The Process of Receiving a Personal Injury Settlement Check in Miami, FL
June 28, 2022 | Sagi Shaked
You can sue the at-fault party for damages when you are injured in an accident because of negligence or wrongdoing. Damages are the losses you incur because of your injury. They can include medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and other economic damages.
You could also recover compensation for your physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering. Your settlement could include compensation for diminished quality of life, permanent impairments, and other non-economic damages.
Many personal injury cases settle without going to court. However, you might need to file a lawsuit if the other party refuses to agree to a fair settlement. At the end of your case, whether by trial or negotiations, you receive a lawsuit settlement check for your damages.
What Is a Final Settlement?
A final settlement is an agreement between parties to resolve a disputed matter. For example, the settlement stops litigation if a lawsuit has been filed.
Insurance companies may make an early settlement offer, especially if you do not have a lawyer. The aim is to settle the case without paying full value for the damages. Initial settlement offers by insurance providers are often much lower than the value of your injury claim.
As your case progresses, your lawyer gathers more evidence. Finally, when you complete medical treatment and the attorney has all evidence necessary for a settlement, they will send the insurance company a settlement demand letter. The letter outlines your damages, the legal argument for liability, and the amount you agree to accept to settle the case.
Generally, your personal injury lawyer and the insurance company negotiate back and forth by making counteroffers. Eventually, they agree on a settlement amount. Next, your lawyer discusses whether the settlement is fair and the risks of going to trial.
If you decide to accept the settlement offer, your lawyer proceeds to draft the settlement documents.
Signing Settlement Documents in a Personal Injury Case
It could take several weeks for both parties to agree to the exact wording and terms of the settlement agreement.
When you sign the settlement agreement, you release the insurance company, at-fault party, and all other parties (known and unknown) from further liability or damages. In other words, you release all rights to pursue further claims or demand more money. The other party rarely admits fault for the cause of your injuries.
Your attorney reviews the settlement agreement with you. Read it carefully to ensure you understand the terms. Ask your attorney questions if you do not understand a specific section.
The Settlement Check Process After Signing the Documents
Florida insurance laws require an insurance company to tender payment within 20 days after reaching a settlement. The settlement check is generally payable to you and your personal injury lawyer.
How Long Can a Lawyer Hold Your Settlement Check?
Your attorney deposits the check into an escrow account. The funds must be held in trust until the check clears the bank. Once the check clears, the attorney can disburse the funds.
However, there are some steps the attorney must take before giving you your money. First, the attorney must pay any outstanding medical bills and medical liens.
Therefore, the law firm confirms with your medical providers whether you owe any bills related to the personal injury case. Skilled personal injury attorneys in Miami, FL negotiate with medical providers to lower the amount of their bills and liens. This extra step can put more money in your pocket.
The lawyer must also pay subrogation claims. Subrogation claims are demands from your health insurance company for reimbursement of medical costs it paid related to your personal injury case. Your lawyer also negotiates with the insurance companies to lower the claim amount.
Finally, your attorney deducts attorneys’ fees and costs. Most personal injury lawyers use contingency fees.
Therefore, the fee amount depends on the case’s outcome. You and your lawyer agreed upon a percentage for the contingency fee when you signed the retainer agreement to hire the law firm.
The lawyer also reimburses the law firm for costs. Costs could include deposition fees, expert witness fees, copy costs, postage, fees to obtain records, filing fees, and trial preparation. The amount of the costs depend on the complexity of your case and how quickly your attorney was able to reach a settlement with the other party.
Waiting for a Settlement Check Can Be Frustrating
It can be difficult to be patient during the settlement check process. However, your patience could mean more money coming to you. The short wait might be worth thousands of dollars.