Finally reaching a settlement for your personal injury claim after months or more of waiting creates a huge wave of anticipated relief. It can also create some frustration for injured victims who have already been anxiously waiting to recover their damages. That said, how does it all happen and how long do you have to wait for your personal injury settlements to get paid?
Schmidt Kramer has extensive experience helping injury victims recover maximum compensation for their medical costs and other losses.
Were you injured by another person’s negligence? Do you need help recovering compensation for your damages, such as medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more? Call our law offices anytime, night or day, to discuss your legal needs in a completely FREE case review.
How Long Before My Personal Injury Settlement Gets Paid?
Once you reach a settlement agreement, there are a few more things that have to happen before you get paid. The first step is for both sides to prepare and sign a final release.
Negotiating and Executing a Final Release
After both sides agree to a settlement, your attorney, along with the defendant’s legal counsel, will take steps to resolve the case and execute a final release document.
There could be some minimal delays in getting this done. The language in the final release is critical to both sides. It forever protects the defendant from further liability. Once you sign the release, you cannot pursue further compensation for your damages from the defendant, even if your injuries worsen.
Your attorney will also want to ensure there are no terms in the release that harm your best interests. For instance, if there was another liable party involved, your attorney knows it may be possible for you to seek further compensation from that other party. The insurance company knows this as well. As such, your attorney would ensure the release does not include terms that would prevent that from being possible.
Is Anyone Else Entitled to Money From My Settlement?
There are other costs that need to be paid once the final release is signed. The benefit of taking a personal injury case on contingency means that the injured victim pays zero dollars up front. However, once the case concludes, those costs get paid out from your settlement award.
This is why your attorney’s goal is the same as yours throughout the legal process – to recover maximum compensation. If you do not get paid, neither does your attorney.
What Other Costs Get Paid Before I Get My Settlement?
There are always additional costs involved once a case resolves. The breakdown of additional costs remaining before a personal injury settlement gets paid typically looks something like this:
Your contract with your attorney should outline the percentage of your settlement that he or she will receive. Generally, that is about 33 percent of the settlement awarded to you. So, for example, if your final awarded settlement is $100,000, your attorney would receive $33,000.
There are always additional case costs involved when seeking compensation for a personal injury. Since injury cases are accepted on contingency, however, you do not pay them up front. Your attorney fronts the bill for these costs throughout the legal process. This takes the burden off of the victim, so they can focus on healing from their injuries.
Unless your case goes to trial, which rarely happens, these costs should be minimal. For instance, there may be administrative fees for obtaining your medical records or requesting video footage of your accident. Whatever costs were incurred for your case, they should be fully itemized and explained to you so you have no doubt about what is included.
Payment of Outstanding Liens
Sometimes, depending on what available insurance you have, there are third-party liens that must be satisfied. One example of this is if you had medical providers who treated you without asking for payment while your case was ongoing. A medical lien is a legally binding agreement the provider will wait for payment until your case concludes. The expectation is that they will be paid once your settlement is awarded.
The types of liens that may be placed against your settlement may be from:
- Healthcare providers
- Car insurance carriers
- Medicaid and Medicare
- Health insurance providers
- Government liens
As overwhelming as it may sound, it is a normal part of personal injury legal claims. Additionally, your attorney may often be able to negotiate your liens with these third parties down to a lesser amount.
There may also be some additional bills that accrued after a settlement amount was agreed on. If there are medical bills for other case-related treatments you received outside of the final settlement, those costs must also be paid.
Who Gives Me My Settlement Check?
Since injury claims are handled on contingency, the payment is usually sent to the attorney first. That check will get deposited into a trust account. Legally, it cannot be placed or co-mingled with the law firm’s money. Once the attorneys and other third parties receive their cut of the settlement, your attorney will issue a check to you. The amount of this check is fully yours as all other costs, fees and liens will have already been paid.
Need Legal Help With Your Injury Claim? Call Our Trusted Law Firm Today
Every Harrisburg personal injury lawyer at Schmidt Kramer is experienced and deeply committed to helping injured victims. We always fight for maximum compensation for our clients, and if need be, we are also prepared to take your case to trial.
Find out what legal options you may have by requesting a FREE case review. You can discuss your situation and learn more about how personal injury settlements get paid. There is no cost and no risk for this meeting. If you choose our firm to represent you, there are also no upfront costs to pay.
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