Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. | August 30, 2022 | Personal Injury
If you’ve recently settled your personal injury case, you’re probably wondering how long it will take to get your money. Bills could be piling up, or you may be putting off medical treatment or surgery until you get your check.
Each case is different, but in all cases, the final personal injury check amount is determined once both parties agree on a compromise settlement or a judge has found in favor of the plaintiff. If the other party doesn’t appeal the decision, they have to cut a check for the final amount.
Once the case is concluded, both parties sign the settlement agreement, and the plaintiff also agrees to give up the right to pursue further legal action. After you’ve submitted that release, it usually takes about four to six weeks to receive your check.
However, each case is unique, and more complex cases can take longer. There could be a few different reasons why your money hasn’t arrived yet.
Questions About the Factual and Legal Matters of the Case
First, liability for the accident has to be established. If liability is hard to prove, the defendant’s lawyers may offer a low settlement, and additional expert testimony (like a doctor’s statement) may be necessary. This testimony may be used to increase your settlement offer.
Did You Include Pain and Suffering?
“Pain and suffering” is a form of non-economic damages you might be owed. It refers to the emotional and mental anguish you suffered, plus the physical pain from your injuries.
Quantifying these losses can be challenging since you cannot put a dollar amount on them. That’s why a “multiplier” is often used. This is a sliding scale that depends on the severity of the accident and the value of your economic damages.
Has Your Medical Condition Improved?
Nearly all personal injury claims are processed once the plaintiff has reached your maximum medical improvement (MMI). This can happen after you finish physical therapy or rehabilitation or once all of your surgeries are completed.
Your personal injury lawyer will typically wait until all of your medical treatment is finished in order to get a better picture of your economic damages and ensure that your injury settlement is high enough to cover the bills.
If you settle your case before completing treatment, your opportunity for additional compensation is done. For example, if you settle the case while your leg is still in a cast, and then your doctor realizes that you will need surgery after he takes off the cast, you may not sue for further damages to cover the surgery — you must pay for that.
Is the Settlement Amount a Larger Sum?
The defendant’s insurance company won’t simply cut a six- or seven-figure check without a thorough investigation. If the settlement amount is more than six figures, the review process can take much longer than smaller settlements.
What Happens After You Sign a Settlement Release?
After the release is signed, it’s forwarded to the defendant’s insurance company. They, in turn, will review the claim and the agreement and process the claim. Again, if it’s a larger than usual amount, expect the review process to take longer. Once they’ve processed the claim, they cut a check and send it to your personal injury lawyer.
Then, the lawyer places the funds in a special escrow account. They deduct your legal fees and any other claim against your settlement, such as medical liens or other associated fees. If you took out a loan against the settlement to help pay your bills while the case was pending, your loan would also be repaid from the settlement monies.
Once all the fees are paid from the settlement, your lawyer will send you a check with the balance, along with an itemization of all deductions.