Whether your injury case is settled, or you were awarded a judgment in court, you certainly want to know how long it will take to receive your settlement money. The amount of time can vary depending on several factors. While some delays are avoidable, there are some that are not.
The two primary factors that determine when your money will be in your hands:
1. The actual release of the funds. Every state has its own requirements for how long an insurance company has to provide your funds. Insurance companies like to hold onto their money as long as possible. As a general rule, they will wait as long as possible. There are statutes that limit this time period and frequently impose penalties if the deadlines are not met, but there are often loopholes that provide opportunities to prolong the process.
For example, you will be required to sign a release as part of the settlement. But how long will the insurance company or defense attorney take to deliver the release agreement? You can’t sign it until they provide it.
It’s frequently possible to create a shorter timeline during the settlement process. The agreement itself can include specific dates the insurance company agrees to honor. Five business days to provide the settlement agreement and an additional seven days to provide the funds isn’t unusual. The payment process can go on for a very long time without such a stipulation. It’s critical that your attorney gets those dates in writing.
2. Delays after your attorney receives the check. This delay will typically be at least 10 days. Your attorney will deposit the check into a trust account. The check has to clear before you will receive your check from the attorney. Neither of you get paid until that check clears.
Some people believe that attorneys want to hold onto this money as long as possible and earn interest. This is simply not true. State bar associations require these ‘trust accounts’ and any interest is normally is applied toward legal services for those with low income. Under no circumstances does your attorney receive any interest! He or she wants the check to clear just as much as you do.
But this isn’t the only possible delay during this period. There may be medical liens or insurance liens that are paid before you will receive funds for your injury. Your lawyer may attempt to negotiate with the lien holders to lower these debts. You would then receive more money in your pocket. This process can be slow, but it can also be very beneficial.
It’s also possible to be paid part of your share while the injury attorney is performing these negotiations. You would then receive a second disbursement after the final settlement is reached.
It can be exciting to finally see the finish line after enduring a long legal process, but it’s important to remain patient. Your money will eventually find its way to your account. An experienced personal injury attorney will ensure that you receive your money as quickly as possible.
For more on personal injury related topics please visit the firm’s blog called Injury News.