How Long Can An Attorney Hold Your Settlement Check

After settling a personal injury case, you may wonder when you’ll get your settlement check.

How long can an attorney hold your settlement check depends a number of factors as it is generally issued promptly.

This article will discuss why and for how long an attorney might keep a settlement check.

How Long Can An Attorney Hold Your Settlement Check
How Long Can An Attorney Hold Your Settlement Check. Source (Forbes)

Reasons Why A Lawyer Might Hold A Settlement Check

Lawyers may hold a settlement check for various reasons:

  1. Outstanding Medical Bills: If you owe medical bills, your lawyer might wait until they’re paid from the settlement.
  2. Liens or Subrogation Claims: Third parties may have a claim on your settlement, like health insurance or workers’ comp, which your lawyer may resolve first.
  3. Further Legal Action: If there’s potential for additional legal action, your lawyer may hold the check until the matter is settled.
  4. Dispute with Insurance: If a dispute with the insurance company arises, your lawyer may wait until resolving it, especially in cases of liability disputes or lower settlement offers.

How Long Can An Attorney Hold A Settlement Check?

The duration of a lawyer holding a settlement check depends on the situation.

Generally, it’s until all liens, subrogation claims, and legal disputes are resolved.

If there are no issues, the lawyer must distribute funds quickly, as per state rules.

However, the process can take time, including receiving, depositing, and disbursing the funds, even without complications.

Escrow Accounts

At times, lawyers may place a settlement check in an escrow account, owned by a third party like an attorney or title company.

This ensures fair disbursement, especially when multiple parties have claims or disputes over the settlement amount.

The escrow agent releases the funds upon meeting the conditions.

What Factors Delay My Settlement Check?

Settlement Checks: Releasing a settlement check hinges on signed release forms. Delays can arise if forms aren’t promptly returned.

Processing Time: Settlement agreements can take time to process due to internal procedures or approval delays by the insurance company.

Settlement Amount Disputes: Disputes between parties or with third-party lien holders about the settlement amount can hinder check issuance, necessitating resolution before fund distribution.

What About Structured Settlement Payments?

Structured settlements distribute funds over time, which can help clients with financial management.

Lawyers, working with an annuity provider, establish the payment plan and may hold the initial settlement check until it’s in place.The client then makes payments directly.

How Can I Speed Up The Delivery Of My Settlement Check?

To expedite your settlement check, follow your lawyer’s instructions diligently. Sign and return release forms promptly, provide required documentation, and respond quickly to requests.

Effective communication with your lawyer is crucial. Address any issues or delays collaboratively.

In specific cases, negotiating a faster settlement payment with the insurance company is possible, but consult your lawyer to assess the suitability for your situation.

Follow your attorney’s guidance for a smooth and swift settlement payment:

    1. Sign and return release forms promptly.
    2. Provide required documentation without delay.
    3. Respond quickly to information or clarification requests.