After a settlement for the accident is agreed upon, how long will it take to get my settlement check?
Usually, it takes between four to six weeks to complete the settlement process (this varies on a case-by-case basis).
First, the insurance company will require you to sign a release that settles your claim. In this release it will state that you are giving up your right to sue the person, persons or company who are responsible for your injuries. When the insurance company receives the release, you will receive an agreed-upon sum of money in exchange for giving up your claim.
Typically, a personal injury settlement check is disbursed to your attorney. First, he or she will pay any liens placed on the settlement funds (such as those for medical bills). Attorney’s fees, out-of-pocket expenses, and other possible costs associated with the claim will also be deducted. After all deductions have been made, typically you will receive the balance of the settlement in the form of a check from your own attorney’s office.
There are three key reasons why a personal injury case may take a long time:
- Legal or factual problems with the case
- The case involves a large sum of money
- You are still being treated for injuries or conditions related to the accident
Legal Or Factual Problems With The Case
Determining liability for an accident or injury often rests on whether someone was careless or negligent. If liability is difficult to prove, it is unlikely that the defendant’s insurer will make a reasonable settlement offer. Your lawyer will be able to advocate how to proceed if this is the case.
There may also be problems with determining damages. For example, if your doctor cannot determine whether the defendant’s negligence caused your injury, then the insurer is not going to make a reasonable settlement offer until you can find a doctor who will testify that the defendant’s carelessness caused your injuries.
The Case Involves Large Damages
Insurers will not pay out large settlements until they have done their due diligence, which means investigating every facet of the liability and damages regarding the case.
In addition, insurers are very vigilant in shedding light on every single aspect of a case. In order to acknowledge liability of their insured, they often conduct a recorded statement where you, the plaintiff, will need to recall parts of the accident and what injuries you sustained. This is just one example of many where the insurance company seeks to evaluate damages.
Reaching Maximum Medical Improvement
A settlement may take a long time if you are still being treated for your injuries. Settling a personal injury case before you have reached a point of maximum medical improvement (MMI) can be a costly and painful mistake.
You should wait until you are at MMI before settling your case so you and your lawyer can put an appropriate value your damages. If you are still being medically treated, there is no way to know if you will fully recover from your injuries. If you accept a settlement before you reach MMI, you may not be compensated for additional medical expenses, disability, lost wages or pain and suffering down the road.
Settling for Less
It is best not to settle for less compensation than you deserve. However, if you need to settle your case fast and cannot wait very long for a personal injury settlement check, you should still consult a personal injury lawyer who can advise you of the risks of a quick settlement.