Multiple steps must occur before you have the opportunity to cash a settlement check. If you have questions on how personal injury settlements are paid out in Florida, you could benefit from a consultation with a personal injury lawyer.
The vast majority of personal injury cases are resolved through a mutual settlement. These settlements could occur early on in the process and conclude without extended delays. That does not mean you will receive your settlement check immediately.
You Must Reach an Agreement with the At-Fault Party
Before the other side will pay for your damages, you must first negotiate a settlement. Negotiating a personal injury settlement can be a complex process, but guidance from an attorney could help you get the compensation you deserve.
Settlement negotiations could begin shortly after an accident. While some cases drag on for months or even years, an attorney can resolve a case before a lawsuit is ever filed. You only have one chance to settle your personal injury case, so the final settlement value must be in your best interest. You will also have to file the lawsuit before the timeline imposed by Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a).
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Both Sides Will Execute Releases
For many reasons, the at-fault party and their insurance carrier will not simply send you a check the moment a settlement is agreed upon. The insurance company must protect their driver from your claim, and that requires resolving the case before issuing the check.
Once your attorney reaches an agreement regarding your financial compensation, they will also need to negotiate the terms of the final release and settlement agreement. These documents are important, and they must avoid language that will come back to haunt you in the future.
The final release spells out that you forever waive your right to pursue this personal injury case in exchange for a monetary payment. The terms of the release will often make clear you waive your right to pursue this claim against any party.
Potential pitfalls can come with a release. Some insurance companies might include language that protects them from another party seeking compensation for the same accident. Your attorney could ensure that the terms of your release are in your best interest.
You Might Have Liens to Resolve
There are often third parties to deal with outside of the defendant and their insurance carrier. Depending on your insurance coverage, the medical providers who treated you after your accident could have a lawsuit against your settlement. This lien would cover the full cost of your treatment.
You must resolve all of the medical liens attached to your case before receiving your settlement funds. In some situations, your attorney could negotiate with your lienholders and resolve them at a discount. This means you could recover a larger portion of the total settlement amount.
The Insurance Company Will Send Your Attorney a Check
If legal counsel represents you, the other side will likely send your settlement check directly to your attorney. This is because if your attorney is operating on a contingency-fee agreement, they have a lien for their legal fees on your recovery.
Once your attorney has your settlement check in hand, they will deposit it into their trust account. This account is reserved for client funds and cannot intermingle with the funds of the law firm. Once all the liens are resolved, your law firm will collect their fee as a portion of your settlement. Once legal fees are paid, the final step is to forward a check to you.
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Your Attorney Will Distribute Your Compensation to You
At the end of the process, you will receive a check from your attorney. This check will be less than the total settlement amount, as all of your expenses and legal fees will have been deducted previously.
The amount you recover reflects the full settlement minus attorney fees, court costs, liens, and other expenses. Receiving the settlement check marks the end of your personal injury case.
Discuss Your Personal Injury Settlement with Our Law Firm
If you pursue legal action after an accident, it is helpful to understand how personal injury settlements are paid in Florida. Understanding the process could give you perspective on what your settlement might look like and how long it might take to resolve your case.
No one can predict with accuracy how your injury case will be resolved. However, the team at Bogin, Munns & Munns could evaluate your case and advise you on your best options for resolving your injury case. Call 407-578-9696 for your free consultation and answers to your personal injury questions.