How Long Does It Take to Get a Settlement? (And What to Do in the Meantime)
Are you waiting to receive a settlement? The time it takes to get a resolution for your lawsuit can vary. Lawsuits can be drawn-out, unpredictable processes, especially when the other party is drawing it out on purpose to try to get you to settle for less. You can buy yourself time to wait for an adequate settlement by taking advantage of pre-settlement funding. Keep reading to know what you can expect from the settlement process.
Releases Must Be Signed to Begin the Settlement Process
A release form is a document stating that you won’t seek further damages. Releases mean a dispute is essentially over. Insurance companies and defendants won’t settle until you sign this. It protects them from being sued by a plaintiff multiple times for the same thing.
The Insurance Company Must Process the Check
Most insurance companies will take a few days to a week to process the paperwork. These are large companies that handle many different day-to-day activities. Insurance companies likely deal with several cases and claims every single week. Adjusters and their supervisors will review the release to ensure it blocks future claims.
Sometimes claims adjusters and their supervisors take an unexpected absence. Natural disasters can also delay a settlement’s processing. Once the check is sent out, it will go to you and your attorney. Your attorney should contact the company if this takes more than a few weeks.
Money Gets Deposited into Escrow
The money is first sent to an escrow account under the name of your main attorney. It takes a couple of days for these checks to clear. Attorneys also deduct their share of the fees first.
Legal Fees Are Deducted
Some types of lawyers will require you to pay them up-front for their efforts. This will vary based on the deal you and your attorney have negotiated. Attorneys will take larger percentages from settlements if fewer upfront fees were lower. Those who pay a retainer may end up keeping a larger piece of the pie once the settlement finishes.
It may take a bit of time to come to a proper tally of legal expenses. A client should receive a detailed summary of every expense. These go to paying expenses like:
Paying court fees
Witnesses are often paid per hour. They also typically receive compensation to cover their room, board, and travel expenses. Gathering records takes time and money. Many jurisdictions also charge fees to access their records. For example, medical records often cost money to maintain.
Settlements and litigation require filing vast quantities of paperwork. Law firms often charge for postage, copies, and faxes. Courts also charge for their time. Filing and transcripts come with fees too. Court reporters create these transcripts and can be very expensive. Other charges are serving subpoenas and summons.
Liens Must Be Paid
A lien is a legal right or claim against an asset. If you owe money for anything else that has a lien, you have to pay that first. Other times your insurance company will put a lien on the settlement. The reason would be if they have already been covering medical and other fees. Some clients owe liens for child support. They will have to cover the lien before receiving their payment.
Why it Can Take Longer Than 6 weeks
Sometimes liens will take longer to pay. You should ask your attorney for the specific reason it is taking so long. They should be able to give you a valid reason.
Other times the other party will request their own release form. The attorneys of both parties will have to review this form. Most attorneys practice for multiple clients at a time. This will make things take a few extra days.
What to Do While Waiting For Your Settlement
You should stay in contact with your attorney for updates. You can let medical facilities and other bill collectors know you’d like to arrange to pay when it clears.
Avoid telling friends and family a large payment is coming. This prevents people from taking advantage of the situation. Focus on recovering while you wait for your settlement.
Final Thoughts On Getting Your Settlement
Receiving a settlement takes time. Make sure to ask your lawyer if delays seem excessive. There are quite a few hoops to jump through before your payment clears. In the meantime, if you’re getting into debt due to your injury, look into a lawsuit loan and decide with your attorney if this type of funding is right for you.