February 28, 2023 | Personal Injury
How much time will it take from the day you are injured until the day you deposit the settlement check into your bank account? Typically, it takes a few weeks to a few months. Under unusual circumstances, it might take longer. Ultimately, many factors could play a role in the speed with which the opposing party is willing to settle and process your claim.
Personal Injury Settlements Can Take Time
Good settlements take time to prepare. The insurance company would love to settle with you while you are still in the hospital, wondering how you are going to pay your medical bills. Under that circumstance, they have a great deal of bargaining power.
Don’t fall for it. Even if you have medical bills you can’t pay right away, you might be able to arrange a medical lien with the hospital. A medical lien is a lien against a possible future personal injury settlement in favor of your healthcare provider. If you hire a lawyer, they can help you arrange a medical lien or some other way of handling your bills until your settlement check comes in.
Typical Settlement Delays
The following are just a few of many factors that might delay the day that your settlement hits your bank account.
The Size and Complexity of Your Claim
The larger and more complex your claim is, the longer it will take to settle. Defendants will fight hard to avoid paying a large claim. How much are you asking for in non-economic damages such as pain and suffering? Non-economic damages are inherently ambiguous, and they invite controversy over issues such as how much money your suffering is worth.
Likewise, if your claim is complex (a medical malpractice claim, for example), it might take time to prove the defendant’s liability or the ultimate amount of your claim.
The Time It Takes You To Reach MMI
MMI means “maximum medical improvement.” MMI is the point where your medical condition has already improved as much as it ever will. You need to reach MMI before you seriously pursue your claim because only after you reach MMI will you know how much money to demand.
Insurance Company Delay Tactics
If you are relying on an insurance company to pay you, they may resort to “black hat” delay tactics. If they go too far, you can have your lawyer file a bad faith insurance lawsuit against them.
Negotiation is a complex art. Even without delay tactics, it can take time to negotiate a settlement. If you reach an impasse, you might even need to bring in a third-party mediator.
Do You Need To File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Sometimes you need to file a lawsuit to meet the statute of limitations deadline or to show the opposing party that you mean business. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll end up at trial. It probably does mean you will use the pretrial discovery process. This process can yield valuable evidence, but it takes time.
From Signing the Settlement Agreement To Receiving the Money
After you reach a settlement, you must draft a settlement agreement, and representatives from both sides must sign it. Once you both sign the agreement, the process works like this:
- The insurance company will forward the settlement check to your lawyer.
- Your lawyer will then transfer the money to an escrow account. They will deduct appropriate amounts such as legal fees, case expenses, and medical liens.
- Your lawyer will then forward the remainder of the money to you.
Typically, the entire process, from signing the settlement agreement to depositing the money into your bank account, takes about six weeks.
An Oklahoma City Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Expedite the Settlement Process
Some delays are beneficial, while others are just a waste of time. An experienced Oklahoma City personal injury lawyer will know the difference. Schedule a free initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer to get an idea of how long it may take to resolve your claim.
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