How Long Can a Lawyer Hold Your Personal Injury Settlement Check?

A lawyer may hold a personal injury settlement check for a variety of reasons. Learn about some common delays and how helps plaintiffs expedite their settlements.

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How Long Can a Lawyer Hold Your Personal Injury Settlement Check?

Did you know your lawyer could be holding your settlement check for longer than expected? Depending on the complexity of your case, several factors can delay the processing of your settlement check. We’ll address these factors and provide you with the information you need to receive your funds as soon as possible.

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How Long Can a Lawyer Hold a Settlement Check?

Your lawyer cannot hold your check indefinitely. The time for lawyers to disburse funds depends on the case’s complexity and other factors. For example, if you’re in a car accident, obtaining your settlement check may take less time than a medical malpractice case.

Generally, you should receive your settlement check within one to two weeks of reaching the agreement. However, it may take longer if the case is complicated and involves multiple entities to be settled. In some cases, this process can take months when compared to a personal injury case.

It’s important to note that the settlement check process may also depend on individual state laws. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the laws in your state and be sure you’re working with a lawyer who is aware of them.

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What Might Cause a Delay in Settlement Funding?

Many things can cause delays in receiving your settlement funds

Complications With Release Form

Your lawyer can only disburse your settlement funds once you sign a release form. The purpose of this form is to protect the defendant or the insurance company that’s paying the settlement. The release form confirms you understand the terms of your settlement and won’t sue in the future. If you withhold signing the release form or if there are any discrepancies with the document, it can delay your settlement check.

Settlement Processing Time

The settlement processing time also affects how long it takes for you to receive your check. After you sign the release form, the defendant or insurance company must process the payment and send the check. Depending on their internal policies and procedures, this can be lengthy. If your lawyer needs to review the check before it’s sent, that adds additional time.

Check Clearance

In some cases, the check sent to you from the defendant or insurance company may need to be cleared before you can deposit it. A clearance time of several days is standard for a settlement check. And if your lawyer is dispersing the funds to you in payments, the check may take longer to arrive.

Paying Bills

If you owe any bills, debts, or liens out of your settlement, that can also cause a delay. In most cases, you’ll need to pay any medical bills or debts out of your settlement funds before you receive the remainder. This includes legal fees to your attorney as well. They will need to ensure you’ve paid your dues before disbursing the rest of your funds.

How Can I Receive Funding Sooner?

There are a few ways to expedite your settlement:

Advance from Attorney

If you need money to cover expenses like a deposition, court fees, or other related costs before your settlement goes through, and you’ve discussed this with your attorney, they may give you some of the funds in advance according to the contingency agreement. However, you’ll need trust and approval to get an advance from an attorney. After all, they’ll want to ensure you’ll be able to cover the expenses they incur while working on your case. 


  • You’ll receive your funds sooner;
  • This can be helpful if you’re in dire need of funds;
  • Consolidates the amount of paperwork you’ll need to manage.


  • You may owe your attorney fees for the advance;
  • This could reduce the amount of your settlement;
  • Requires trust between you and your attorney.

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Litigation Funding

Another option is litigation funding. This involves securing a loan against your settlement from a third-party provider. Unlike a traditional loan, litigation funding is considered an “asset purchase,” meaning it’s not reported to credit bureaus. So you won’t have to worry about credit checks affecting your financing chances. Typically, you’ll receive a lump sum to fund your case with litigation funding. And if you lose your case, you don’t have to repay the loan at all.


  • Great if you can’t finance your case;
  • No credit score needed;
  • Easy application process.


  • Requires a high chance of winning your case (usually within a deadline as well);
  • The settlement amount must be “worth it” to the lender;
  • Will need to use a portion (or even all) of the settlement check as payment.

Post-Settlement Lawsuit Loan

Once a lawsuit ends and both parties agree on an amount, the defendant usually pays the plaintiff part of the sum. However, it’s not common for defendants to pay plaintiffs the full settlement all at once because there are no laws stating when somebody must make full payment. This can result in long waiting periods lasting from weeks to years.

You can apply for a post-settlement lawsuit loan if you need money to cover expenses while waiting for a settlement. In most cases, you can get a cash advance within a few days of your successful application.


  • Quick application and approval process;
  • No credit score is required;
  • Repay fees as you collect settlement payments.


  • The minimum should be requested due to interest rates;
  • You may end up paying more interest if your settlement takes longer to process;
  • You must have been awarded a settlement agreement before you qualify for this lower-interest loan.

Get $500 – $100,000 as soon as today

We understand that if you’re applying for funding with us, you needed the funding yesterday. With your attorney’s cooperation, we can provide funding as soon as the same day you apply with us.

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