Once a settlement agreement has been reached in your personal injury claim, you will receive payment for the agreed-upon amount. Disbursement of funds is a separate process that can take weeks to months, depending on the specific requirements of the settlement agreement and other factors, such as lien distribution.
What Is the Settlement Process?
Once you and the responsible party or their insurance company have reached a settlement agreement for your injuries and losses, the settlement process begins as follows:
- Settlement order: The court must be informed of the settlement if you reach an agreement out of court. The judge will then issue an Order of Settlement, requiring both parties to complete a settlement agreement and release of liability. Once completed, the case will be dismissed. Litigation will continue if either party fails to complete the documents.
- Signing the agreement: The settlement agreement is a mutually accepted, legally binding contract outlining the amount of the settlement amount and a Release of Liability clause preventing you from seeking additional compensation for your injuries.
- Review: Once the agreement is signed, the opposing lawyer or insurance company will review the forms for discrepancies.
- Check issuance: Once the previous steps are completed and processed with the insurance company, a check for the settlement amount will be sent to your lawyer.
- Lien settlements: Lawyers typically deposit the settlement check into a trust account and pay any liens before sending you the remainder, such as:
- Attorney fees
- Auto insurance companies
- Government entities, such as Medicare or Medicaid
- Medical and healthcare bills
- Outstanding child support
- Private health insurance
- Unpaid taxes
When and How Will I Receive My Settlement Funds?
Once a case is settled, payments are typically made within three to six weeks, barring any inconsistencies or delays. You can receive your settlement funds in one of two ways – a lump-sum payout or a structured settlement.
If you opt for a lump-sum payout, you will receive all the funds at once. The check will be sent to your attorney, who will deduct legal fees and pay any liens against the settlement once it clears. Once all fees and liens have been paid, your attorney will send you the remaining amount.
If you opt for a structured settlement, you will receive the funds in installments on an established schedule until fully paid. Under a structured settlement agreement, you may be required to set up automatic bill payments to your lawyer and any lienholders. Keep in mind that the timetable for receiving settlement funds is an estimate and can be affected by several independent factors, such as:
- Bank holds and delays, particularly large sums of money.
- Insurance company administrative delays.
- Incorrect or incomplete paperwork.
- Claims involving a minor or an estate.
- Disputes regarding the release of liability.
- Your lawyer is negotiating lien amounts or paying liens.
- Documents from the claims adjuster are delayed or have not been received.
- The individual responsible for finalizing the settlement is unavailable.
Hiring an experienced lawyer significantly increases the likelihood of receiving your settlement in a timely manner.
New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers at Kitrick, McWeeney & Wells, LLC Ensure Clients Receive Settlement Funds As Soon As Possible
Pursuing personal injury claims can be a lengthy process. But you need compensation quickly if you are hurt and facing mounting expenses. Our experienced New Jersey car accident lawyers at Kitrick, McWeeney & Wells, LLC understand your needs and can help. To schedule a free consultation, call 732-920-8383 or contact us online. Located in Manasquan and Brick, New Jersey, we serve clients in Middlesex County, Atlantic County, Mercer County, Monmouth County, and Ocean County.