Most people wonder when they’ll receive their settlement check after being informed that their car accident claims have been concluded. The truth is that the answer to this concern depends on several factors, such as the policy of the defendant, how fast the defendant makes payments, and others.
It’s important to understand that the settlement stage of the injury claim can be involving and complicated just like the other stages. However, defendants and their insurance company play a big role during settlement–they can frustrate your attempts to recover the settlement money and that’s why most people end up hiring the car accident attorney in Anchorage.
What’s involved in a Car Accident Claim Settlement?
Processing a claim settlement involves signing documents and correspondence between different offices or officers. The common documents and stages of a claim settlement include:
A release form is a document sent by the defendant or their legal team to the plaintiff. This document states that the plaintiff will not pursue the defendant for more monies for the subject matter (the claim). In simple language, a release form is written consent by a plaintiff to a defendant to end–partly or wholly, the legal liability stated thereon.
Insurance companies typically require plaintiffs to sign a release form before issuing a settlement check. Without the form, the defendant can be the subject of a continuous and illegitimate lawsuit. The release form should specify the claims to be released because the settlement might have covered a portion of the claim.
The release of the settlement check will depend on the efficiency of the internal processes of the defendant’s insurance. However, some jurisdictions require defendants to release the settlement check immediately after receiving the signed release form from the plaintiff.
Insurance companies and rogue defendants use delay tactics aiming to avoid liability–payment of settlement in this case. Consequently, the recoverable damages start attracting interest from the date the release form is received by the defendant or their insurers. Unfortunately, defendants and insurance companies still avoid the ramifications of the afore-mentioned measure in various ways, such as claiming that the time for processing a release form is not specified and others.
Some delays are genuine although most are intentional. For instance, the defendant may issue a release form that’s not acceptable to the plaintiff. The attorneys of the two sides might be forced to revise the form until it’s acceptable to all parties. Also, some cases require extra preparation, such as claims involving an estate or minors.
A lien against the proceeds of the settlement can also cause delay. For instance, your doctor can have a lien to receive payment for the medical expenses incurred after an accident. Another example where a lien is applicable is when child support is owed by the plaintiff.
Liens should be settled before the balance of the settlement is sent to the plaintiff. Your attorney can negotiate the value of a lien to help you recover a higher settlement amount. However, you should understand that negotiation for a lien translates to more delay. Finally, processing the insurance claim in one state while the settlement check comes from a different state can increase delays.
Settlement checks are usually sent to the counsel of record or attorney of record –a lawyer who receives formal documents on behalf of a party. The attorney of record holds a settlement check in an escrow account until it clears.
Clearing the check can take a couple of days, particularly if it involves a large amount. Your lawyer will deduct the legal fees from the settlement funds if you had agreed to be paid after the successful conclusion of the case.
Speeding up the Settlement Process
The settlement claim process can be fastened in the following ways:
1. The plaintiff’s attorney can take various measures to speed up the process. For instance, they can draft a release form that specifies the processing duration and the deadline for sending the settlement check.
2. The plaintiff must prepare the pertinent documents to the case and ensure they’re available when needed by the insurance company or defendant.
3. Using use expedited shipping or return receipt mailings to eliminate potential excuses by the defendant, such as claiming that the release form or any other relevant document hasn’t arrived
3. To manage debts, a plaintiff can request for a portion of the settlement while their lawyer keeps the rest to pay creditors and owing expenses.
4. Hiring a competent legal team. A reliable legal team knows how to push things, particularly where insurance companies are involved–representing yourself is highly discouraged when dealing with an insurance company.
The settlement process can be short or long and can vary by case. Seeking legal counsel and representation is the first step to ensuring your settlement is processed fastest.