Plaintiffs in a personal injury case often ask, “How long does a settlement take?” Being in a hurry to settle the case often means being awarded fewer damages. You can get a larger settlement amount by letting your attorney fight for your rights. But this can take a little time. Settlement funding can cover your financial needs until the case settles.
INJURY SETTLEMENT TIME
It can take a few weeks to a few months for a case to settle. There are many variables to consider. Simpler cases tend to settle in less time while more complex ones can take much longer. It’s often said insurance companies try to make settlement difficult, and this is true to some extent.
By law, insurers aren’t permitted to delay the settlement process. But if the company thinks your claim is worth less than you say, it may extend the negotiation process, and hope you give in. They could also say you submitted incomplete paperwork or don’t have enough evidence. It’s also possible the company is simply busy with many claims.
HOW A SETTLEMENT IS REACHED
Before the insurance company can process your settlement, you, your attorney, and the insurer must agree to a settlement amount. The conversation between your lawyer and insurer can go back and forth several times. Defense attorneys are often involved as well, and your settlement offer may end up being much less than your claim. Or, it may be rejected entirely.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit can draw the process out even longer. But when an agreement is made on the type of settlement, you can opt to receive the funds as a lump sum or as a structured settlement in which you’re paid out over time. This is beneficial when you anticipate future costs being high, or the victim is a minor who will receive the money upon turning 18.
When a settlement is reached, the following steps usually apply:
- You sign a release that frees the insurance company of any further liability related to the case.
- The terms of a settlement agreement are defined, including legal issues, both parties’ rights and obligations, and how payment will be made.
- You sign the personal injury settlement documents, which is witnessed by a notary public, and the document is signed and executed by the insurance company.
HOW PAYMENT IS PROCESSED
The insurer covering the at-fault party usually pays the settlement and, after all documents are signed, issues the check. The settlement check then goes to your attorney, who deposits it in an escrow account where client funds are held per regulatory requirements. Funds cannot be distributed unless they first clear in the escrow account.
If you’ve been injured and received medical treatment, your health insurance company may have laid out money. To be paid back, it can put a lien on your case. This can delay payment further as they have first priority when it comes to covering unpaid bills. However, your out-of-pocket healthcare costs are considered part of your economic damages, which you’ll receive once the lien is satisfied.
Third parties such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration, and workers’ compensation insurers may also put a lien on your settlement funds. Once these are resolved, your attorney can deduct their percentage, legal fees, and court costs from your check before transferring the remainder to you. The funds will be moved to your bank account using your account and routing numbers.
WHEN DO I RECEIVE MY CHECK?
Once the settlement documents are executed, it can take a few weeks for the check to be processed. The process can be delayed due to liens or if:
- An accident involves multiple parties.
- The insurance company is slow to respond.
- Proving the defendant’s fault is difficult or evidence is lacking.
- The settlement check is part of a deceased accident victim’s estate.
- You don’t have a personal injury attorney.
- A settlement amount is particularly high.
- Both parties have difficulty negotiating an amount.
- A personal injury is severe and/or permanent.
- A wrongful death claim is involved.
If both sides can’t reach an agreement and the case goes to trial, the settlement will take significantly longer. Preparing for and going through a trial can take a year or more, while there’s the risk of losing the case. Even if you win, the other side can appeal and potentially delay the process indefinitely.
SECURE YOUR LAWSUIT SETTLEMENT FUNDING TODAY
We hope we’ve answered your question, “How long does a settlement take?”. At Fund Capital America, we have a fast and easy process to apply for settlement funding and receive an offer within 24 hours. Multiple funding programs are available to meet your needs, whether your settlement is pending or you’re waiting for your proceeds. Continue browsing to learn more about our programs and the cases we fund, apply now, or call 855-870-2274 today.