The legal process can be lengthy after filing a car accident or personal injury claim for an accident that results in injury. A lawsuit may take several months or perhaps several years to complete.
What happens when your lawsuit has been resolved and a settlement is reached? How long can that process take to be finalized? There are a few steps that take place, which we will outline below.
If you have any questions regarding a personal injury case, reach out to our New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law. We can help you make sense of your situation and guide you on a path for success.
The Settlement Release Form
Once a settlement has been reached by both parties, your attorney will notify the court, which will then issue an Order of Settlement requiring the completion and signing of all relevant documents within 30 to 60 days. The Settlement Release form is an important step in the process. The settlement offer's terms, which will be outlined in this document and normally include:
- No admission of guilt. Even though they may be paying compensation, the at-fault party is not legally required to accept responsibility.
- Privacy. A non-disclosure agreement, which keeps the specifics of the settlement private and not made public, may be required to be signed in order to comply with the conditions of a settlement agreement.
- Release from additional liability or claims. You can no longer bring a claim against the defendant or the insurance provider for additional compensation associated with the incident or accident once the settlement release form has been signed.
By agreeing to the settlement and signing the release, you are releasing the defendant and typically any other defendant involved in the incident from further liability. To put it another way, once you reach a settlement, there is no way to go back and try to file a claim for more money. If you're married, the release may also need to be signed by your spouse.
Getting The Settlement Compensation Check
The insurance company will start the process for writing the check as soon as the settlement release form is signed. Before the check is actually issued, this typically involves multiple departments from the insurer and a legal review. Usually, the insurance company mails the check to your lawyer's office with your name and theirs on it.
Your lawyer will put the check in an escrow account as soon as it is received and subsequently distribute the funds as necessary. Although you should already have a payment plan in place for your specific case, the lawyer will cover any liens so that you won't be sued and other costs associated with your case. Liens and fees include, for instance:
- Outstanding medical debt
- Unpaid child support
- Legal costs
Costs associated with your case, such as those associated with hiring experts, filing fees, and other costs linked to assembling evidence in your case will be paid first. The remaining portion of the settlement, which may be given to you in the form of a structured settlement or a lump amount, will be paid to you after the liens and costs have been paid. The settlement agreement will specify the payment schedule, which cannot be altered once it has been agreed upon. Structured settlements are paid in regular installments, whereas lump sum payments are made all at once.
Depending on the specifics of your case, it can take as little as a month or as long as several months to receive your check after agreeing to a settlement, particularly if liens need to be resolved.
Will My Settlement Be Taxed?
The settlement in a personal injury case is typically exempt from federal and state taxes. This could not always be the case, though, depending on the situation. If you are unclear about this specific inquiry, make sure to discuss with a tax expert or your lawyer.
Accepting a Personal Injury Settlement in NJ
You need to be aware of the value of your injuries before you can assess if a settlement offer is reasonable. This is why you should never accept a settlement too quickly, especially without consulting an experienced NJ personal injury attorney.
Unless you evaluate all of your injuries, you never know if you will have enough to cover your medical costs, lost pay, and other potential losses, even if the offer seems like a lot of money. Make sure you account for your future medical requirements as well as the money you will lose from being unable to work or perhaps even returning to your prior position. You should receive just compensation for your damages.
Brandon J. Broderick Can Help You With Any Personal Injury Inquiry
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we are here for our clients. As one of the top personal injury law firms in New Jersey, as well as New York and Connecticut, you can rest assured we have the experience and knowledge to see your case through to the end.
If you've been injured in an accident due to someone else's negligence, we can help. All you have to do is call us and schedule your free consultation, and we can discuss what steps to take next.