When you have decided to settle your personal injury lawsuit, one of the important questions you might have is how much time does the insurance company have to send you the settlement check?
How much Time can the Insurance Company Take to Send You the Check?
In most personal injury cases such as accident cases or medical malpractice cases, an insurance company of the defendant will actually be making the payment to the victim. With this information, the insurance company will be actively involved in the settlement discussions, and once you have agreed to a settlement, you can expect a check from the insurance company.
The question is how long can the insurance company take to pay you this check? The answer is that a private insurance company has three weeks to send you your settlement check, provided your attorney has sent them all the appropriate copies of the closing documents.
One of the closing documents will be what is known as stipulation of discontinuance. This document has to be filed with the court, which enables everybody in the system know that this case has been settled.
Another document is a general release, which is a release of all the claims you may have brought. Additionally, there might be something called a hold harmless agreement. This is a document where the attorney and the client, simply signs off and says don’t hold us responsible for any other claims that are being made such as lien by Medicare or Medicaid, or any other private health insurance company that might try and come after you because of you receiving money in this particular case.
The document says that if you receive money or claims from any other places, we the defense are not responsible for payment of any of these issues.
The defense has to receive all these documents in the proper fashion, which means you have to send these documents to them by certified mail, return receipt requested. From the time the defense receives this packet of documents – the defense will have three weeks within which to send you the payment. So if you look at it that way, it may be a month or even five weeks before the money you are supposed to receive is in your checking account.
However, if the defense is a municipal agency or the City of New York, then this three-week provision does not apply, and it can take quite a long time before you receive your settlement check. Secondly, the three-week provision will also not apply to wrongful death matters.
This is because, you the plaintiff who represents the family of the dead victim have to go through an entire process of attaining an approval from the court first, to not only settle the case, but also to agree on how the money is going to be distributed before actually receiving the settlement check. Therefore, if it is a wrongful death matter, it will be an entirely different process. However, in cases where you have suffered an injury and fortunately you are still alive, the defense, a private insurance company, will have three weeks within which to send you the check payable to your attorney who will then pay you your share.
Do not spend any money of any size until it is in your checking account. If you want to buy another Whopper from Burger King for instance, that is fine. But do not buy a new Lexus, for example, until the money is yours.