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How Long Does It Take To Receive A Settlement Check?

June 25, 2024

Understanding the processes behind an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit can be complex, but after a claim has been decided, how long will it take to receive the settlement check?

Whether you are currently going through the motions of a claim or have already succeeded with your claim, this is a question of significant importance, particularly if you have major financial needs arising due to the injury. Our accident attorneys in Lexington wish we could give you a straightforward answer, but the reality is that the best answer to this question is – it depends.

Factors Affecting the Timeline for Receiving a Settlement Check

Timeline of a settlement check

The time it takes to receive a settlement check can vary widely based on several factors. Some key elements that can influence the timeline:

  • Settlement Agreement. Once a settlement is reached, both parties must agree on the terms and sign a settlement agreement. This process can take a few days to several weeks, depending on how quickly the parties can come to an agreement and finalize the documents.
  • Court Approval. In some cases, such as those involving minors or incapacitated individuals, the settlement may require court approval. This step can add a few weeks to a few months to the process, depending on the court’s schedule.
  • Insurance Processing. After the settlement agreement is signed and approved, the insurance company will process the payment. This typically takes about four to six weeks, but it can take longer if there are delays in the insurance company’s processing system.
  • Lien Resolution. If there are any liens on the settlement, such as medical bills or child support arrears, these must be resolved before the settlement check can be issued. Resolving liens can add several weeks to several months to the timeline, depending on the complexity of the liens and the responsiveness of the lienholders.

Ways to Receive Your Settlement Payment

There are different ways to receive your settlement payment, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The two primary methods are structured settlements and lump sum payments.

  • Structured Settlements. This option involves receiving the settlement money in a series of periodic payments over a specified period.
    • Pros. Structured settlements provide a steady income stream, which can help with long-term financial planning and prevent the recipient from spending the money too quickly. They can also offer tax advantages, as the periodic payments are often tax-free.
    • Cons. The main disadvantage of a structured settlement is the lack of immediate access to the full settlement amount. This can be problematic if the recipient has significant immediate expenses or debts.
  • Lump Sum Payments. This option involves receiving the entire settlement amount in one payment.
    • Pros. A lump sum payment provides immediate access to the full settlement amount, which can be beneficial for paying off large medical bills, debts, or making significant purchases.
    • Cons. The main disadvantage of a lump sum payment is the risk of spending the money too quickly. Without careful financial planning, the recipient may find themselves without funds in the future.

Three Unexpected Things That Could Delay Your Settlement Check

Even after a case is settled, there can be unexpected delays in receiving your settlement check. Here are three common issues that can cause delays:

  • Administrative Errors. Mistakes in the paperwork, such as incorrect details or missing signatures, can cause delays. Ensuring that all documents are accurately completed and promptly submitted can help avoid this issue.
  • Bank Processing Times. Once the check is issued, the bank’s processing times can add additional delays. Depending on the bank’s policies, it can take several days to weeks for the check to clear and for the funds to become available.
  • Insurance Company Delays. Sometimes, the insurance company may take longer than expected to process the payment due to high volume, internal processing issues, or other administrative reasons. Keeping in regular contact with the insurance company can help expedite the process and keep you informed of any delays.

Understanding the various factors that influence the timeline for receiving a settlement check can help you manage your expectations and plan accordingly. While the process can sometimes be lengthy and complex, being aware of potential delays and knowing your payment options can help you navigate this challenging period with more confidence and less stress. Speak to an injury lawyer in Lexington today to discuss your case and how to move forward with receiving compensation.