Resolving your personal injury claim can take months or even years in some cases. Once it’s finally resolved, you are understandably anxious to receive your settlement check as soon as possible. But how long does it take to get a personal injury settlement check? The time frame depends on several factors, including whether you have a California personal injury lawyer representing you.
If you have questions about your personal injury settlement or think the insurance company is acting in bad faith, you should speak with a California personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Personal Injury Settlement Check After Resolving Your Case?
Unfortunately, there is no standard timeframe for when you will receive your personal injury settlement check. Your lawyer and the insurance company have a specific set of steps that they must complete first. The more complicated your case is, the longer it could take to receive payment. Someone who resolved a minor car accident case might receive their check much sooner than someone settling a defective product lawsuit.
What Steps Are Necessary Before You Receive Payment?
Understandably, some accident victims might assume that the defendant’s insurance company immediately sends you the check once you agree to settle for a certain amount of money. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. To better understand why the time frame varies for receiving a personal injury settlement check, here’s a look at some of the necessary steps that must be completed before payment is delivered.
Sign a Release
The defendant’s insurance company will draft a release of all claims and send it to you for a signature. This release says you will take no further action against the defendant for compensation related to this accident. If you settled your claim without legal representation, you should have a California personal injury lawyer review the release before signing it. If you are only resolving a portion of your case now, keep in mind that signing a release of all claims means you forfeit your right to any future claims for your injuries.
Therefore, you should not sign a release of all claims if a portion of your injury claim is still pending.
Sending Back the Release
The insurance company will want the original signed release in their file. They keep this document in case something comes up later with the claim—such as you saying you never signed the document.
Sending the Check
If you are represented by a California personal injury lawyer, the defendant’s insurance company will send the personal injury settlement check to your lawyer. Once your attorney receives it, they will deposit it in the firm’s trust account. The check must clear first, and then your attorney can distribute the funds. However, distributing the funds is also a multi-step process.
How Attorneys Distribute Funds from a Personal Injury Settlement Check
Before your attorney can issue you a check, they must handle any outstanding liens. Medical providers may put a lien on your settlement to recoup their costs for your treatment. It’s best to discuss liens and any other potential debts with your lawyer. This avoids any surprises when your case settles.
Once your lawyer resolves any outstanding liens, they will deduct their attorney’s fees and costs. This amount is usually a percentage of your settlement. Before you hire an attorney, they should explain what their contingency fee percentage is, and it may be higher or lower than average depending on the lawyer’s experience and expertise. But you’ll know what this percentage is before you hire the lawyer, and you must agree to that amount before signing your contract. Attorney fees vary, but a rough average is anywhere between 30% and 40% of your settlement. Also, most attorneys do not include court costs or expenses in their contingency fee percentage. That means you will likely have to reimburse the attorney for any expert witness fees or court costs that the attorney covered for you while building your case.
Once all liens are extinguished, and attorney fees and costs are deducted, it’s finally time to issue the settlement check. Your attorney will cut you a check and send it to you. No two cases are identical, which is why it could take more or less time than you expect.
In complicated cases, your attorney may need to resolve multiple liens and other expenses before you get paid. In most personal injury claims, receiving the personal injury settlement check requires more steps than just the insurance company putting in a request for the check and closing the file.
Contact a California Personal Injury Lawyer
If you sustained injuries in a personal injury accident resulting from another party’s negligence, you have the right to pursue reimbursement of your damages. While we cannot officially estimate how long it will take to receive your check, having an experienced lawyer on your side will help streamline the process.
At The Paris Firm, we understand how confusing the claims process can be. We want to help you pursue the maximum compensation possible while you concentrate on recovering. We have more than two decades of experience helping injured victims just like you. Contact The Paris Firm today to schedule a consultation to learn more about how we can assist you.