Los Angeles, CA

The Process of Receiving a Personal Injury Settlement Check in Los Angeles

If you watch a lot of television, you might get the impression that most personal injury claims are resolved through dramatic courtroom trials. In fact, most personal injury cases are settled through negotiations, typically between the injured party and the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster

You might resolve a legal matter regarding a car accident, a slip and fall accident, a workplace injury, a product liability claim, or another type of injury. Following is a general description of the process of receiving a personal injury settlement check in Los Angeles.

What is a Settlement?

If you suffer an injury due to someone else’s negligence or intentional acts, you can demand financial compensation. If you and the responsible party come to a mutually acceptable agreement, you can avoid trial, draft a settlement agreement, and receive a sum of money for your damages.

The Process of Resolving the Settlement

There are several steps you need to take in the settlement check process before you actually walk away with money in your pocket (or in your bank account). Below is a brief description.

Reach a Fair Settlement Agreement

This is the hard part. Since you are not going to trial, you will have to settle your claim through negotiations. If negotiations come to a standstill, you might have to file a lawsuit to get negotiations moving again (and to beat the statute of limitations deadline). You can always drop the lawsuit later. 

Review and Sign the Settlement Agreement

The general contents of an acceptable settlement agreement include:

  • You release the defendant and their insurance company from any further liability arising from the same set of events. Once you sign the release (or a comprehensive settlement containing a release), you can no longer file a claim against the defendant, even if you find a new injury.
  • The defendant and their insurance company will typically refuse to admit fault, despite the fact that they are paying you a monetary settlement.
  • The settlement agreement might contain a confidentiality clause. This clause will require you to keep secret the amount or even the existence of the settlement.
  • The defendant agrees to pay you a certain amount of money by a certain date. Make sure this amount is at least the amount you agreed on.
  • You agree to withdraw your lawsuit (if indeed you have filed one).

Have your lawyer look over the settlement agreement before you sign it. Better yet, have your lawyer draft it. Once both parties have signed the settlement agreement, it is a binding legal contract. You can enforce its terms in court just like any other contract.

How Long Can a Lawyer Hold Your Settlement Check?

There will typically be some red tape before the other side actually issues your settlement check. When they issue it, they will send it to your lawyer, who will deposit it into a special temporary account.

A lawyer can hold your settlement check for a “reasonable” time. 

That means enough time to make any appropriate deductions, such as:

  • The contingency fee you and your lawyer agreed to at the beginning of your lawyer’s representation. Typically, that is about 33% if there is no trial or about 40% if your case goes to trial.
  • Any case expenses your lawyer fronted for you—expert witness fees, for example.
  • Any medical lien that might have been placed on your medical bills. All this means is that your medical expenses will be deducted before you ever see your money.
  • Any other appropriate deductions.

If your lawyer is giving you trouble with your settlement check, you can contact the State Bar of California. If the defendant is balking on paying after signing the settlement agreement, you can sue the defendant on a contract claim.

Let Your Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer Handle Settlement Negotiations for You

If you try to negotiate a personal injury settlement on your own, you will likely be facing an insurance adjuster. Insurance adjusters are professional negotiators. Don’t worry about that, though, because personal injury lawyers are also professional settlement negotiators. 

You won’t owe your Los Angeles personal injury attorney a dime unless they win your case in court or through negotiation.

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.

M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers – Los Angeles Office
4929 Wilshire Blvd Suite 960,
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(877) 300-4535

M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers – Downtown Office
350 S Figueroa St Suite 276
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(877) 751-8953