What is the timeline for my settlement?
Once the insurance company finally agrees to a settlement, most are eager to wrap up their case. You want to receive your compensation with a quick timeline of a settlement. Then you want to start using that money to address your medical bills and other costs.
What is a settlement?
There are usually two ways to get compensation after getting injured:
Settlements are almost always offered by insurance companies. The offer likely will be any lawsuit starts. But, it may also occur after a case has gone to trial, as long as no final verdict has come back. Waiting for the insurance company to send the settlement check can be frustrating. Especially after you have agreed to accept a settlement offer. Like most things in life, the short answer is “it depends.”
Most settlements finalize within six weeks.
Yet, the settlement process isn’t as simple as the insurance company dropping a check in the mail. While most personal injury settlements in Georgia finish within six weeks or less, the process to get there can be a bit complex. Fortunately, if you know what to expect, you’ll find this process a lot easier to navigate.
How long will a personal injury claim take?
Each injury claim is different so every timeline of a settlement is different. There are several factors that may prolong the resolution of your claim. This includes but is not limited to the extent of your treatment or if there is a liability dispute.
“Complex” insurance settlements can take weeks or months.
Some personal injury cases require intense negotiation of the language that goes into a settlement release. Often this negotiation does not take place until there has been an agreement on the amount to be paid. In other cases, such as an injury to a minor, the parties are not able to pay the injured person until a Court approves the settlement. The process of applying for court-approval of a minor’s settlement can take several weeks up to several months. , depending on how quickly the petition can be filed and when the Court schedules any necessary hearings.
Common reasons the timeline of a settlement gets delayed:
An insurance adjuster goes on leave due to a scheduled vacation, medical or family emergency after agreeing to settle and send your money.
You or your attorney are not satisfied with the terms the insurance company includes in the settlement release.
The insurance company attempts to slip new conditions into the settlement that were not agreed upon.
The bank places a hold on the settlement check for an unexpected reason.
These, and any number of other unexpected events can sometimes cause a delay. Another factor that can delay your settlement is the number of people involved in the accident.
Step 1: Signing Releases and Other Documents
Once you reach a settlement with the insurance company, the lawyers draft a series of release forms. Depending on your circumstances, your release forms might be relatively simple. Or they might contain detailed terms and conditions that your attorney will have to read over very carefully.
Sometimes, parties negotiate back and forth about the terms of the settlement. Then, you will have to review and sign them before your settlement can proceed.
What is a release, and what happens when I sign it?
A release of claims is a document that pardons the at-fault party from further liability to pay you for any damages associated with the accident. When you sign this document, you agree to forego any additional claims against the at-fault party from the subject accident.
Step 2: The Insurance Company Processes Your Release and Cuts a Check
Once the insurance company receives your signed release forms, it should process them and issue a settlement check. Usually, they’ll make this check payable to both you and your attorney and then send it to your attorney.
While this process should run smoothly, insurance companies sometimes delay payment for various reasons. If you experience prolonged delays while waiting for your settlement check, you should contact your lawyer for assistance.
Is a defendant responsible for paying the bills?
A defendant is generally responsible for medical expenses and some other incurred expenses. This includes lost wages that you have incurred as a result of the injury you sustained.
Step 3: Your Lawyer Deposits the Insurance Check in an Escrow Account and Pays Your Liens
Upon receipt, your attorney will deposit the insurance check into a special trust or escrow account. This is only temporary, and it’s not your attorney’s decision — it’s a mandatory part of the settlement process under State Bar of Georgia rules. Once the settlement check clears, your lawyer will distribute your settlement money.
Usually, your lawyer will have to use some of your settlement money to settle various unpaid debts (also called liens). For example, your lawyer might have to send portions of your settlement money to:
Medical providers with unpaid bills
Your health insurance company, if they paid for accident-related medical treatment
Georgia Medicaid, if it covered accident-related medical care
Medicare, if it covered accident-related medical care
It’s important to resolve these liens right away with your settlement funds. If you ignore liens from medical providers, government agencies, or insurance companies, you might face serious penalties. If you have questions about any liens and how they relate to your personal injury claim, you should schedule an appointment with your lawyer to discuss them.
Step 4: Your Attorney Will Deduct Legal Fees and Costs
After your lawyer pays any liens, they’ll deduct legal fees and costs from your settlement. Your lawyer’s fees will amount to a certain percentage of your settlement as set forth in the attorney-client contract signed by you at the beginning of your case.
Meanwhile, your legal costs and expenses will depend on lots of factors that are unique to your case. The total will include costs associated with:
Gathering medical records and other medical evidence
Paying expert witness fees
Paying deposition and court reporting costs
What Happens if My Settlement Gets Seriously Delayed?
As we mentioned before, most injured victims receive their settlement funds within about six weeks from the end of negotiations. However, additional delays can happen.
If your settlement gets delayed extensively and you’re wondering what’s going on, you should contact your personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer should be able to at least explain the delay and might even be able to resolve it. And, he or she might be able to give you options that could expedite your payment. For example, your lawyer might agree to issue a partial settlement payment, retaining a portion of the settlement proceeds while he or she negotiates your liens.
WE LOOK FORWARD TO THE OPPORTUNITY TO FIGHT HARD ON YOUR BEHALF!!!
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to the fault of someone else, it can have a big impact on your life – physically, emotionally, and especially financially. That is why you deserve an experienced personal injury attorney who understands the law and knows how it works. Partnering with such an attorney can help to gather the requested police reports and medical records. It is important to have someone in your corner – especially to deal with insurance companies. Our office will works so the timeline of a settlement will be quick and easy so you can heal wihtout added stress.
Contact Essa, Janho, & Associates! We will fight for you!
EN ESPANOL 770-771-3658