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How Long Can A Lawyer Hold Your Settlement Check?

Once a lawyer receives a settlement check, there are several steps they must complete before disbursing the funds to the client, and these steps can cause some delay. But how long can a lawyer hold your settlement check before you receive it?

It takes most lawyers up to 6 weeks to disburse the settlement money to the client. However, the exact time it takes depends on several factors such as the complexity of the settlement, the number of liens or obligations to be resolved, and the efficiency of the lawyer’s office processes.

If you’re involved in a personal injury lawsuit, you’re likely waiting for a settlement agreement to pay your outstanding medical bills, living expenses, and other debts. Litigation is often a slow process, and it’s not unusual for cases to drag on for months or years before settlement.

At Stonewood Funding, our pre-settlement loans will provide you with the cash advance you need to live your daily life and pay expenses such as medical bills and property repairs while you are waiting for your settlement check. It’s a non-recourse loan, so you owe us nothing if you lose your case. Take a few minutes to apply online now and get the cash advance you need.

As you read through this article, you’ll understand the process involved in getting your settlement check, the factors that can cause delays in the settlement check process, and what you can do to receive your settlement funds faster.

Factors That Can Delay Your Settlement Check

What Factors Cause Your Settlement Check To Be Delayed?

Several factors can delay the receipt of a lawsuit settlement check after a legal dispute has been resolved. These factors can range from administrative issues to legal requirements. You need to understand them to be able to manage expectations and potentially speed up the process. Such factors include:

  1. Release Forms: Before disbursing funds, the defendant’s insurer usually requires the plaintiff to sign a release form, agreeing not to pursue any further legal action on the matter. Processing and exchanging these documents can take time.
  2. Court Approval: In some cases, especially where minors are involved or in the settlement of a class action lawsuit, the court must approve the settlement. This process can significantly extend the time it takes to disburse settlement funds to the claimant’s bank account.
  3. Liens and Debts: If there are liens against the settlement (from healthcare providers, child support, creditors, etc.), resolving these can delay the process. The responsible party must ensure all liens are paid from the settlement money before the plaintiff can receive their portion.
  4. Banking Procedures: Banks often place a hold on large checks, which can delay access to the funds. This is a normal banking procedure meant to ensure the check clears before the funds are made available.
  5. Attorney Processing: Your attorney may need time to process the settlement check. This includes depositing the check in their trust account, paying off any outstanding liens or legal fees, and then issuing a check for the remaining amount to you.
  6. Insurance Company Delays: Sometimes, the delay can be on the part of the defendant’s insurance company. There may be internal processing delays, or they might delay issuing the check as part of their standard operating procedures.
  7. Complexity of the Settlement: The more complex the case (e.g., multiple parties involved, disputes over the settlement amount), the longer it can take to finalize all aspects of the settlement and disburse the funds.

What to Do If Your Settlement Check is Being Unduly Delayed

What to Do If Your Settlement Check is Being Unduly Delayed

If you’re experiencing an undue delay in receiving your settlement check, the first step you should take is to contact your attorney. Ask for updates on the status of your settlement check. Your attorney should offer a clear explanation for the delay of your settlement check and outline the steps being taken to resolve the issue. Maintain open communication with them to stay informed about the progress of your case.

Also, it’s advisable to review the agreement of the settlement. The document outlines specified payment timelines and conditions, which can help you understand whether the delay falls outside of the agreed terms. Knowing the specifics of your agreement enables you to identify any discrepancies between what was promised and the current situation, providing a basis for further action if necessary.

Additionally, request that your attorney follow up with the payer, whether it’s the insurance company or the defendant’s attorney. This action can be a gentle reminder that helps hasten the payment process. A direct inquiry from your legal representative can emphasize the urgency of the situation and potentially move things along more quickly.

If responses to initial inquiries are unsatisfactory, inquire about an escalation process. Confirm if there’s a higher authority or a specific contact who can address and resolve the delay. Engaging with someone higher up in the chain of command can bring new attention to your case, offering a potential path to quicker resolution.

Meanwhile, if you need a cash advance to sort out bills such as medical expenses while waiting for your settlement, you can apply for a lawsuit loan at Stonewood Funding. With our fast and easy legal settlement funding process, you get access to your cash advance immediately after you’re approved. You can apply online for a pre-settlement loan in just 3 easy steps!

Lastly, if the delay is significant and violates the terms of your agreement, it may be time to consider legal remedies. Discuss with your attorney the possibility of filing a motion to enforce the settlement agreement or seeking interest on the delayed payment. Taking legal action can be a powerful step towards ensuring compliance with the agreed terms and receiving the settlement you are owed.

What If You Have a Structured Settlement?

What If You Have a Structured Settlement?

Occasionally, a personal injury case results in a structured settlement. Structured settlements are usually given to individuals who were minors at the time of their injury or who have severe injuries requiring years of medical treatment.

In a structured settlement, the defendant sets up an annuity that pays the victim a certain amount regularly. The defendant will send settlement checks monthly, quarterly, or yearly for a specified period.

Structured settlements can be complicated, and you must understand the terms of your agreement. Carefully read over the terms of a structured settlement to know if you will receive an upfront settlement and how much it will be. You should also see how the defendant will distribute your future settlement checks.

How Can I Speed Up the Delivery of My Settlement Check?

How Can I Speed Up the Delivery of My Settlement Check?

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to expedite the delivery of your settlement check except to prepare for the settlement funds process with your personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer can prepare the release forms and review them with you before the settlement offer. That way, once your lawyer receives the settlement offer, they can have the documents ready for you to sign.

However, you can apply for post-settlement funding with Stonewood Funding. Stonewood Funding provides you with a loan that you can use for medical bills and other living expenses pending receipt of your settlement check.

Post-settlement loans are different from pre-settlement funding. When obtaining pre-settlement funding, the lending company will review the facts of your case to determine whether you are eligible for a lawsuit loan. They’ll consider various factors, such as the evidence and the likelihood that you will win your case.

Frequently, pre-settlement funding is more costly because the legal funding company assumes the risk of non-payment of the loan if you lose your case.

However, for post-settlement loans, lawsuit loan companies determine the amount of your loan based on your settlement agreement. Interest rates are typically much lower, and you may not need the loan for very long before your settlement check is released.

Once your settlement has cleared, your lawyer repays the lending company directly from your settlement.

Top 7 Reasons Why People Seek Settlements

Top 7 Reasons Why People Seek Settlements

Settlements seem to offer some advantages over pursuing litigation to a final court verdict. Here are some of the primary reasons why individuals and entities might go for a settlement:

1. Certainty and Control: Parties have more control over the terms and conditions of the resolution since both parties agree upon the outcome. That way, they eliminate the unpredictability of a trial where the decision rests in the hands of a judge or jury. For plaintiffs, accepting a settlement guarantees a certain amount of compensation. Contrarily, going to trial poses the risk of receiving nothing if the verdict is not in their favor.

2. Saving Cost and Time: Litigation can be expensive, involving personal injury attorney fees, court costs, and other related expenses. A settlement can significantly reduce these costs by resolving the dispute before a full trial is necessary. Also, legal proceedings can take a long time, sometimes taking years to reach a verdict. But with a settlement, you can resolve disputes much more quickly and parties can move on with their lives or business operations.

3. Privacy: Court trials are public records, which means the details of the case and the final judgment are accessible to anyone. Many parties prefer settlements because they can be kept confidential, thereby protecting sensitive information or reputations.

4. Risk Management and Less Stress: By settling, parties reduce the risk of losing at trial, which could result in a more unfavorable outcome. Even if a party believes they have a strong case, the outcome of a personal injury lawsuit is never guaranteed. Moreover, litigation can be stressful, emotionally tasking, and time-consuming for the individuals involved. Settlements can reduce the emotional and physical toll on parties by providing a quicker and often less confrontational resolution.

5. Flexibility: Settlements allow the parties involved to craft creative solutions that a court might not be able to order. This can include a structured settlement, non-monetary compensation, or agreements that address specific needs or concerns of the parties.

6. Preservation of Relationship: Sometimes, the parties involved may want to maintain their existing relationship, such as business partners, employer-employee, or neighbors. A settlement can provide a less contentious resolution process, helping to preserve or repair their relationships.

7. Avoidance of Appeal: Even after a trial verdict, the losing party might appeal the decision, further prolonging the resolution. Settlements typically include an agreement not to pursue further legal action, avoiding the potential for a lengthy appeals process.

The Settlement Check Process

The Settlement Check Process

The settlement check process involves several steps from the moment the parties agree to a settlement in a legal dispute until the right recipient gets the settlement money. The process helps to make sure that all parties and their personal injury lawyers fulfill their obligations and that the settlement proceeds are distributed accurately and fairly. Here is a detailed breakdown of the typical settlement check process:

1. Parties Agree and Sign Release

After negotiations, both parties reach an agreement on the settlement amount. The claimant (the person receiving the settlement) is required to sign a release form, legally agreeing not to pursue further action on the claim in exchange for the settlement payment. This document is crucial as it officially resolves the dispute.

2. Payer Issues Check

Once the release form is signed and returned, the responsible party or their insurance company processes the settlement and issues a check. This step often involves internal reviews to ensure compliance with the agreement terms. The check is mailed to the claimant’s attorney in most cases.

3. Claimant’s Attorney Receives Check

The claimant or their attorney receives the settlement check. In cases where an attorney is involved, checks are usually sent directly to the law firm to ensure proper handling and accounting of the funds.

4. Attorney Deposits Check into Escrow Account

The personal injury lawyer deposits the check into a client escrow account, a separate account maintained to hold client funds. This is a regulatory requirement for attorneys to ensure that client funds are not mixed up with the attorney’s personal or business funds.

5. Bank Clears the Check

The deposited check undergoes a clearing process, during which the bank verifies the funds with the issuing bank. The duration of this process can vary but is typically a few days. Clearing is essential for ensuring the funds are available and legitimate before disbursement.

6. Attorney Disburses Funds

Once the check clears, the attorney calculates and deducts legal fees and reimbursable expenses and financial obligations from the total settlement amount. They then send the remaining funds to the claimant. To maintain transparency, the attorney also provides the claimant with an itemized statement detailing these deductions transparency.

7. Paying Off Liens or Claims

Before the claimant receives their funds, any liens or claims against the settlement, such as outstanding medical bills, child support, or creditor claims, must be settled. This ensures that all legal obligations are met before the claimant accesses their settlement funds. However, government liens such as from Medicaid may take longer to settle, resulting in potential delay.

8. Claimant Receives Their Portion

The claimant receives their net settlement amount either via check, wire transfer, or another agreed-upon payment method. This step concludes the financial transaction of the settlement process.

9. Both Parties Keep Records

It’s vital for both the payer and the claimant to keep detailed records of the settlement agreement, payments, and any communications. These records can be crucial for tax purposes, future legal reference, or to resolve any discrepancies that might arise post-settlement.

More About Settlement Checks

More About Settlement Checks

A settlement check is a payment issued to resolve a legal claim or dispute between parties without going to trial. It represents a negotiated amount that both parties agreed upon as the settlement payment.

Settlements occur in legal disputes where the plaintiff and defendant reach an agreement to resolve their issue without going to trial. They often reach this agreement through negotiation and mediation, and it can involve various types of compensation, such as financial payments, property transfers, or other forms of restitution. In general, settlements are common in various types of legal cases, including but not limited to personal injury cases, wrongful termination, car accident cases, and disputes involving contracts.

How Does Post-Settlement Funding Work?

How Does Post-Settlement Funding Work?

Post-settlement funding is different from a traditional bank loan. While a bank will require you to apply for a loan using your credit score and employment history, post-settlement funding is based entirely on the value of your settlement.

There is no credit check, and if you are currently not able to work, it’s okay. Your employment is not a factor in obtaining the loan. The amount of your settlement is the sole determining factor of a post-settlement lawsuit loan.

While traditional loans require monthly payments, that isn’t the case with a lawsuit loan. Once you obtain lawsuit loan funding, you are under no obligation to make payments. The full amount of your post-settlement loan is subtracted from your settlement. Your lawyer will repay the loan directly to the post-settlement funding company.

Post-settlement funding is less expensive than pre-settlement funding because the outcome of your case is already known. Interest rates are lower for post-settlement loans since the company is not assuming the risk that your case will fail and it will lose its money. The money is already guaranteed; unexpected delays just hold it up.

You’ll go through a simple three-step process to obtain post-settlement funding with Stonewood Funding:

Step 1: Apply for the Loan

You can apply for post-settlement funding with Stonewood Funding through our online application or by calling 844-544-3863. When you do, you’ll give us basic information about your case, including your settlement amount and who is responsible for paying the money. We’ll review the information you provide us before speaking with your attorney.

Step 2: Case Review

We’ll speak with your attorney during the review process concerning your settlement. Your attorney will provide us with the details of your final settlement, including when they expect the payment to settle.

Once our underwriting team reviews the facts of your case and the settlement information, we’ll provide you with a loan agreement. You and your attorney should review the terms of the agreement before signing and returning the contract to us.

Step 3: You Receive Your Loan!

When we receive the signed contract, we can begin transferring money to your bank account. Typically, you’ll receive the cash advance you need within the next business day. Sometimes, we can provide you with funding on the same day.

Get Cash from Your Settled Case Today!

Waiting for a settlement check can be challenging, especially when you have outstanding bills to clear before receiving your settlement funds. If you think your settlement funds are taking too long to reach you, contact your attorney to find out the status of the payment. Meanwhile, you can get a cash advance from a reputable pre-settlement funding company so you don’t have to suffer financial stress while waiting for your settlement.

At Stonewood, we’re committed to making sure you receive the financial assistance you need to sort your bills as you await your settlement check. Unlike traditional loans, our lawsuit loans are risk-free as you don’t have to pay a dime if your claim is not successful.

Contact Stonewood Funding to learn more about post-settlement funding. You can begin your application by applying online or calling 844-544-3863.

Questions? Contact your local Los Angeles lawsuit loan company today!

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Need cash before your case settles? There is no fee to apply, and you owe us nothing if you lose your case.

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