Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. | October 29, 2022 | Personal Injury
If you were injured in a car accident, construction accident, or another type of accident, you may have suffered significant losses from medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and more. While going to trial may be an option, you may be anxious to collect a settlement check to help compensate you for these losses.
If you are wondering when you can expect a settlement check or about the personal injury claims process, contact an experienced lawyer to learn about your legal rights and options.
What Is a Legal Settlement?
Many people think of legal claims in terms of cases going to court. However, the Bureau of Justice reports that only 4% of personal injury cases wind up going to trial. Instead, most cases are resolved through an out-of-court agreement. This agreement is also known as a legal settlement.
A settlement ends a legal dispute. In exchange for the terms agreed to by the parties, the plaintiff agrees to voluntarily dismiss the claims against the defendant. A settlement can happen at any time during the litigation process and sometimes even after a trial has started. However, most settlements occur before a lawsuit is filed.
To reach a settlement, the insurance company and the plaintiff’s lawyer usually engage in several rounds of negotiation. The insurance company may try to settle the claim for less money, while the plaintiff’s lawyer will try to achieve the highest possible settlement amount for the case.
Once the plaintiff agrees to a settlement, the plaintiff may give up their right to pursue any further compensation, so it is important they understand the value of their claim. Working with a personal injury lawyer during this process can help to protect your rights.
What Are the Benefits of a Settlement?
The plaintiff can realize several important benefits when settling their claim, including:
- Getting their lawsuit settlement check faster
- Avoiding the uncertainty of a trial
- Avoiding the publicity of a lawsuit
- Not having to worry about whether the defendant will pay a judgment
- Having lower legal costs
If you decide to settle your case, there will be several requirements you will likely need to meet.
What Are the Requirements for a Settlement in New York?
Before you receive your settlement check, you will likely be required to sign release forms that state:
- You are releasing the defendant and their insurance company from any further liability in the matter
- The defendant is not admitting fault
- You release the defendant and their insurance company from any other claim related to the same matter
- You agree not to pursue additional compensation from the defendant or their insurance company
The insurance company may also require you to sign a confidentiality agreement that states you are not allowed to divulge how much money you received in the settlement check process to others.
Additionally, your personal injury lawyer may need to submit documentation to the court to report the settlement. Special provisions may be necessary if you are filing the claim on behalf of a minor or an incapacitated person.
What Happens Once the Settlement Is Agreed Upon?
Once you agree to a settlement, you might not be wondering, “How long can a lawyer hold your settlement check?”. First, it is important to know that when you sign the release form, you will probably not be given a check the same day.
The insurance company may take a few weeks before mailing your check to your lawyer.
The insurance company may have several internal procedures it must complete before it cuts a check, such as:
- Reviewing the settlement agreement
- Ensuring the release form is in proper order
- Reviewing any required confidentiality agreement
- Getting the final settlement approved by another person or department
The insurance company sends your lawyer your settlement check, and your lawyer places it in an escrow account. Your lawyer must pay any outstanding liens. Your lawyer will also deduct their fees and legal costs before issuing you a check for the rest of the funds.
Agreeing to a settlement can significantly impact your rights, so it is best to have a knowledgeable personal injury attorney advise you during this process.