How Personal Injury Settlements Are Paid Out
Posted on Saturday, October 1st, 2022 at 4:21 pm
After successfully negotiating a personal injury settlement, you might think the process has ended. However, there are several more steps to finalize your case, and one of those is the settlement payout.
After negotiations have reached a successful conclusion, a settlement check is ultimately issued. In a perfect world, the process would run smoothly. Yet, several things can delay payment, like clerical errors, legal holidays, staffing problems, and system malfunctions.
When the check is issued, it is made payable to the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s attorney. The check is typically sent directly to the attorney’s office, where it must be processed. Generally, you have two choices of how the settlement gets paid.
How Is a Settlement Paid?
As part of the negotiation, you choose between a lump sum payment or a structured settlement. If you choose a lump sum payment, you receive the entire check in a single payment. If you have incurred multiple medical expenses or have been unable to return to work, this may help pay off past-due bills quickly.
The second choice is a structured settlement payment. In this case, you receive multiple scheduled payments over time. You might choose this to ensure you don’t spend the settlement money all at once. It can also be an option for those who want to use these structured settlement payments to supplement their income.
However, there are other ways of protecting your money so it is not spent immediately or so it can provide supplemental income in the coming months and years. Generally, a lump sum payment is best for the plaintiff, and a structured settlement typically benefits the insurance company more than it does the plaintiff.
How long it takes to get the settlement payout depends on several factors.
How Is the Money Distributed?
The settlement check is sent to the attorney, who deposits it and then begins to negotiate past-due medical bills and other debts to help protect as much of the settlement check for you as possible. These past due amounts are sometimes made into liens against the personal injury settlement by healthcare providers and insurers.
The funds are also used to pay expenses incurred during your claim and for court fees. For example, your attorney may have hired experts to support your claim or had an accident reconstruction created. Your attorney collects their fees, and the remaining amount is yours.
The process of negotiating your medical expenses and past-due bills may extend the time it takes to receive your final settlement. The remainder of the process goes rather quickly since your attorney can pay expenses from the negotiation with the insurance company without waiting.
Can the Claim Be Reopened?
In nearly every case, once the claim has been settled and you’ve received your settlement check, the case cannot be reopened. Further negotiations with the insurance company for a different amount of money are not legally possible. Therefore, it is critical that you ensure the settlement with the insurance company adequately covers your losses and injuries before you accept it.
A claim can be reopened if you learn later that the insurance company acted in bad faith or you were lied to. Examples of this could be if the company delayed processing your claim or unreasonably accused you of fraud. If the insurance company refuses to negotiate a settlement amount for this misbehavior, you might have a new legal claim against the company.
Insurance companies that harass, bully, or pressure you into accepting a settlement offer might open themselves up to further legal action. This is why it is crucial that you are represented by an experienced Beaumont personal injury attorney.
Contact the Beaumont Personal Injury Lawyers at Portner Bond, PLLC Today
If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, you can seek fair compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company. This is best accomplished with an experienced and skilled personal injury attorney at your side.
The Beaumont personal injury attorneys of Portner Bond, PLLC have the skill, compassion, and experience you need on your side. Our personal injury cases are handled on a contingency basis. This means that you pay no fees upfront and your initial consultation is free. You only pay us if we’re successful in securing compensation for you.