What Is the Settlement Check Process for Personal Injury?

The settlement check process for personal injury claims generally follows six key steps, but can be delayed by a number of factors.

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What Is the Settlement Check Process for Personal Injury?

Are you expecting a settlement check? Then you’re probably wondering about receiving your payment. 

This guide will help you understand the step-by-step settlement check process, as well as what you need to know to prevent a small accident from delaying your payment.

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Step 1: Release Form Is Signed

The first step to receiving your settlement check is ensuring all parties sign a release form. This form is a legal agreement that releases all parties from any further responsibility or claim and must be signed by all. Depending on the case’s complexity, this step can take a few days to several weeks.

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Step 2: Release Form Is Processed

After the release form is signed, the next step is for it to be processed by the court. This will typically only take a few days to complete. However, it may take weeks or months to fulfill all requirements in cases involving more extensive legal matters. During this time, it is essential to remain patient as each stage of the legal process must be carefully undertaken.

Step 3: Settlement Check Deposited Into Trust

After your release form has been accepted and processed, the settlement check will be deposited into a trust account. It is important to note that this step in the process may take multiple weeks to complete. This time requirement can vary depending on how long it takes for the funds to arrive and be sorted appropriately. Fortunately, you can rest assured knowing your compensation is in a secure trust account. Additionally, it will prove the funds can be fulfilled by the provider.

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Step 4: Bills/Liens Paid

Paying bills and liens are a vital part of the moving process. If these payments are not made, they can quickly become unmanageable and cause hassles down the line. Taking the time to ensure all outstanding fees and costs are taken care of is worth it long term, as it avoids additional financial difficulties or obligations. These bills/liens include:

  • Past attorney/lawyer fees;
  • Insurance company expenses; and
  • Medical payments.

Although this step can be tedious and time consuming, tidying all bills/liens will ensure smooth sailing.

Step 5: Legal Fees Paid

After the bills and liens are paid, the next step is to pay any outstanding legal fees. These are the current attorney fees you owe for their services which must be paid in full. This may take several days, depending on the intricacy of the case. Paying these legal fees will help finalize a settlement as quickly as possible.

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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.

Step 6: Receive Settlement Check

The last step in the settlement check process is obtaining your payment. You’ll most commonly acquire the check within 4-6 weeks, depending on how quickly the funds are disbursed. Once this step is complete, your part of the settlement is concluded, and you can move forward with your life.

What Could Delay Receiving Funds?

Many things could delay processing of your settlement funds.

If the Defendant Files an Appeal

If the defendant files an appeal, this could delay receiving your settlement check for several months or even years. They might appeal because they disagree with the judgment, felt mistreated, or want to challenge the settlement agreement amount. But no matter their reason, it can drastically delay receiving your funds.

Form Signatures and Protocols

Another potential delay is if the release form or other legal documents are signed incorrectly or if you didn’t follow the proper protocols during the process. This often happens if a party is unfamiliar with the process or doesn’t double-check their work. Unfortunately, correcting these mistakes can take several weeks, delaying receipt of your settlement check.

How Long Your Lawyer Holds the Check

Sometimes, the lawyer representing you will hold onto the settlement check before releasing it. They might do this for various reasons, such as ensuring they receive their legal fees or verifying any outstanding bills are taken care of first (e.g. medical bills). Depending on the lawyer’s policies, this can delay receiving the funds by a few days or weeks.

How Long it Takes for Claims to Get Settled

The time it takes for a claim to be settled can vary depending on the case’s type and sophistication. A straightforward settlement, for example, can be done in a few days, while complicated cases with big damages can take months to resolve. Consider these factors when planning how soon you’ll receive your settlement money.

Deduction of Lawyers Fees and Check Mailed

Finally, you’ll need to remember that your lawyer’s fees are deducted from the settlement amount before the check is mailed. So you may receive a smaller check than initially agreed upon, depending on how much they charge in legal fees. This process can add a few more days to the timeline, so make sure to factor this into your expectations.

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How Can You Speed Up the Process?

One smart way to speed up the settlement check process is to stay in close contact with your lawyer. Their expertise and experience can help you understand potential delays, how to address them, and answer your biggest settlement check questions. They can also help you track deadlines and ensure that all documents are signed correctly and that any bills or liens are taken care of quickly. Always utilize their legal services fully.

If you need help with funding during the settlement process, you can get a loan against your future settlement funds. This can provide you with much-needed funds while you wait for the final settlement check to arrive. However, you should research carefully before taking this route and ensure you understand any loan agreement’s terms. You can discuss this option with your lawyer to see if it’s the right choice for you.

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