What happens before I get the money that is due to me from my injury claim?
After an agreement has been reached between the insurance company and you through your lawyer, it usually takes between two and six weeks to complete the settlement process. There may be exceptions to this range, but the average time to sign all the documents, receive the check and figure out the exact proceeds for each party usually requires at least a month.
First, the insurance company will require that you, and perhaps your spouse, sign a release. This is a document that settles your claim. In the release, you will read language stating that you are forever giving up your right to sue the person, persons or company who was responsible for your injuries. In exchange for giving up your claim, you will receive a certain sum of money when the insurance company receives the release.
Second, your lawyer will have to pay any medical bills that have not been paid and may be required to reimburse any insurance company that has expended money for medical bills such as your health insurance carrier, automobile insurance carrier or some other party who paid for your medical bills resulting from your injury,
Third, your lawyer will deduct attorneys’ fees, actual out-of-pocket expenses and other possible costs associated with the claim. After all deductions have been made for medical bills, possible liens, attorneys’ fees and costs, you will receive the balance in a check processed from your own attorney’s office.
In most cases there should be a fair sum of money left for you to compensate you for pain, suffering and some loss of income. There are many factors influencing settlements. Such factors include the amount of your medical bills, whether those medical bills have to be paid from the settlement, whether you actually lost income from your job or used sick leave, etc. If you have to pay all of your medical bills from your settlement or reimburse a health or medical payments carrier, this will substantially affect the final amount.
You must remember that the law allows you to be compensated for your injury -to give you compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and a reasonable amount for pain and suffering. The law does not provide that injured parties “get rich” from insurance claims, especially in small cases. Your attorney will do his or her very best to see that you get fair compensation for your injuries.