When personal injury cases arise, one of the ways to make them go away as soon as possible is through -out -of court settlements. Out -of -court settlements occur when the attorneys of the plaintiff and the defendant agree to pay a certain amount (as agreed by the two attorneys) to the plaintiff rather than take the case before the jury in a trial.
However, after the attorneys have reached an agreement, it may take between one week and six weeks before you receive a check.
What must take place before you receive compensation money?
The reason for the one week to six weeks window is that there are some processes that must take place before the money can get into your account. These processes include:
The defendant and their attorneys will want to ensure the proper filing and signing of all legal paperwork. In situations like this, everything must be in order.
The release form contains a clause that the plaintiff will no longer make monetary demands from the defendant. The release form helps prevent any form of blackmail in the future. The defendant’s attorney prepares the release form and the plaintiff will append his or her signature.
The two attorneys will agree on the details that will be on the release form. Afterwards, the plaintiff signs and the form is returned to the defendant.
Some defendant will delay the processing of the settlement even after the signing of the release form. However, in some states, there is a maximum waiting period between the signing of the release form and the payment. In states where those laws apply, delay is minimized. This is why it is important to sign the release form as soon as possible, you’re not the one delaying the process.
Internal Process of the Insurance Company
The insurance company may have some internal process and guidelines that may delay payment. There may be some internal bureaucracies before the release of settlement money. This is especially the case when the settlement involves a large sum of money.
If you were admitted to the hospital because of the injuries you sustained, there may be some outstanding medical bills to pay. In that case, there will be a lien on the settlement money. When the insurance company finally releases payment to the attorney, the first thing is to pay these bills. It is when all bills are settled, that you can expect your compensation.
Part of the bills due for settlement are court fees and legal fees (attorney fees). The court fees may include court expenses and fees for filing for a settlement. After the attorney settles the court fees and legal fees, he will send you a check for the remainder of the settlement money.
If there is a delay, it could be between you and the bank. In cases where the settlement amount is large, the bank may put the money on hold for up to nine days before crediting your account. Irrespective of the amount, there might be a delay if the payment falls on a weekend or public holiday.
How to Fast Track the Payment
There are some ways you can fast track your payment:
- Prepare the release form in advance: Once the attorney perceives that settlement is imminent, that is the time to start drafting up the release form. The earlier you can get the release form drafted and signed, the faster the payment process.
- Ensure the Attorney has all the current bills: If the attorney has all the current bills on hand, it is easier to quickly make the payments and speed up the process.
- Early submission of all documents: Ensure you submit every necessary document as at when due to prevent a delay to the signing and filing of all necessary paperwork.
With these few steps, you should get your money earlier than if you did not take them.
In some cases, where settlement amount is large, the defendant and plaintiff can agree to a structured payment where the former makes regular payment (at an agreed interval) rather than a lump-sum payment. Some plaintiffs may like structured settlement payments while others do not. If you belong to the latter, you can trade in your structured settlement payments for lump sum cash with some organizations.
Getting the settlement money after an out of court settlement can be more tedious than it should be. It may take up to six weeks in some cases.
The best thing is to speak with your attorney and look for ways to fast track the process. Find out more about your case’s projected timeline by contacting our attorneys today.