If you have filed a claim for personal injury and it has recently been settled, the next step is to collect the money that you have been awarded as a result of the injury you sustained. Before you can receive the money, there are legal steps you and your lawyer must work through. This can make the process of getting your personal injury settlement more time-consuming than you may have hoped. However, it is a process that must be adhered to.
Once the case has been settled, the first step is for the lawyers to inform the courts that a settlement has been reached. An order of settlement is then issued by the court. This order refers to the completion of settlement papers, one of which will be the Release. Depending on the court that is dealing with the case, this order generally has to be carried out within 30-60 days. All of the settlement paperwork must be completed during the specified period.
Reviewing the Release
One thing that you need to be mindful of is that the Release is prepared by the attorney for the defense, so you need to ensure that you read through it carefully. This document contains all of the information relating to the terms of the settlement. The defense attorney will send the Release to your lawyer for approval. Upon review, you and your lawyer determine whether to accept or object to the terms outlined in the Release.
If there are objections to the Release, it can take much longer for you to collect your settlement because arguments can go back and forth between the lawyers in order to reach an agreement. In some cases, if an agreement cannot be reached, it may be referred to the judge and this can slow things down even more. Also, bear in mind that if you won a judgment at trial and the defense files an appeal, you could be looking at delays of one or two years for the appeals process to be completed. This is why settling out of court is often the preferred route.
If the Release is accepted by your lawyer, it will then be sent to you. It is your responsibility at this point to check all of the information thoroughly and ensure that you are in agreement before you sign on the dotted line. If you have any questions, make sure you clarify these with your lawyer before you sign. Remember, once you have signed the Release it cannot be changed.
The final step
Once the Release has been approved and signed, your lawyer will wait for the settlement money to arrive. If any money has to be paid out of the settlement, such as legal fees to your lawyer and outstanding medical expenses, these will be deducted prior to the proceeds being issued to you.
Steinberg Law is well versed in collecting and disbursing settlements. Brett Steinberg would be happy to share with you how to get through the process expediently. Give Brett a call anytime. 561-630-0053