How Long Can A Lawyer Hold Your Settlement Check

how long lawyer can hold check

When your case finally comes to an end, you’ll likely want to find out how long your attorney can retain your settlement check. After many months or years of judicial proceedings, you deserve to be paid, particularly if you already have bills piled up. When you eventually reach a settlement, there are a few such things you and your attorney need to do it before the defendant provides a check to your lawyer. Even so, when the check comes to your lawyer, some responsibilities must be taken care of before the final balance is given to you, and if you are wondering about how long can a lawyer hold your settlement check then this article is for you.

how long lawyer can hold check

Factors affecting delivery time of the settlement check

Depending on the outcome of your scenario or your settlement agreement, the real-time taken for your check to get delivered will vary. Although many settlements will be finalized within six weeks, a few other settlements can sometimes take many months to fix. Here are a few causes why your settlement check might come later than expected.


Release Forms

The first form you need to sign for getting your settlement is the release form. This form is a legally binding contract asserting that you’ll never pursue a further legal suit against the defendant in your particular case. Most of the insurance companies or defendants will not give you a settlement check unless the release form is signed. However, if you have simultaneous lawsuits against the same defendant for another issue, you wouldn’t have to stop seeking those claims.

The release form should specify which claims you organize to withdraw from the defendant or the insurance company. Generally, the release form is read by the attorney before you sign it to ensure the terms are reasonable. Bear in mind that you’ll need to sign numerous release forms based on the number of parties involved with the case. If the defendant does have an insurance company managing your claim, you will have to sign 2 release forms, one for the insurance company and, one for the defendant.

In rare instances, you may encounter problems if you or the defendant disapproves of the release form. This typically involves a redrafting of the release form.


Delays in Processing

Each state has its own laws concerning the period of time the defendant is required to make a settlement payment when the release form is signed by you. Unfortunately, some organizations are using this to postpone as much as possible, the processing of your settlement check. For instance, the defendant or insurance company may take the entire time prescribed by the law for processing your settlement check upon receipt of your release form.

This implies that if you live in a state where even the legal processing time is thirty days, the defendant or his insurance company may take thirty days to formally accepting your release form.


Check clearance

In many other cases, a check is sent by the defendant to your attorney. Usually, when your lawyer obtains a check, they retain it in a trust or escrow account until it is cleared. This process usually takes about 5-7 days to carry out major settlement checks.


Once the check has been cleared, your lawyer will deduct their proportion to cover the expenses of their legal services. They’re also paying any outstanding bonds or bills for you. After your attorney honors all the financial obligations related to your case, the check is sent to you via wire transfer and mail.


Paying Bills and Liens

If you have a personal injury case, you may need to pay outstanding liens or medical bills. As soon as your matter is resolved, you have an obligation to pay these bills. When a settlement check is received by your lawyer from the defendant, they generally use the funds to pay for you any liens on your settlement. It’s normally easy to settle the liens if the government has a link to your settlement. If you’ve any links from a government-funded program like Medicaid or Medicare, it will take several months to fix them.

Your lawyer will use your settlement check to fix any bills which are related to your litigation. These include medical tests, private investigations, expert witness testimony, and more. Many of these bills have a set sum, but your lawyer may have to negotiate a fee for many other services. While your lawyer will not be able to check your settlement until liens and bills related to your case are resolved, it’s probably best to be patient so that you do not have to end up paying more than enough.


What about the structured settled payments?

In rare cases, the defendant may have to pay via a structured settlement. Unlike with a regular settlement that needs to pay the full settlement amount, a structured settlement is when the settlement amount is paid by the defendant over time. These kinds of settlements typically occur when the incident involved a minor or when there has been a catastrophic injury that needs extra medical care.


In the structured settlements, the insurance company or defendant shall normally set up an annuity for the defendant, which shall be paid on a set date. If you and the defendant comply with a structured settlement, be sure to ask your attorney about the settlement payment. Accepting a structured settlement without a thorough examination of the terms may bring risks, financial complications, and unexpected delays.


How to Speed Up Delivery of the settlement check?

If you require the settlement check very early, there are some ways for speeding up the process. Once you get very close to the settlement, a release form should be drafted ahead of the time so it is ready before you reach the agreement. Then you need to work with your lawyer for figuring out the bills and liens when the release form is processed by the defendant. You should ensure that you respond to the requests of the lawyer quickly for avoiding delays.

If you’re in a circumstance where you might need a part of your settlement while it’s underway, ask your attorney if you can get a portion of it. Your attorney is not obligated to give an advance, and they may do this as a kind gesture.


If you cannot wait for the settlement check, consider applying for a lawsuit loan

If you require a settlement check and your attorney can’t offer you an advance on your outstanding settlement, try applying for a lawsuit loan from Nova Legal Funding.

A lawsuit loan also referred to as pre-establishment financing, is a cash advance provided to the defendant in exchange for part of their settlement. Besides a regular loan, a lawsuit loan does not need an income verification or credit check. Instead, we analyze the candidates based on their case strength. Most relevantly, our loans are risk-free, indicating that you really don’t pay us back until you win your case.

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