Being injured in an accident will trigger a series of events that can last weeks, months or even years. Some cases resolve with settlements in a few months, while others take a year or longer to resolve at trial. Once you achieve a settlement, you may be eager to obtain the check. The legal process is not something you can rush, however. How long you must wait to receive the money can depend on your case and the size of the settlement.
Settlement Finalization and Liability Release Form
After going through the insurance claim process and negotiating a fair settlement from the provider, you and your lawyer will have to finalize the agreement by signing a liability release form. This form removes your right to pursue further compensation from the liable party for the same accident or injury in the future. It states that the settlement achieved effectively releases the defendant from all future liability for the same incident. The insurance company will not release your settlement check until you have signed this form.
Settlement Request Sent to Accounting
In Nebraska, statewide insurance rules mandate that an insurance company must tender payment to a claimant within 15 days of agreeing to settle. The insurance company will send your case to its processing or accounting department to cut the check. The length of time this will take depends on the protocols and systems at the insurance company, but it can lawfully take no longer than 15 days in Nebraska.
Some insurance companies intentionally take their time processing settlements to delay payouts for as long as possible. Delaying payments is a type of insurance bad faith action that could result in legal penalties against the insurance company. If the insurer does not have a valid reason for delaying the processing or payment of your claim, you may have grounds to file a bad-faith insurance claim against the company for additional compensation.
Bills Paid First
The way an injury claim settlement works is by repaying all of your debts before you receive the money you get to keep. A portion of your settlement will go to the hospital, auto repair shop and other places you owe money to repay the costs of services already rendered. Then, your lawyer will deduct his or her legal fees from the remaining balance, usually based on a percentage system you agree upon before the start of your claim. Paying off your accident-related bills will not take as long with a lawyer by your side, as he or she will have all the most current billing information ready to go.
If your settlement goes smoothly, you can expect a check within 15 days of signing the release form. If you request a lump sum payment, you will receive 100% of your settlement at once. With a structured settlement, you will receive your first check within 15 days, followed by the remainder of your settlement in installments later. It could take longer to get your settlement, however, if you run into issues. Common delays include hospital liens, cases involving estates, unpaid child support and delays from the insurance company.
Can You Speed Up the Settlement Process?
It may be possible to shave time off your injury claim with help from a lawyer. Hiring an experienced Omaha personal injury attorney to take over your case can make complicated legal processes faster and more efficient. Your lawyer can ensure you submit everything the insurance company needs to process your claim the first time around and avoid delays. Legal representation can also increase the chances of achieving a successful insurance settlement without having to go to trial. This could cut significant time out of your injury claim. Discuss your case with an attorney for an accurate estimate of how long it will take to achieve a settlement and get your check.