Stephen Hasner | Personal Injury | March 21, 2023
Being injured in an accident or because of another party’s wrongdoing can cause severe consequences. You might incur substantial financial losses because of the accident. Additionally, you may experience pain and suffering because of your emotional and physical injuries.
You can file a personal injury claim seeking compensation for your injuries and damages. Most claims begin by filing an insurance claim with the at-fault party’s liability insurance provider. Only a small percentage of personal injury claims go to trial.
Therefore, most people can expect to receive a settlement check from the insurance provider when they resolve a personal injury claim. However, the process of receiving a settlement check in Atlanta could involve complicated steps to prove causation, fault, and liability.
What Is a Legal Settlement for an Atlanta Personal Injury Claim?
A settlement is a common way to end a legal dispute. If the parties are involved in litigation, a settlement results in a voluntary dismissal of the case.
Typically, a settlement involves payment of a monetary award to the injured person. In exchange, the injured person releases all parties and insurance companies of any further liability for the claim. Because the settlement agreement is a binding legal contract, the injured person cannot seek additional compensation if they discover additional damages.
Therefore, deciding to accept a settlement offer or continue the claim can be challenging. An Atlanta personal injury lawyer weighs the strengths and weaknesses of the case to determine if the settlement offer is in your best interest.
Proceeding with a claim has risks. Even with a strong case, you cannot be sure what a jury might decide. Furthermore, continuing with a claim can increase the expenses of the case.
Before signing a settlement agreement, talk with an experienced personal injury attorney. You give up legal rights when you sign a settlement agreement. Therefore, you need to ensure the settlement amount is reasonable, given the facts of your case.
What Happens After I Sign a Settlement Agreement for My Personal Injury Case?
The attorneys report the settlement to the court if you have filed a personal injury lawsuit. Depending on the stage of the litigation, your case might be dismissed. However, the court might require a stipulation of dismissal signed by both parties.
If you have not filed a lawsuit, your attorney drafts a settlement agreement. Your lawyer and the other party might negotiate back and forth on the wording and terms of the settlement agreement. In most cases, the insurance company and defense lawyer insist on specific terms that include:
- A release of all further liability for damages arising from the claim.
- The at-fault party nor its insurance provider admits any fault for the claim.
- A release of other claims that could be related to the incident.
All parties must sign the settlement agreement, including mutual releases, when the agreement is finalized. After the settlement agreement is signed, the insurance company releases a check to your attorney.
Processing a Settlement Check for an Atlanta Personal Injury Case
Typically, your attorney receives the check within seven to 10 days after signing a settlement agreement. However, there could be delays because of internal issues or circumstances outside the company’s control, such as delivery times.
Delays in receiving your settlement check could happen if:
- The parties dispute the release forms
- The case involves a child or an estate
- The insurance office processing the check is in another state
- Your attorney is negotiating payments to medical providers or lien holders
- Clerical errors and mistakes
- Delays because the insurance company has a heavy caseload or people working on your case are on vacation
The settlement check is payable to you and your lawyer. Your attorney deposits the check into their trust or escrow account. Then, they hold the check until the bank releases the funds.
When the check clears, the lawyer must follow a process for disbursing funds. For example, unpaid medical bills, subrogation claims, and medical liens must be paid from the proceeds. Otherwise, these parties can file a civil lawsuit against you seeking payment.
Also, the state could demand payment from the settlement proceeds if you owe unpaid child support. Lastly, the attorney deducts the contingency fee and costs you agreed to pay when you hired the law firm.
A contingency fee is a percentage of the settlement amount. When you hire a personal injury lawyer, you agree to pay a percentage of your recovery for legal fees. The attorney deducts the contingency fee and any costs spent on your case from the settlement proceeds.
Finally, your lawyer issues a check payable to you for the net settlement proceeds. You also receive a detailed, written accounting of all funds deducted from the settlement proceeds.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Atlanta for Legal Help
A personal injury settlement is final. Do not let an insurance adjuster pressure you into accepting an offer and signing a settlement agreement without legal counsel. If you’re in need of legal advice and assistance, reach out to a personal injury attorney in Atlanta to ensure your rights are protected.
For more information, please contact the Atlanta personal injury law firm of Hasner Law P.C. at our nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.