Jason Stephens | June 2, 2022 | Personal Injury
The timeline for a personal injury case depends on many factors. For example, some individuals might receive a settlement check within a few months after completing medical treatment. However, receiving a settlement check could take much longer if the other party disputes liability or the insurance company for the at-fault party acts in bad faith.
Very few personal injury cases go to trial. Most injury claims settle through negotiation or mediation. Even when a personal injury lawsuit is filed, the parties may settle before the case goes to trial.
As you wait for your settlement check, you might wonder why it takes so long to receive money for your damages. Unfortunately, even when you settle your case, it could take several weeks for you to get a check from your Fort Worth personal injury lawyer.
What Is a Final Settlement?
A final settlement is an agreement between two or more parties to end a dispute. In personal injury cases, the final settlement agreement generally includes paying money to the injured party in exchange for their release of all claims against the other parties.
Settling a personal injury claim is typically quicker and less costly than litigation. Filing a lawsuit and going to trial often takes more than a year. Furthermore, there is no guarantee of receiving the compensation you seek because juries are unpredictable.
With a settlement, you know the terms before you sign the agreement. However, a settlement agreement is a legally binding contract. Therefore, it is never in your best interest to sign any documents regarding your personal injury claim without legal advice.
Signing the Settlement Agreement and Release Forms
When you agree to settle your personal injury claim, your lawyer prepares a Final Settlement Agreement. The settlement agreement contains the terms of your settlement, including how much the other party is paying to resolve your claim. The other party generally does not admit fault, but they consent to pay the claim in exchange for a release.
The insurance company’s lawyer prepares a Release of Claims. The release states that you agree to release the at-fault party, insurance company, and all other parties (known and unknown) from any further liability for your claim. Additionally, you release the parties from all claims and any unknown claims that you might have arising from the disputed matter.
In other words, in exchange for a specific amount, you give up all rights to sue any parties for any additional compensation for any reason related to your personal injury. Therefore, it is imperative that you have skilled legal counsel to advise you whether the settlement offer is in your best interest. You also need a lawyer to review each document before you sign it.
Issuing the Settlement Check
After signing all required documents and forms, the insurance company issues the settlement check. The settlement check is typically issued to you and your personal injury lawyer. Texas insurance laws require the insurance company to pay your claim within five business days after a final settlement.
Your lawyer deposits the settlement check into his trust account to hold until the check clears the bank. However, before the attorney can issue you a check, they must pay any unsettle liens and medical bills from your settlement funds.
Paying Medical Bills, Subrogation Claims, and Medical Liens
All outstanding medical bills must be paid from your settlement funds, including medical liens. Experienced personal injury lawyers negotiate with medical providers to reduce the amount of the bills and liens. The process could take a few weeks to complete.
Also, your health insurance company may be entitled to reimbursement of any bills it paid related to the personal injury claim. These claims are called subrogation claims. As with the medical liens, your lawyer attempts to negotiate the claims to reduce the amount you must pay from your settlement proceeds.
Deducting Attorneys’ Fees and Costs Before Issuing a Settlement Check
Before issuing you a settlement check, the final step is deducting the attorneys’ fees and costs. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. When you hired the lawyer, you signed a contingency fee agreement stating you would pay the attorney a specific percentage of the funds they recovered for your claim as their attorneys’ fees.
In addition, you agreed to reimburse the law firm for the costs it paid to pursue the claim. Costs could include:
- Filing fees
- Deposition fees
- Postage and copy fees
- Fees for obtaining accident reports, medical records, and other documents
- Expert witness fees
- Investigation costs
- Trial preparation
Read the retainer agreement carefully before hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle your case. Ask questions about the attorneys’ fees and costs to ensure you understand what amounts will be deducted from the settlement proceeds.
After deducting the attorneys’ fees and costs, your personal injury lawyer issues you a settlement check for the net settlement proceeds. You should also receive a detailed accounting of each amount deducted from the gross settlement amount.
The goal is to get you as much money as possible as quickly as possible. However, a trusted Fort Worth personal injury lawyer does not rush to a settlement merely to get their fees. Instead, they invest the time necessary to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation for your injury claim.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth personal injury lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.
Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 406
Fort Worth, TX 76107