Whether you’ve been injured due to someone else’s reckless or careless actions, you may find yourself pursuing a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your losses. However, the insurance companies or opposing legal teams are in no hurry to speed up the process – or provide a settlement offer. But once the claim is settled, many injured victims have questions about how long it takes to receive a settlement check.
How Long Does it Take to Receive a Settlement Check?
Once the settlement is mutually agreed upon, it can take as little as a month but up to several months to receive a settlement check. If liens must be negotiated the process tends to be on the longer side.
Let’s review the steps that occur once both parties have agreed to the settlement.
Settlement Release Forms
After the settlement is agreed upon, your lawyer will alert the court who will issue an Order of Settlement which requires that the necessary paperwork be completed and signed within 30 - 60 days. One of the most important parts of this process is the Settlement Release form. This document will outline the terms of the settlement offer which typically include:
- No admittance of fault. Even though the at-fault party may be paying the settlement, they are not legally admitting fault.
- Privacy. The terms of a settlement agreement are almost never made publicly available.
- Release of further liability and claims. Once the settlement release form is signed, you can no longer file a claim against the defendant or the insurance company for further compensation related to the incident or accident.
By signing the release, you are accepting the settlement and therefore releasing any other claims against the defendant and usually any other defendant related to the incident. In other words, once you settle you can never reopen the case or try to file a claim for additional compensation. If you are married, your spouse may be required to sign the release as well.
The Settlement Check
Once the settlement release form is signed, the insurance company will begin their process for cutting the check. This usually involves several departments within the insurance company and a legal review before the check is actually issued. Typically, the insurance company makes the check out to you and your attorney and mails it to your attorney’s office.
Once the check is received, your attorney will deposit the check in an escrow account and then disburse the funds accordingly. While you should already have a payment agreement set-up for your particular case, the attorney will pay any liens so that you are not sued and other fees that were part of your case. Examples of liens and fees include:
- Unpaid medical bills
- Unpaid child support
- Attorney fees
Expenses related to your case, such as expert witnesses, filing fees, accident reconstruction and other expenses related to building evidence in your case
Once the liens and fees are paid, the remainder of the settlement will be paid to you, which can come in the form of a structured settlement or a lump sum payment. The payment structure will be determined in the settlement agreement and cannot be changed once agreed upon. Just as it sounds, structured settlements are paid in regular intervals while a lump sum is paid all at once.
Is Your Personal Injury Settlement Taxable?
Generally, the settlement from a personal injury lawsuit is not taxable at the federal or state level. However, in certain circumstances, this may not be the case. Make sure to consult with your attorney or a tax professional about your circumstances.
Should You Accept the Settlement?
Before you can figure out if a settlement offer is fair, you need to know how much your injuries are worth. An offer may seem like a lot of money until you realize that this amount won’t even begin to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other potential losses. Make sure you are considering your future medical needs and the lost income from not being able to work or maybe even return to your former job. You deserve to be fairly compensated for your losses.
Brandon J. Broderick is Here for You 24/7
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we believe in exceptional client care, aggressive representation, and results. We understand every case is unique and the devastating toll an injury can have on the victim and loved ones. With offices in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, we’ve got you covered. If you need help getting full and fair compensation for your injuries after an accident, contact us today for a free consultation.