If you've been injured due to someone else's negligence, the first thing that will likely come to mind is how long I can expect my personal injury settlement check. This article explains what goes into getting your money and why it may take some time to claim it.
Personal injury settlements are agreements of compensation made outside the court. This means that the defendant accepted to take full responsibility for the accident and agreed to provide compensation to the affected victim.
When both parties decide to settle out of court, they will no longer push for trial litigation. A personal injury settlement should include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, psychological trauma, and pain of loss and suffering.
Agreeing in a personal injury settlement can be beneficial for mutual parties. When they decide to settle out of court, they will avoid the expensive cost of litigation and its lengthy process. Please read below to know how long does it take to get a personal injury settlement check.
Steps In The Personal Injury Settlement Process
Personal injury settlements can be issued for different types of personal injury cases. This includes car accidents, wrongful death, and bicycle accidents. The victim can demand settlement funds if they suffer in an accident caused by the defendant.
When both the defendant and the victim agreed on a settlement, they would need to follow the steps listed below:
- Documents and release signing: The defendant's insurance company will determine the amount of the settlement money. After both parties agree on the settlement offer, the insurance adjusters will draft the initial release. This release will contain a statement that the injured party may not be able to take further legal actions against the defendant
- A victim should seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer to read over the release agreement—an insurance company draft this agreement to protect the defendant from any liabilities.
- Hiring a personal injury attorney to read the release ensures that the victim's rights are also met.
- Release processing: After signing the document, the insurance company will process the release. Once done, the insurer will issue the settlement check. This check is usually payable to both the victim and their attorney.
- Depositing the check: When the personal injury attorney receives the settlement check, they will deposit it in a special trust fund or an escrow account. Once the check clears, the lawyer will distribute the money. However, the victim should note that the personal injury lawyer is required to settle any existing liens or unpaid debts related to your case.
- This would include medical liens, child support, or the victim's insurance company if they paid for accident-related medical treatments.
- Discuss this with a lawyer to set expectations on any existing liens in your case.
Legal fees deduction: After paying all the debt, the lawyer will deduct the legal fees from the settlement money. This fee is discussed at the beginning of the case. The amount will vary depending on the nature of the case.
- You must get an itemized statement of your legal costs. Consult with your attorney if you have any questions about your legal fees.
Most settlement checks will take around six weeks for the entire process.
What Could Potentially Cause A Delay In Receiving My Personal Injury Settlement Check?
Delays in the processing of a personal injury settlement check are uncommon. But, it can still happen. When a personal injury claim is delayed, several factors can cause its hold up. Below are the most common reasons for the delay:
- Negotiating between both parties could extend the time frame for the settlement process. The defendant's party will make sure that they are protected from any future liabilities. In contrast, the victim's party will try to get the maximum compensation possible for their case. This back and forth could prolong the entire legal process.
- Suppose the defendant refuses representation from their insurance company. The defendant may have their own legal team to represent them in the case. In this situation, both legal representatives will negotiate until they reach an agreement.
- Severe injuries take time to heal. When a victim sustains serious injuries, they should take time to reach maximum recovery before agreeing on a personal injury claim. At this point, the victim and their attorney can begin computing the total cost of recovery and the estimated amount of future medical expenses. Agreeing on a claim before knowing the total cost of the medical bills and lost wages sells the victim short.
Talk to your personal injury attorney if you are experiencing an extensive delay in processing your personal injury settlement. They can explain the situation to you so you can better understand the delay.
What Does A Legal Statement Mean?
A legal statement is documentation of facts and accounts of the accident. Legal statements should only contain factual descriptions of the event. They should not contain any personal opinions and arguments directed to the defendant. The goal of these documents is to provide accurate descriptions of the event. A legal statement should establish your point of view in the situation.
Understand that a legal statement should only contain an accurate and factual description of the accident. It should include the dates and the time when the accident occurred. This statement should also contain accounts the led up to the event. Both party's information must be included in a legal statement. The author of the statement should establish the connection between the defendant and the accident.
An excellent legal statement should be understandable by anyone who reads it. It should also establish the accounts of the accident and amplify the facts that support the author's case. Mention any relevant information in your legal statement. But, don't make any recommendations or request a biased conclusion.
Legal statements are necessary for establishing liability against the at-fault party.
What Happens After I Sign A Settlement Release?
Signing a settlement release means that you agree to the settlement offer made by the insurance company. After the release signing, the defendant's insurer will process the personal injury claim.
Once the insurance company completes the process, they will send the settlement proceeds to the attorney. The attorney will then settle any unpaid debts or liens for the victim's case. After all the existing liens are paid, the lawyer will deduct the legal services fees agreed by the attorney and the client before the case.
A personal injury lawyer estimates the amount of compensation for your injuries. They will check your case and consider any factors that would need compensation. The lawyer will handle the communication with the insurance company. This ensures that you can get the best compensation for your damages.
What Is The Average Personal Injury Settlement Amount?
Generally speaking, the amount of a personal injury settlement varies from each case. Insurance companies would need to look at different factors when estimating a settlement. A minor accident without any injury can get a much lower value than someone involved in a serious car crash.
However, the average amount of a personal injury settlement could range from $3,000 to $75,000. As mentioned above, many factors come into play when estimating a personal injury settlement amount. Often, the settlement funds could go over the rate mentioned above.
Factors such as medical bills, lost wages, cost of repair (if a car is involved), and emotional or psychological damages are considered. If a victim dies because of the accident, their loved ones are qualified for a settlement claim.
Keep in mind that the amount of your settlement depends greatly on your attorney. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney can be beneficial for your case. A good lawyer will take a closer look at your case and examine every factor. They will negotiate with the insurance company to ensure that you get the best compensation possible.
Is A Personal Injury Settlement Taxable?
The Internal Revenue Services released a document for settlement taxability. This document specifies if a specific settlement fund is taxable or not.
- For personal physical injuries or physical sickness: For the most part, settlement for a personal injury is non-taxable. If the victim received this compensation and did not take an itemized deductions for medical expenses, the fund is non-taxable.
- The IRS does not recommend including the fund as an income.
- But, IRS also states an exception with this rule. If the victim deducted their medical expenses in the previous tax return, the settlement would be taxable.
- The settlement will not be taxable for emotional damages or distress if the physical injury results in emotional damage.
- The exception for this rule would be if the emotional damages did not result from the physical injury, the settlement is taxable.
- For lost wages: The Internal Revenue Services stated in this document that lost wages settlements are taxable.
- For loss-in-value of property: The IRS also mentioned in this document that settlements for loss-in property value less than the adjusted basis are non-taxable. But, if the value is higher, then it is taxable.
It is important to discuss this matter with your attorney when agreeing to a settlement.
What Are Pain And Suffering Damages In A Personal Injury Settlement?
Pain and suffering damages in a personal injury case refer to damages other than physical injuries and non-monetary losses. Usually, an insurance company will compensate for these types of damages. Emotional distress can be identified as follows:
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) brought upon by the accident
- lack of sleep or insomnia
- any other mental health damages caused by accident.
Though pain and suffering is a subjective claim, a victim still needs to produce solid evidence to support their claim. A victim can provide the following evidence to prove their pain and suffering:
- medical records from a mental health provider
- therapy notes from a qualified therapist
- testimonies from the victim's family members or closest friends
- photographic evidence of the damage
Photographic evidence of the damage could help establish the connection between the mental health problems and the accident. Compensation for emotional suffering is non-taxable, according to the law. But, the victim would need to prove that the emotional distress is caused by the accident.
Victims should enlist the help of a legal professional if they are suffering from mental health issues caused by the accident. Our lawyer at The Soffer Firm Miami Personal Injury Attorneys can help you get proper compensation for your damages. Emotional damages are also damages, and this can prevent the victim from getting his life back.
What Is A Medical Lien In A Personal Injury Settlement?
Medical liens are the demand of repayment by the party who shouldered the cost of medical expenses of the victim. In more simple terms, liens can be considered as debt paid by the settlement money. This is usually collected by the victim's insurance company. The injured party is required to pay back these liens to prevent any future legal problems.
- Medical Liens: Some physicians may even require you to sign a medical lien agreement to ensure repayment when the victim receives a settlement fund.
- Government Liens: The government pays a portion of the victim's medical expenses. Because of this, they are also entitled to request repayment once the victim receives their compensation.
Liens can be negotiable. An insurance company can receive less than the amount they spend for the victim's medical expenses. Consult with your case attorney to know about the different ways they can lessen the amount of lien deducted from your settlement fund. An experienced lawyer can effectively negotiate a lower price from the requesting entity.
Lien law can be highly complicated for normal people. This is why it's important to inform your lawyer of any entities requesting liens from your medical treatment. They can negotiate a lower price or even completely eliminate a lien request.
What Should I Do If My Settlement Gets So Delayed?
As stated above, the processing of a settlement can get delayed. Though uncommon, this can still happen. And several factors are affecting the prolonged process. In a nutshell, these factors include:
- The time it takes for maximum medical improvement;
- Liability disputes;
- Settlement negotiations between each party's legal representatives;
- Settlement negotiations between the insurance company and the injured party;
- Clerical errors.
Some insurance companies may even delay a settlement by purpose. They do this to lower the amount of payment a victim can receive. Victims should consult with their attorney if they are experiencing a delay. Unjustifiable delays are detrimental to the victim who needs compensation to cover his medical expenses.
The attorney handling your case usually knows what is causing the delay. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help speed up the settlement process if the at-fault's party fails to communicate the reason behind the delay.
A key for a faster transaction is to have an assertive lawyer at your side. Our Soffer Firm lawyer knows exactly how to talk to these insurance companies for a quicker transaction. We do our best to meet our client's needs and ensure that they receive the best outcome.
Are You A Personal Injury Victim? The Soffer Firm Will Fight For What You Deserve!
Accidents are everywhere, and they happen at the most unexpected time. Some accidents cause severe injuries that could permanently alter a victim's way of living their life.
Not to mention the exorbitant cost of medical procedures and the loss of the victim's source of income. This can all be overwhelming for the injured victim. At The Soffer Firm, we understand that this is a challenging point in the victim's life.
We know the hardships you are facing, and we know exactly how we can help. Our experienced personal injury attorney has extensive experience handling personal injury cases. Our lawyer knows his way around the court and fights aggressively to ensure our clients will meet the justice they deserve!
We stop at nothing until our client's best interests are met. Our client's splendid experience with us is the reason why we are the "go-to" firm for personal injury cases. We offer legal assistance from the initial free case evaluation up to winning a lawsuit. At The Soffer Firm, we fight for our clients because they are our cause.