The Process of Receiving a Settlement Check in Florida
Bill Allen | May 25, 2022 | Personal Injury
If you are injured because of a slip and fall accident, medical malpractice, motor vehicle accident, or another personal injury, you might be entitled to compensation from the party who caused your injuries. However, filing a personal injury lawsuit and going to trial could take a year or longer. Additionally, filing a lawsuit does not guarantee you will receive payment for a claim.
Most personal injury claims in Florida are settled through negotiation or mediation. The parties agree to an amount that compensates the injured party for their economic and non-economic damages. The insurance company must issue a check for the settlement amount within 20 days of settlement, according to Florida Statute §627.4265.
However, the process of receiving a settlement check in Florida is a bit more complicated than the insurance company cutting a check. First, the other party must agree to accept liability for your injury claim. Then, you and the insurance company must agree upon an amount for your damages.
Agreeing to Settle a Personal Injury Claim
You allege that the other party caused your injuries in a personal injury case. The other party denies liability for the claim. However, instead of going to trial, both parties agree to an amount that resolves the claim after investigating the cause of the accident and gathering evidence to support their allegations.
There are advantages and disadvantages to settling a claim. A benefit for both parties is that a settlement avoids the uncertainty of a trial. In addition, settling a matter without litigation is generally quicker and less costly than a court battle.
A final settlement or settlement agreement refers to the resolution of a dispute. It is a written document that includes the details and terms of the settlement. All parties must sign the settlement agreement before it is valid.
The terms of a settlement agreement are typically confidential. Both parties agree to release the other party from any further liability or claims regarding the disputed matter for payment of a specific sum to the injured party.
Once you sign a settlement agreement, you are bound to the terms of the agreement. You cannot sue the party or demand more money, even if you discover additional injuries and damages. Therefore, do not sign a settlement agreement or other documents for an insurance company without consulting a personal injury lawyer.
The Insurance Company Sends a Check to Your Lawyer
As stated above, Florida law requires that the insurance company issue a check within 20 days after the settlement of a claim. However, it could take several weeks to receive your funds once your attorney receives the settlement check.
Steps your attorney must take after receiving a settlement check include:
- Deposit the check into an escrow account to hold the funds in trust until the bank clears the check
- Pay medical liens and outstanding medical bills
- Pay subrogation claims filed by a health insurance company
- Reimburse the law firm for the costs of the case, as agreed upon in your retainer agreement
- Deduct attorneys’ fees according to your contingency fee agreement with the law firm
After paying any just debts and deducting attorneys’ fees and costs, the lawyer cuts a check to you for the net amount of the settlement proceeds. Your attorney provides a detailed accounting of the settlement disbursements for your records.
It could take several weeks for your attorney to complete the process of disbursing a settlement check. For example, your lawyer may need time to negotiate the amount of medical liens and subrogation claims. Experienced personal injury lawyers negotiate to lower these claims to put as much money as possible in their client’s pockets.
Throughout the settlement process, your attorney has several goals. They want to recover as much money as possible for you, and they want to do it as quickly as possible. However, rushing to settlement could lower the amount you receive for your injuries and damages.
Receiving Fair Compensation for a Personal Injury Claim
Your lawyer works with you to document your damages to increase the value of your injury claim. For that reason, your attorney does not push for a settlement until you complete your medical treatment and reach maximum medical improvement.
Damages in a personal injury case may include economic damages or financial losses, such as:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of income and benefits
- Long-term nursing care
- Future lost wages
- Personal care and expenses
- Diminished earning capacity
You can also receive compensation for your non-economic damages, such as:
- Mental anguish
- Physical pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
Your attorney may consult with medical experts, financial professionals, and other experts to determine the extent and value of your damages. Working with an experienced injury lawyer can ensure that all your damages are included when calculating the amount of a personal injury settlement.
Contact Our Gainesville Personal Injury Law Firm in North Central Florida
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