The settlement process can be a long and exhausting one. There are many steps involved in the overall process. Litigation takes its own time and then receiving the settlement check also takes its own time. But don't worry, your lawyer won't leave you to handle the settlement check process all by yourself. They will help you navigate the settlement check timeline so that everyone involved in your case gets the money they are owed. 

What is a Settlement Check? 

A settlement check is the check you might receive after a favorable settlement case. Receiving this money through a paper check is one of the most common ways this money will be received by the plaintiff in a settlement case. 

The settlement check timeline and process can get a little confusing, but luckily your attorney will manage most of the tasks around receiving and distributing the settlement money to the right parties. 

There are several parties involved in settlement that you may need to understand first. The faulty party consists of the defendant and the defense attorney. The injured party consists of the plaintiff and the prosecuting attorney. 

What is the Settlement Check Process? 

What does the settlement check timeline look like? There are quite a few steps involved. The amount on a settlement check can sometimes be meant for several parties involved in the case. For example, a portion of this money might need to go to attorney fees, insurance company payments, or even medical bills. That is why there is a settlement check process involved when a case such as this is resolved. 

Step 1: Release Forms

The very first thing that will happen when a settlement is ready to be sent is the signing of the right forms by the right people. The defense attorney will draw up a release form for the plaintiff to sign. These release forms will include an order of settlement form and a release form. 

An order of settlement form will be filled out by both parties involved in the case. The release form will be signed by the plaintiff and is necessary for the plaintiff receiving a settlement check. The release form outlines that the plaintiff accepts the offered settlement. This form is called a "release" form because it is releasing the defendant from any other claims the plaintiff might have, ending the case.

Step 2: Insurance Company Sends the Settlement Check to the Attorney 

Once these release forms are signed, they will be sent to the insurance company. The insurance company will process the release forms and then send the settlement check to the plaintiff's attorney. After the insurance company receives the proper release forms, processes the forms on their end, and sends the check, the plaintiff's attorney can expect to get the check within seven to ten business days. 

Step 3: Attorney Deposits the Settlement Check 

Now that the plaintiff's attorney has the settlement check, they will deposit the money into a trust account. The reason for this is to place the money somewhere safe and secure while the bank clears the funds. Settlement amounts can be large amounts of money, meaning it can take a bit longer for the checks and balances between the payer and the bank can take a little longer. This process will help make sure the insurance can pay the balance and that those funds clear with the bank. 

Step 4: Attorney Will Pay Liens

Some settlement plaintiffs may have liens filed against them. Liens are a kind of debt that a plaintiff might owe for things like medical bills or attorney fees. The plaintiff's attorney will help take care of these outstanding debts that relate to the case before sending the money to the plaintiff. 

Step 5: Attorney Will Pay the Plaintiff

Now that all the necessary forms have been signed, the check has gone through the clearing process, and outstanding debts and fees have been paid, the plaintiff's attorney will write a check for the plaintiff. Now you have your settlement money and you can deposit the funds into your personal account. 

How Long After Settlement Do I Get My Money? 

There are several factors that can speed up or slow down the settlement check process. For example, if you decide to use a structured settlement, then there may be more steps involved in your settlement check process than the five steps listed above. 

In general, it can take anywhere between thirty days and six weeks for someone to get their settlement money. So what should you do if it has been more than six weeks and you still have not received your settlement check? 

The first thing you should do when you have a delayed settlement check is to talk to your attorney. They are your liaison throughout this process and they can talk to people like the defense attorney, the insurance, or the bank to get updates on how things are going. 

In Conclusion,

A delayed settlement case can be inconvenient and stressful. For example, if you were in a car accident then you might have medical bills and car repair payments to make. Maybe because of personal injuries you lost wages from not being able to work and need income sooner rather than later. Thankfully, personal injury attorneys should be all too familiar with the personal injury claim process as well as the settlement check timeline.