Once the insurance company agrees to a settlement, most injury victims want nothing more than to wrap up of their case, obtain their compensation, and start paying off medical bills and other related-expenses. However, the settlement process is not so straightforward.
There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration, such as the type of case, settlement size, and whether there are any outstanding balances affecting payout. Generally, most personal injury settlements are finalized within six weeks.
Our Oshkosh personal injury lawyers further discuss the post-settlement process to give you a better understanding of how and when funds are distributed after a case is won. An initial consultation with a member of our legal team is completely free and you are under to obligation to have us represent you.
Signing the Release Form
After agreeing to settle the case, you will need to sign a release form stating that you are waiving your right to take further legal action against the other party for the same incident. The insurance company will not issue a settlement check until this form and all other legal paperwork has been signed and properly filed. This process can take some time. Your lawyer can help you review everything very carefully.
All of the documents are then processed and the settlement check is made payable to you and your lawyer but released to your lawyer. He or she will temporarily deposit the check into a special trust or escrow account. It is important to note that your lawyer cannot lawfully dispense your share of the settlement to you until any outstanding balances are paid out to the appropriate parties.
Paying Off Liens
Some of your settlement funds will be used to help manage unpaid debts or liens. For instance, you may owe certain medical providers for the cost of visits, diagnostic tests, imaging results, etc., or your own health insurance company if they helped pay for accident-related medical treatment to aid in your recovery. This entire process could be sped up if your lawyer has all the most current bills and receipts.
It is in your best interest to resolve liens from medical providers and insurance companies as soon as possible. Ignoring these liens could result in serious penalties. An experienced lawyer from our firm is prepared to answer any questions you may have about liens and how they may apply to your situation.
Deducting Legal Fees and Costs
Additionally, your lawyer will deduct legal fees and costs from your settlement. Your lawyer’s fees would amount to a certain percentage of your settlement as agreed to when you decided to hire him or her to represent you. These expenses will depend on certain factors unique to your situation but could include the costs associated with gathering medical records and other medical evidence, paying expert witnesses and covering deposition and court reporting fees.
Once all liens and legal fees are deducted, the remainder of the settlement funds would go to you.
Potential Settlement Delays
As stated before, most personal injury victims typically receive their funds within about six weeks after a case is settled. However, potential settlement delays can occur. Certain cases may require more preparation, especially if the victim is a minor. The internal process of the other side’s insurance company may cause a delay and slow down the settlement timeline.
Additional time may also be needed if you are awarded a large sum. Your funds could come in the form of periodic payments, also known as structured settlement payments. You would agree to receive portions of your settlement over time. This can happen in cases involving minors or victims who suffer catastrophic injuries that require ongoing medical treatment.
Having a lawyer by your side may be able to speed up the settlement timeline by pre-drafting forms and preparing for potential delays.
Get the Answers to Your Legal Questions
Setting a case is a complicated process. Without experienced legal representation, your damages may be undervalued and there may be frustrating delays.
At Sigman Janssen, we have represented many injury victims over the years and are prepared to carefully review your situation and discuss your legal options in a complimentary consultation. Our firm works on contingency, so there are no upfront fees for our services unless and until we help you win.