Did you accept a settlement offer? When can you expect to receive a personal injury settlement check?
While pursuing compensation for an accident-related injury, you can undergo the settlement negotiation process and receive settlement offers. Once you accept an offer, you might feel impatient about getting your personal injury settlement check and putting all this messy legal work to rest.
However, the timeline from accepting an offer to seeing the settlement in your bank account can vary based on specific factors of your case. Generally, you can expect a settlement check within six weeks after accepting an offer. But, some cases don’t follow this timeframe because each case has its own set of intricacies and complexities.
Are you feeling confused about when you’ll receive your settlement check? Read on to learn more about how your check gets processed, its effects on your compensation, and more:
What Are Legal Settlements?
A legal settlement happens when the defendant agrees to pay a partial or whole compensation indicated in the plaintiff’s claim. It’s an alternative option to recover compensation without trial litigation for your civil lawsuit. It basically means that you and the defendant settled the compensation amount outside of court.
Agreeing to a legal settlement can be beneficial to you as the victim because it allows the following:
- It shortens the process because you don’t have to take the matter to court.
- You can receive compensation at a sooner or more predictable timeframe.
- You can negotiate fair compensation to cover your damages.
A legal settlement ultimately results in the at-fault party paying you the amount you agreed to. But what constitutes enough? This is where a personal injury lawyer becomes critical. A car accident lawyer can help assess if the settlement offer is just and enough to cover all the damages a victim has suffered from. In the end, the final decision is still up to the victim whether or not she will agree on the settlement offered.
How Do You Receive a Personal Injury Settlement Check?
Regarding personal injury settlements, receiving your check is very straightforward once you accept an offer. Although you must keep in mind that the timeframe varies from one case to another. Complex cases that involve multiple parties and institutions typically take longer than usual. It is important to note that the timeliness of your checks’ release is out of the hands of your personal injury lawyers. Here are the standard steps you’ll take before receiving your personal injury settlement check:
The defendant or their insurance provider requires you to sign a release before they issue a settlement check. This release form indicates that you will not pursue further legal action for your accident or injury. It protects the at-fault party from lawsuits later on for the same accident.
Processing of the Release
Once signed, the defendant or their insurance provider will process it. If you have a personal injury attorney, the check will be made payable in your and your lawyer’s names. Your attorney will then receive the check after processing.
Getting the Check
Your lawyer will receive and deposit the check. After the bank clears it, they’ll give you your settlement amount. All outstanding debts or liens spent during your recovery period will be deducted from this amount.
Subtracting Legal Fees
Like our attorneys here at Jacoby and Meyers, most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. It means you’ll pay them a portion of your settlement or compensation only when you win a settlement. After paying all your “recovery” costs in medical, liens, doctors, etc. your legal fee will be charged from the remaining amount. Make sure you are in the know of these costs by reviewing your contracts. Personal Injury lawyers charge mostly the same rate across the practice so this should come as no surprise.
You must ask your attorney for a breakdown of deductions. These can vary depending on the necessities of your case, so it’s best to discuss them early on. Sometimes, it can include fees for expert witnesses and private investigation services. After subtracting these, you will receive the remaining amount from your total settlement.
Are Personal Injury Settlements Taxable in California?
In most cases, personal injury settlements are non-taxable. However, some specifics of your case might require you to pay taxes on your settlement amount, similar to other types of income. For example, you must pay taxes for awarded punitive damages as other income. It’s because they’re considered add-on awards as punishment to the defendant. You can get a complete taxability guide from the IRS here. Also, a reliable personal injury attorney can help determine if any aspects of your settlement amount are taxable.
When Should I Receive My Personal Injury Settlement Check?
Again, the average timeframe for receiving your personal injury settlement check is six weeks. But since cases differ from one another, the length of processing still depends on the nuances of each case. Example factors are:
- Your injury’s extent of severity
- Recovery time from your injury
- Negotiation timeline
- Other possible allegations in your case
- Completion of your accident’s investigation and assessment
My Settlement Check is delayed. Why is that?
Remember that the at-fault party will try their best to pay you the lowest amount possible. This tug of war doesn’t end when a settlement is offered, but until the check is released. Check release timelines are no longer in the hands of your law firm. Delays can be caused by the following reasons:
- Processing delays due to weekends and holidays.
- Delayed clearing or further verification with the bank (usually happens with massive settlement amounts).
- Delays with your defendant or their insurance provider.
Regardless of what’s causing delays with your settlement check, you need to know the exact cause. It is best to call frequently and ask for updates. You can imagine how taxing this can be if you are recovering from an injury. Fortunately, you can leave these tasks to your personal injury lawyer.
Our attorneys at Jacoby and Meyers have helped clients time and time again with this messy legal work to help guarantee their compensation. In addition to handling your settlement check, they’ll help you:
- Prove negligence
- Define the Cost of Damages
- Build a strong claim
- Negotiate a Settlement
- Proceed with important deadlines in mind
Give us a call today at 888-960-0480 for a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you.