How Long Does It Take to Receive Settlement Money?
If you’ve been personally injured as a result of someone else’s negligence or intentional harm, you may be entitled to settlement money. This cash can be used to cover your medical expenses, reimburse you for lost wages, and even compensate you for your pain and suffering, helping you get back to a normal life after a significant injury.
However, it often takes a long time for plaintiffs to receive their settlement money – even if the case goes well. So how long, exactly, does it take to receive the settlement money you’re due?
First, understand that there’s a significant back and forth that happens with most cases. You and your lawyer will be negotiating with the defendant, their lawyers, and their insurance company. It sometimes takes weeks, or longer, to reach an agreement that everyone is satisfied with. This part of the process is unpredictable.
Additionally, if you can’t come to an agreement, the case may go to trial, prolonging the process even further and adding to your financial stress.
From Settlement to Receipt
After you finalize a settlement, you’ll still have to wait to receive your settlement money (for reasons we’ll get into momentarily). Depending on a handful of variables, it will likely take around 6 weeks to receive your settlement money.
You’ve already settled on a specific amount, so why does it take so long to receive your money?
This is typically the process:
- Final signing. Once you’ve reached an agreement, you still need to go through the process of filling out paperwork. There are multiple parties involved with this. First, the paperwork has to be drafted, and while many lawyers work from templates, this can still take some time. Then, many individual parties need time to review the paperwork and make sure everything is legitimate – including lawyers on both sides, parties on both sides, and involved insurance companies. Then, each person involved needs to actually sign the paperwork, which can take days or even weeks to complete.
- Processing and review. From there, the paperwork needs to be recorded and processed. If you’re getting a payment from an insurance company, the company will need to do an internal, final review and prepare to issue the payment.
- The check. Here’s the easy part: once fully approved, the insurance company will cut the check. However, they can’t just send it directly to you. Instead, they’re going to send it to your lawyer (most likely).
- Escrow and liens. Your lawyer will take the proceeds from the check and deposit them into an escrow account, taking care of any liens thereafter.
- Deductions. Your lawyer will also take a moment to deduct their legal fees from your settlement money.
- Final payment. Only after all your fees and dues are taken care of will you have access to your settlement money. Considering the number of steps required to complete this process, a few weeks of lead time is reasonable.
Variables to Consider
We can estimate the length of time to get your settlement based on an average, but every case is different. You may be waiting far longer or far shorter than someone else, depending on the following variables:
- The nature of the case. Some cases are more complex than others, involving more parties or more variables. Generally, the bigger and more complex the case is, the longer it’s going to take to reach a settlement (and get your settlement money).
- Negotiations and final agreements. There are many obstacles you’ll need to overcome during the negotiation process. If you or the other party is overly stubborn, or if you can’t come up with a compromise, it may delay your payments.
- The amount of money involved. As you might imagine, with bigger payments, insurance companies and lawyers need to jump through more hoops. You may experience significant delays with larger sums, but smaller sums should come through just fine.
- Insurance hiccups. Insurance companies are notorious for checking every detail. While it’s entirely possible that the negotiation will go smoothly and you’ll get your payment quickly, it’s also possible that bureaucratic, slow systems will keep your payments held up.
- Payment processing. As you’ve seen, there are a lot of steps your money needs to go through before it gets to you. Sometimes, it takes a while to deposit it in escrow and distribute it where it needs to go.
- Communication. Any delays or interruptions in the communication process can also delay your receipt of the settlement money. Fortunately, if you have a good, proactive lawyer, you won’t have to worry too much about this.
Recourse for Lengthy Settlements
If you’re struggling to deal with your financial situation and you’re waiting on settlement money, you do have a few options available to you.
- Pre-settlement funding. The most beneficial course of action is to secure pre-settlement funding. With a reliable lender, you’ll be able to get near-instant access to the capital that’s coming your way. Approval is fast as long as your case is promising, and in many cases, you won’t owe any interest – instead, you’ll pay a flat fee for getting the money early. Once your settlement funding comes in, you can pay off the loan and move on with your life.
- Frugality and cost control. This is also an opportunity to exercise frugality and cost control measures. You shouldn’t avoid medical appointments or any form of medical treatment to cut costs, since these will be necessary for your physical recovery, but you can cut down on indulgences and entertainment expenses as you get through this tough period.
- Supplementary income. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may be able to work. Picking up a side gig or a part-time job can give you enough supplementary income to help you reduce your stress.
Are you currently struggling with medical bills and other personal expenses while waiting for your settlement money to arrive? If so, pre-settlement funding may be your best option. Contact Capital Now Funding today for more information or to apply now!