Your number one priority should be on your case after you’ve been involved in a personal injury accident. Your attention should be directed to filing a personal injury claim or case. That’s why you hire a good personal injury lawyer in Dartmouth. That professional will help you get the settlement that you deserve. What happens after you have won the settlement?
NOTE: the personal injury settlement money is paid out in a process that few people know.
What Happens to the Personal Injury Settlement Check?
You need to pay off bills and expenses from your accident ASAP. It will help if you understand the journey your personal injury settlement check will take.
• You sign the release form – it’s time to sign the paperwork once all parties have agreed to a settlement amount. Of all of the documents you’ll sign, the release form is the most important one. The release states that you are not legally allowed to seek more compensation from the defendant once you have received the settlement, even if you are in dire need of it.
• The insurance company writes a check – the defendant’s insurance company will sign and release the settlement check. The check will be written to you and your lawyer. The insurance adjuster will send it to your law firm.
• Your lawyer deposits the check – your lawyer may have the check, but a few things have occurred before the money ends up in your bank account. The lawyer will initially deposit the check in his or her legal trust account.
• Your lawyer will pay off all your debts first – Your creditors get priority. These are called liens; your attorney will try to reduce these as much as possible. The most common creditors are:
a. Healthcare providers – you probably have copays and deductibles. You’ll need to get those paid off.
b. Government health insurance programs – if government programs like Medicaid pay bills, you have to reimburse them for the amount they paid.
c. Group health insurance carriers – you have to pay your insurance company back if they paid for your treatment before you won the settlement.
• You get the check – note that your lawyer will probably take ⅓ of your settlement fees, but the money left over is yours to keep.
Getting Your Money Sooner
You and your lawyer can do some things to help you get the money sooner:
● Draft a release form as soon as the settlement is finalized. You’ll be ready when the settlement is official if you do that.
● Send in all necessary documents as soon as possible. That will allow the insurance company to release the check faster.
Payment Options: Lump Sum vs. Structured
You can get your payment up-front in a lump sum, or you can get it in a series of structured payments over time. The payment is not taxed in either case. You’ll get your money in six weeks, if you choose the lump sum option. You can choose the payment frequency with a structured settlement. You can choose to get higher payments over time.