Here is what I tell my clients: It generally can take up to three weeks to receive a settlement check after submitting the release. If we get it before then, which we can, it will be a pleasant surprise. Insurance companies are large entities and the release and disbursement must be approved at various levels including regional claims, claims supervision, accounting, legal and others. To give credit where it is due, some insurance companies are very fast. Others, however, move at the speed of a snail.
Usually 30 days, and then the funds would have to clear your attorney's trust account before distribution to you, your attorney and any medical providers with liens.
Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.
In my experience I have seen settlement checks arrive as soon as one week and as long as 45 days; it all depends on the insurance company. Additionally, some law firms have a policy of depositing settlement checks in a trust account and only disbursing funds once the checks completely clear- which can take as long as 10 business days. Check with your attorney to see what his practice is.
Once a claimant decides to accept an offer made by an insurance company, the company will proceed to send a release to the attorney's office. Once the claimant and his or her attorney sign and return the release to the insurance company, it can take between 3-10 working days to finally receive the settlement check. This varies from one insurance company to another and the procedures they follow prior to issueing a settlement check.
Generally, insurance companies have an inherent incentive to hold onto the money as long as possible. In reality, it shouldn't take more than a few days to have the settlement check issued and mailed out to your attorney; however, insurance companies often take longer. I usually include a term in my settlement agreements that payment is to be delivered within 14 days.
It usually takes about 2-3 weeks for your attorney to receive the check, deposit into his attorney client trust account, settle any liens and give you your portion. He or she should provide you with a disbursement breakdown to account for all settlement proceeds.
Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for informational purposes only. Attorney will take no action on your behalf unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed. There are strict time deadlines on filing claims and, as such, you are advised to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file such claims timely or you will lose any right to recovery.
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