlement check. Your attorney assumes control of the settlement check to manage the distribution of payments such as liens and attorney fees. Medical liens cover the costs associated with your medical care. Another type of lien pays for the cost of repairing property damage. If you receive a settlement check for an employment lawsuit such as wrongful termination, a lien might be issued to cover the cost of daily living expenses until you are able to find another job.

    Receiving the Settlement Check

    After you pay off every lien, as well as take care of legal fees and court costs, you should receive your lump-sum settlement check or the first in a series of smaller settlement checks spread over several months or years. You can opt to receive a hard check that you deposit in a bank account or choose to receive your money through a direct deposit account. Some plaintiffs that receive settlement checks decide to cash their checks at a cash checking business. You should know that cashing a settlement check requires you to pay exorbitant service fees just to gain access to your money.

  • How Can My Attorney Speed Up the Settlement Check Process?

    Working with one of the highly-rated litigators at Morgan & Morgan can speed up the settlement check process. First, you have the option to sign a release form before you reach a settlement. You do this during negotiations if your legal counsel determines that reaching a favorable settlement is a highly likely outcome. Second, your attorney has you sign every required legal document before the conclusion of the legal process. Third, instead of waiting for the United States Postal Service (USPS) to deliver your check via snail mail, you can opt for a direct deposit of your money. Finally, you can dramatically decrease the amount of time it takes to settle your funds by paying off every expense and thus, avoid having to settle multiple outstanding liens.

    The average time it takes to process a settlement check is between one and six weeks. However, it can take several months for you to receive just compensation. If you hire one of the experienced attorneys from Morgan & Morgan, you should not have to wait six weeks to receive your settlement check. Our lawyers work fast to pay off outstanding liens, as well as court costs and legal fees.

  • What Does a Settlement Check Cover?

    A settlement check covers two primary types of expenses: Economic and non-economic.

    Economic Damages

    Economic damages cover the costs associated with tangible expenses. For a personal injury case, economic damages cover the cost of medical care, which involves diagnostic tests, treatments, and physical therapy sessions. For many employment law cases, plaintiffs receive economic damages to cover the costs associated with lost wages. When calculating the value of economic damages, your attorney refers to receipts that present the value associated with each expense.

    Non-Economic Damages

    Many of the cases that we handle involve some type of non-economic loss, such as loss of consortium and pain and suffering. For example, losing a loved one because of the negligence committed by another party can trigger prolonged emotional pain that negatively impacts personal and professional relationships. Your attorney calculates the value of non-economic damages by referring to a formula based on the value of economic damages.

  • Work With a Trust Litigator

    Another factor that answers the question, “How long does it take for funds to settle?” concerns how long you wait to file a civil lawsuit. By working with an experienced litigator from Morgan & Morgan, you can file a civil lawsuit quickly to initiate the legal process. Your legal counsel also ensures you file a civil lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitations.

    Schedule a free case evaluation to learn more about what it takes to receive a settlement check.

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Last updated on May 03, 2023

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