So, your personal injury claim has settled and you want to know when you will get your money. Unfortunately, with personal injury cases, you do not walk out of your lawyer’s office with the check on the same day that your case settles. Several processes need to happen before that point.
A Willcox Law Firm attorney can answer your questions, like how long does it take to get a personal injury settlement check in South Carolina? Here are some things you will want to know about the settlement process.
First, the Paperwork
Before the insurance company releases their grip from the settlement money, they will want it in writing that they will have no further liability for any claims arising out of the accident. They will send your lawyer a release and waiver of liability. They might also have you sign a settlement agreement.
Sometimes, the insurance company will want you to sign away more of your legal rights than you actually have to. This is one of the many reasons why it is a good idea to work with an attorney on your personal injury case.
After you sign the release, you can never come back and ask for more money for your injuries from this accident. It is usually best to complete your medical treatment before signing the release. If you settle too early, you might later find out that you need more medical treatment, which will then have to come out of your own pocket.
It will take some time, possibly a week or two, for the paperwork to get drafted. If there are any disputes about the language contained in the documents, those disagreements could delay the settlement until the parties resolve their differences about the papers.
Court Approval of the Settlement
In some situations, like an accident in which a minor or incapacitated person got injured, it might be necessary to get the settlement approved by a court. This requirement can add weeks or months to the process, depending on how soon you can get on the court’s docket.
The Proceeds Check
The insurance company will issue a check made out to you and your attorney. Usually, issuing the check takes a week or two. You and your lawyer will sign the settlement check, then your lawyer will deposit it into an escrow account.
Your lawyer will use some of the proceeds to pay liens against the settlement, like any unpaid medical bills, Medicare or Medicaid costs, possible deductibles and co-pays from your health insurance carrier, and liens for delinquent taxes or child support. Your attorney then deducts court costs, litigation expenses like expert witnesses, and legal fees.
The remaining funds get sent to you by your lawyer. If your lawyer’s office is geographically near where you live, you might arrange to pick up your check. Otherwise, the check goes through regular US mail. Your bank might place a temporary hold on the check, depending on the amount and whether the check is written on an out-of-state bank account.
Time is of the Essence
The defendant’s insurance company might try to drag their heels, because the longer they can hold onto the money, the longer they can make money from their investments of those funds. A Willcox Law Firm attorney will do whatever is possible to prevent the insurance company from unreasonable delays. Get in touch with our office for help with your case, we gladly offer a free consultation.