Most people prefer to settle a personal injury claim outside of court because it is quicker, easier, and in many cases, cheaper. The opposing party will likely share your preference for settling out of court.
Once you settle, however, you might be wondering, “how long after settlement do I get my money?” The answer to this question depends on many factors, which we discuss below.
Aspects of Your Case That Could Delay a Settlement
How long does a lawsuit take to settle? Assuming that a lawsuit is ever filed, you must overcome the following obstacles before reaching a reasonable settlement.
Reaching Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)
One of the key factors in answering how long lawsuits take to settle is when you reach Maximum Medical Improvement. Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) is the point beyond which your doctor does not expect your condition to improve any further. Of course, you might make a full recovery. Another possibility is a long-term disability.
Victims generally wait until they reach MMI before they file a formal claim. They need to reach MMI because it can give them a better estimate of their future medical expenses, if any. Otherwise, you will not know how much money to ask for.
If it takes you a long time to reach MMI, you have two choices: wait to file your claim until you have reached MMI or hire an expert to help you value your future medical expenses. If you suffer a long-term occupational disability, you will need to estimate those losses too. Some experts can calculate the total value of your long-term disability.
The Total Amount of Your Claim
The more money you ask for, the longer it will take to resolve your claim, reach a settlement agreement, and receive your personal injury check. Defendants tend to push harder against large claims because the stakes are higher. Expect a tough fight and significant delays if you have a large claim.
The Amount of Pain and Suffering Damages You are Claiming
Pain and suffering damages refer to the compensation you receive for the physical pain and suffering that inevitably accompanies an injury.
Pain and suffering damages are unique in two ways. First, they are extremely abstract. How do you put a dollar value on pain? Second, pain and suffering claims tend to be significant. The pain and suffering component of a personal injury claim could amount to more than half the total value of your claim.
The opposing party will fight hard against a large pain and suffering claim for the same reason it will fight hard to avoid any other large component of your claim. You can also expect the defendant to take advantage of the ambiguity inherent in a pain and suffering claim.
For this reason, the more pain and suffering damages you claim, the longer it will take you to receive a settlement check.
How Long After Settlement Do You Get Paid?
Even after you reach a settlement, you still have to wait to get your check. Both parties will sign a settlement agreement containing a clause in which you release the defendant from any further financial liability for your claim. That means the defendant will never again be obligated to pay you for the same injuries.
Here is what happens after a settlement agreement is signed:
- The insurance company reviews the settlement agreement, including the release clause.
- The insurance company will sign and forward the settlement check to your lawyer.
- Your lawyer will place the settlement funds into an escrow account. At this point, your lawyer will deduct any appropriate amounts. Your healthcare provider, for example, might have a medical lien on your proceeds.
- Your attorney will deduct legal fees and expenses (court fees, for example) from the settlement amount.
- Your lawyer will write a check representing the amount of your settlement after deductions.
- Your lawyer will send the check to you, probably via bank-to-bank transfer, to make it easier for you to track your settlement check.
Consult your lawyer if it takes you more than six weeks to receive your settlement check.
Don’t Try to Settle a Large Personal Injury Claim on Your Own
The more money your claim is worth, the more complicated your case will become. Take advantage of the fact that most LA personal injury lawyers offer free initial consultations. You might discover that your claim is worth more than you imagine.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.