Settling a personal injury case takes time, especially if there is a big payout. Even after a settlement is reached, there can be delays that keep you on pins and needles while you wait for your much-needed settlement award check. Understanding the settlement payment process can give you a more realistic idea of what to expect once your case is settled.
The Settlement Negotiation Process
After an accident, especially one entailing serious medical issues and property damage, it takes time to sort out the details of compensation. In the case of bodily injuries, it is often not clear in the early stages how long it will take for the victim to recover, or to project the scope and cost of ongoing medical care.
Without a competent personal injury lawyer to represent you, the defendant’s insurance company may try to exploit your vulnerable position, and offer you a settlement amount much lower than your injuries warrant. While negotiating with insurers yourself can significantly speed up the settlement process and get you a fairly quick monetary award, you could be setting yourself up for financial problems down the road.
Your personal injury attorney will take the following steps to get the ball rolling toward a final settlement:
- Discovery. During the discovery process, your lawyer will gather evidence and documentation to support your case. They will gather medical records, verify potential lost wages, collect accident and police reports, interview eyewitnesses, and talk to medical professionals about your condition. The lawyer will also contact the defendant’s insurance company at this stage, to notify them of a pending lawsuit.
- Negotiation. The negotiation stage is where the real work begins. Insurance companies have their own team of expert lawyers whose job it is to see that the insurer pays out as little as possible. After all, insurance companies are beholden to their shareholders. By contrast, a good attorney will fight aggressively on your behalf to get you the highest settlement award possible. Negotiations can take anywhere from one day to several months, depending on the specifics of the case.
- Lawsuit filing. If your attorney and the insurance company are unable to come to an agreement about the final settlement amount, you may need to take your case to court. A lawsuit can be a lengthy process that draws your case out for several more months if the case goes to court.
Settlement Check Timeline
Once a settlement is reached, whether through negotiations or via a court order, you can expect to see a settlement check within 30 to 60 days, possibly sooner, provided there are no glitches. But there can be delays.
Here is a general idea of your settlement check timeline:
- Release. The defendant’s attorney prepares a document called a release, outlining the terms and conditions of your settlement. In some cases, a defense attorney may construct a long and detailed release, to try to delay payment for as long as possible.
- Intervention. If the defendant’s attorney and yours cannot agree on the release terms, a judge may become involved to help hammer out the details. This can extend the time it takes for you to get paid. Once the release is approved, you will have to sign it before a public notary. Before signing, be sure to read the fine print.
- Disbursement. Once you agree to the release conditions, the defendant’s agent will cut a check made out to you and your attorney, and send it to your lawyer’s office. It can take up to 3 weeks from the time of signing to the receipt of payment.
- Lien settlement. After the check arrives at your lawyer’s office, they will have to sort out further details. In many cases, there could be one or more liens against your settlement for unpaid bills. Your lawyer may have to deposit the check in an escrow until the check clears, and all the liens have been paid. Common types of liens against an accident settlement include:
- Unpaid medical bills
- Reimbursements for insurance payments
- Child support liens
- Payments to cash advance lenders
In addition to money deducted for liens, your personal injury lawyer’s fees will be deducted from the total settlement amount. Once all payments have been satisfied, your lawyer will release the remaining funds to you.
When Your Settlement is Delayed and You Need Money Now
If a settlement agreement has been reached but your money is still tied up, you may consider a post-settlement cash advance from a lawsuit funding lender. Unlike a traditional loan, there is no credit check, and a post-settlement loan does not require monthly payments – the lender gets paid directly from your settlement.
Because your case has already settled, obtaining a lawsuit cash advance is a fairly straightforward process. In most cases, you can even apply online, and the application process is quick and easy. You simply provide some basic information and submit the contact information for your attorney. Once the lender speaks with your lawyer and confirms your settlement, the funds are released quickly, sometimes in as little as 24 hours.
Lawsuit Settlement Funding from Cronus
If you live in the greater NYC area and have a pending or settled personal injury case, you may be eligible for a cash advance from Cronus Capital Group. Use the money to pay bills, care for your family, or anything else – the cash is yours to do with as you please.
Cronus offers both pre- and post-settlement lawsuit loans to qualified applicants. If your unsettled lawsuit goes to court and you lose your case, you owe us nothing. If you win your case or it is already settled, your lawyer will repay us from your settlement award.
If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence and you need money now while your lawyer settles your case, contact Cronus today. We can get you the cash you need right away, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.