Where Is My Personal Injury Settlement Money?

To settle a personal injury claim, your Florida personal injury attorney will have you to sign a release form agreeing to accept a negotiated sum of money in exchange for giving up your claim against the at-fault party.  Although signing the release is a quick process, it can take weeks or even several months until you get paid.  This can be a frustrating and long process, especially when it is not carefully planned out.

There are several reasons why you still haven’t been paid and there are certain steps that can be taken to avoid any unnecessary delays. Contact Miami personal injury attorney Prosper Shaked if you were injured in a car accident, slip and fall incident, or other traumatic accident. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

When Do I Receive My Lump-Sum Settlement?

After agreeing to settle your case for an agreed upon sum of money, your attorney will have you sign a release form.  The signed form is then sent to the insurance carrier, person or entity who you’ve agreed to settle with.  The recipient receives and processes the release form.

Larger more reputable insurance companies process your release and send the check immediately. Your attorney will receive the settlement check in the mail shortly thereafter.  There can be a slight delay in the time that it takes for the check to clear, but this is usually not very long or concerning.  If your attorney has been waiting for payment from these larger more established insurance carriers like Geico, Allstate, State Farm there was likely a technical error.  This often happens when the check or release is lost in the mail or the insurance company does not have accurate or up to date information from your attorney’s law firm.

Issues arise when dealing with smaller less reputable insurance companies that lack well-organized internal processing departments.  These companies can take weeks or even months to process the release form and issue the check to your attorney. This often occurs when the company lacks the funds necessary to make payment. It is not uncommon for smaller insurance companies to simply go out of business.  If this happens, you need to discuss your options with your attorney immediately.

What Does My Attorney Do With My Settlement Check?

Your attorney received a settlement check in the mail and you’re wondering why it is taking them so long to pay you.  Ordinarily, your attorney will deposit the check into the law firm’s IOLTA trust account and wait for it to clear. The frustrating delay normally occurs after the check has cleared.  Once the check clears, the attorney must satisfy all liens on the settlement, take their fee, and pay for any out of pocket expenses.  Each person or medical provider that provided for or contributed to your treatment is entitled to be repaid from the settlement money.

To maximize the value of your case, the attorney will negotiate the bills from these providers to the absolute minimum they will agree to accept in an effort to get you a larger portion of the settlement amount.  There is no set time limit for how long your attorney can take to do this. There are many factors that can delay the process.  The most common hang-up occurs when there is more than one person responsible for your injury.  While your attorney may have settled your claim with one insurance company there is the possibility that the other claim has not been settled yet.  It is common practice for the attorney to wait until all claims are finalized and received before satisfying the medical liens.

However, a hard-working attorney with attention to detail will have everything resolved by the time check the clears.  There are several entities and medical providers that may have a lien on your settlement, these will depend on which services you were provided during treatment:

  1. The hospitals that treated you.
  2. Any emergency medical service provider that provided ambulatory service. In most cases, this is the ambulance that transported you to the hospital.  In Miami, this is most often Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
  3. Your primary care physician and any other medical specialists that you consulted or treated with.
  4. The surgical center where you underwent a medical procedure.
  5. Your chiropractor.
  6. Your physical therapist.
  7. Health insurance – if your health insurance paid any portion of the medical treatment stemming from your injury, it is entitled to collect the money it paid out to the providers.
  8. Medicare – The satisfaction of a Medicare lien is often the most complex. This is especially true when a portion of your settlement provides for future medical care. When this happens, it is very important for your attorney to create a Medicare set aside that will repay Medicare for any future medical treatment you receive because of the injury.
  9. Workers compensation insurance – If your injury occurred while at work and you received benefits through your company’s workers compensation insurer, your attorney will need to reimburse the benefits that the workers’ compensation insurer already paid out.

Steps to Take to Get Fast Personal Injury Compensation

  1. The best thing you can do is to discuss the liens with your attorney prior to signing the release form. This will provide you with an opportunity to find out whether your attorney has done his due diligence.  Many attorneys will rush through the settlement process and leave your funds in their trust account while they take their time.  At this point, your attorney may lose interest in getting you your money quickly because they have already been paid.
  2. Ask your attorney for an estimate of how much you will receive after all liens, fees, and expenses are paid out. This number should be accurate if the attorney planned the settlement in advance.
  3. Request all correspondence regarding the settlement from your attorney. This will allow you the opportunity to see for yourself what is taking so long.
  4. If you find yourself in a position where the case has been settled and your attorney is not responding to your calls or emails, you may want to consider contacting the State Bar to file a complaint. This is an absolute last resort that should only be pursued when all else has failed.

It is important to retain an attorney who will help eliminate unnecessary delays and maximize the value of your case. If you or one of your family members was recently suffered an injury, it is in your best interests to immediately consult with an experienced Miami personal injury attorney, who can help you understand your rights, responsibilities, and legal options after a crash with no insurance in Florida.  To discuss a potential claim in a free and confidential legal consultation, contact the Law Offices of Prosper Shaked online, or call today at (305) 690-0244.

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