Once a case is settled, many people often wonder when they will receive their settlement payment. Some may rely on their attorney to let them know when to expect their payment, but even with the attorney’s estimation, there are a number of factors that will determine when the payment check will actually arrive. Some of those factors include the defendant, the type of case, and in some cases, minor circumstances.
Before any settlement payment will arrive, a release form has to be signed. Without the release form, there will be no payment. The release form essentially states that no more money will be pursued from the defendant once the payment is received. This form gives the defendant reassurance that there will not be multiple lawsuits filed several times by the same person for the same thing. In some cases, there will be multiple pieces of a lawsuit. Therefore, if one piece is settled and the others are not, then a person can continue to sue. It is important that a person’s attorney emphasizes this to the defendant or insurance company.
Another huge factor that determines when a settlement check will arrive is the defendant’s internal process. In some states, a defendant will have to provide the settlement check by a certain deadline. Therefore, if the defendant has not paid by this date, interest may accumulate on the settlement payment. In other states, this is not the case. It is important to keep in mind that when dealing with insurance companies, their main goal is to delay settlement payments as long as possible. Because of this, they often find loopholes that will allow them to not have to pay interest on the settlement payment. Consequently, the insurance company may delay payment for as long as it desires by simply not inputting the settlement payment information into the computer system.
In addition to the insurance company, there are many other factors that may delay the settlement payment. One factor may be the defendant needing to sign an additional release form. When it comes to signing forms, it can become a long process. Each attorney may continue to revise the form until they both are satisfied with its language. Also, each case is unique. A case involving a minor or an estate may take longer than other cases. Also, medical cases can be time consuming. With many medical cases, money may still be owed to the doctor or hospital. As a result, medical liens may be placed on the settlement. When this happens, the attorney and hospital must come to an agreement on how the hospital will collect its money.
Child support is another issue that may affect how long it will take to receive a settlement check. If one party owes child support, a child support lien may be placed against him or her. A good attorney will probably try to reduce the amount of these liens in an effort to keep his client from having to pay a considerable amount of money out of pocket. Unfortunately, these negotiations do not happen quickly.
A final factor may be the insurance company. Some claims are processed by an independent insurance company, and some may be processed by a state office.
Even when the check is sent, it may still take the person a long time to receive it. When the check is sent, it will go to a specialized attorney. This attorney will keep the check in his or her possession until it is clear to release it. This process is time consuming, and it may take several weeks to complete. Also, the attorney must collect attorney fees. This will be an additional factor that will decide how quickly the client will receive his or her money.
Speeding up the Process
With all of these factors, a client and his attorney can take steps to speed up the process. Having a release form already drafted is one step that could be taken. A release form that specifically indicates when the money should be released will allow the client to have a better idea of when the money will be received. Also, the attorney could use expedited shipping services whenever letters or receipts must be sent. Finally, if there are liens placed against the client, the attorney can begin settling those cases before the check is received.