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Where can I Cash in a Settlement Check

How and where to cash your Settlement Check

In a car accident or personal injury case, a settlement check represents the compensation that the affected party receives from the at-fault party as compensation for the damages and injuries incurred. When you finally receive your settlement check, you need to be sure that you find a place that has available funds, reasonable fees and charges, security and privacy, and is convenient for you to be able to cash it. 

The most suitable places to cash your settlement check include your personal bank or credit union, the issuing bank, a retail check cashing store, or through mobile deposit. To avoid mistakes, you need to understand how each method works and the necessary steps to take to guarantee that you’ll receive your money successfully.

If you have outstanding medical bills, you don’t have to wait till you receive your settlement check before you pay them. With our post-settlement loans at Stonewood Funding, you can get a cash advance to quickly cover all your important financial needs as you wait to receive your money. We also offer pre-settlement loans to reduce your financial burden while you settle your personal injury case. Book a free consultation with us now to discuss your case, or apply now to access the funds immediately.

In this blog, you’ll learn where and how to cash your issued settlement check, how long it takes, and various tips to avoid scams and fraud.

How Can I Get a Settlement Check?

How Can I Get a Settlement Check?

A settlement refers to an agreement between the parties involved in a car accident or personal injury case to resolve the dispute without going to court. It usually involves a series of negotiations by both parties and their legal representatives, to arrive at a settlement amount that both parties consider fair for the affected party.

The settlement amount serves to compensate the affected party for the damages and injuries incurred in auto accident or personal injury claims. Once both parties reach a settlement agreement, the defendant or their insurance company pays out a settlement check to the claimant. Payment of the agreed compensation often legalizes the claimant’s agreement not to pursue further legal claims on the case.

Note that you can only receive a settlement check when you win your lawsuit or successfully reach a settlement agreement with the other party without going to trial. In other words, you cannot receive a settlement check while the settlement negotiations are still ongoing, or while you’re still going for a court trial for the settlement. However, you can receive a cash advance to pay your medical bills and sort out other financial needs by applying for pre-settlement funding at Stonewood Funding.

Can I Get My Settlement Check Early?

Yes, it’s possible to get your settlement check early if your settlement process does not take a long time. How early you get your settlement check depends on factors such as the complexity of the case, the duration of the negotiation process, court approval, insurance company schedule, etc. 

However, the best way to get your settlement check early is to apply for a cash advance through post-settlement funding. Also known as lawsuit loans, post-settlement loans provide you with immediate cash to settle your pressing financial needs as you wait for your settlement check to arrive.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Settlement Check Post Release?

How Long Does It Take to Get a Settlement Check Post Release?

Generally, it may take a few weeks or a couple of months to get a settlement check after signing the release form in your personal injury case. The timeline of a settlement check is usually influenced by various factors, such as the processing time post-release, legal requirements like court approval, the method of payment, etc.

For instance, it may take some time for both parties to agree on the settlement terms and process all the necessary paperwork. This process can span from a few days to a few weeks, depending on how complex your case is. Also, personal injury cases that involve multiple parties, liens, or any claims against the settlement money may require additional time to reach a final settlement.

Insurance companies, on the other hand, often have specific payment procedures that may extend the timeline. From receiving, reviewing, and approving the signed release form to issuing the settlement check, this may take a few hours to some weeks.

Moreover, after issuing the check, your attorney must ensure to settle any debts, such as your medical liens, lawyer fees, and other costs, before releasing the funds to you. This can also cause a delay in getting your compensation. Your lawyer can hold your settlement check for about 6 weeks.

Note that your lawyer can’t cash your settlement check on your behalf. They may receive your settlement check and pay off debts, before releasing the money to you. But they cannot cash your check; you’ll have to do that yourself.

Where Can I Cash a Settlement Check?

Where Can I Cash a Settlement Check?

Depending on your preference and access to financial services, you can cash your settlement check in various places including:

  1. The issuing bank
  2. Your bank or credit union
  3. Check-cashing service stores
  4. Major retail stores
  5. Mobile Deposit

Each option has its advantages and potential drawbacks, such as fees or waiting periods for funds to become available. Consider these factors when deciding where to cash your settlement check.

Can I Cash a Settlement Check in a Bank?

Yes, you can cash your settlement check in a bank. If you already have an account with a bank or credit union, your financial institution will typically cash the check free of charge. As they’re already familiar with your financial history, it may also be easier to process and access the funds without lengthy verification processes. This makes your financial institution arguably the best place to cash your settlement check. However, your bank may charge fees such as an overdraft fee if your check amount is more than your account balance, or a non-sufficient (NSF) fee if your check bounces. Try to verify the settlement check amount, your account balance, and how these parameters affect the cashing process.

How to Cash a Settlement Check in Other Banks

It’s also possible to cash a settlement check in a bank you don’t have an account with. You only need to confirm that they offer cash checks for non-customers. It might be best to go to the bank that issued the check. Most banks require that you submit an authorized means of identification, such as your passport and driver’s license. Some banks may also ask you to provide additional identification forms. After you’ve submitted the documents and the check, the bank may need to verify the authenticity of the check and deduct stipulated bank charges before releasing the funds to you. The charges are usually either a flat fee or a percentage of the check amount.

Can I Cash a Settlement Check in a Check Cashing Service?

Yes, you can cash a settlement check at a check cashing service, especially if you need to access the cash immediately or don’t have a bank account. It can either be a retail check cashing store or a dedicated check cashing business. However, they often charge a high check-cashing fee.

Cash a Check in Retail Check Cashing Locations

There are several retail options for check-cashing services. Common options include Walmart, grocery stores, Money Mart, ACE Cash Express, etc. They often require that you present a verifiable means of identification. Note that many of these stores can’t cash checks above $5,000, and they usually charge fees. 

For example, the check cashing fee for Walmart is $4 for checks lower than $1,000 and $8 for checks over $1,000. On the other hand, Money Mart check cashing fees vary across different states, and item fees apply.

Cash a Check in a Dedicated Check Cashing Business

You may not be able to cash your check with a bank or a retail check-cashing service if the amount is too big. In such cases, you can consider using dedicated check-cashing businesses or businesses offering payday loans. Examples of these businesses include Check ‘n Go, Email Money Now, CashBook (CB), etc. 

Although their fees may be high, dedicated check-cashing businesses can cash your check and release your funds within a day. Like retail stores, they charge either a flat fee or a percentage of the check amount. Typically, the higher the amount, the higher the fees.

When using these services, beware of the risks involved, as there is no federal protection for your funds like when using a bank. Your funds can be prone to theft, especially when you walk out of a check-cashing place with a lot of money. Also, you may be faced with high interest on payday loans.

Alternative Options to Cash a Settlement Check

Alternative Options to Cash a Settlement Check

In addition to cashing your check with banks and check cashing services, you can use alternative options like prepaid debit cards and mobile cashing apps. Cashing your check and accessing your funds through prepaid cards is usually convenient. It’s a cost-effective option because they charge fewer fees than banks and check-cashing businesses.

However, you’ll pay transaction and maintenance fees associated with using this method. More importantly, note that not all checks qualify for this electronic deposit method. Hence, be sure to confirm that your check qualifies for any method you choose.

How to Use Prepaid Debit Cards to Cash a Check

To load your settlement check into a prepaid debit, you can start by choosing and activating a suitable prepaid debit card. Next, check if your card issuer accepts check deposits. If they do, deposit the check using a mobile app, going in person to their location, or through direct deposit. Then, wait till they verify the deposits and fund your prepaid debit card. Once funded, you can use your card to pay medical bills, make purchases, or withdraw cash.

Although depositing doesn’t come with unique fees, beware of potential mistakes. Also, prepaid cards are quite expensive considering their monthly fees, withdrawal fees, inactivity fees, reload fees, etc. 

How to Use Mobile Apps to Cash a Check

If you’re cashing your check through a mobile app, you can start by installing the app on your smartphone, creating an account, and verifying your identity by providing a photo of your ID and other required information. When it’s time to deposit your check, the app will ask you to send a front and back photo of your check. 

You also need to specify whether you want the funds on your prepaid card or in your account. When using cashing apps, ensure to choose the ones that have security measures like encryption to protect your financial and personal information. Also, choose an app that is convenient and easy to use.

How to Cash a Settlement Check: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Cash a Settlement Check: A Step-by-Step Guide

To cash your settlement check successfully, you have to follow certain steps to be sure you get your settlement money safely and quickly. Here are the recommended steps to take.

  1. Endorse your check before you attempt to cash it. Sign your name in the designated space on the check. For checks that require a restrictive endorsement, you may need to write “for deposit only” and provide other necessary details for an extra layer of security.
  2. Choose where to cash your check. You can use any of the methods discussed earlier in this blog, depending on what your preferences are.
  3. Provide necessary documents. The financial institution may require a valid, government-issued photo ID such as a driver’s license, passport, or state ID card. This is necessary to verify your identity when you cash the check.
  4. Crosscheck their fees as they may vary by location or settlement amount.
  5. Fill out any required forms, especially if you’re cashing a large check. Be sure to provide accurate details throughout.
  6. Decide whether you want to cash the check or make a direct deposit into your bank account. Especially for large amounts, depositing into your account reduces the risk of loss or theft.
  7. Keep your receipts safe. It’s always best to document proofs of transactions for future reference.

What You Need to Cash a Check

To cash your check in a bank, you need to provide the check along with your account number, endorsement on the check, and a valid, government-issued ID such as your passport or driver’s license. If you’re cashing a large settlement check, the bank may require additional identification for further verification, and they may withhold the funds if you’re unable to provide the required documents.

Tips for Safely Cashing Settlement Checks

Of course, there will be potential scams and fraud when cashing your settlement check. Thus, you should be aware of these scams and understand ways to avoid them. First, verify the authenticity of the check and check for security details like microprinting, security threads, watermarks, etc

Also, use reputable banks, credit unions, or check cashing services for immediate transactions and inquire about the bank holding period. Try not to carry huge amounts of cash; instead, use a prepaid debit card or deposit funds directly into your account.

You can cash in your personal injury settlement check at your own bank. However, you may not be able to access the money immediately, especially if you received a large settlement check.

What Happens if Your Medical Bills are More than your Settlement Check?

What Happens if Your Medical Bills are More than your Settlement Check?

If your medical bills exceed your settlement check, you may have to pay the balance out of your own pocket. To prevent this situation, it’s crucial to have a proper assessment of the medical bills and other relevant expenses to enable you to negotiate for fair compensation.

However, if you’re already in this situation, one thing you can do is negotiate with your healthcare provider for possible discounts. Another option is to pay the remaining balance with your funds or borrow money against your settlement via personal loans or other forms of credit.

You can also try government medical care assistance programs such as Medicaid or Medicare to cover unsettled medical bills. It’s wise to work with a personal injury lawyer to negotiate and reach an agreement with your medical provider.

What to Use Your Settlement Check on?

When you eventually receive your settlement check, you can use it to settle outstanding medical bills, future treatment, lost income resulting from the injury, property repair and replacement, etc.

You can also pay off debts such as settlement loans, Medicaid, attorney fees, legal fees, court filing fees, etc. On average, the settlement fund you should expect to receive ranges from $10,000 to $30,000 for hit-and-run car accidents, depending on the severity of the accident.

Need an Auto Accident or Personal Injury Settlement Check?

Whether it’s a regular or structured settlement, there are several cashing options to choose from when expecting a settlement check in a personal injury case or an auto accident. You can either use a bank or credit union, a retail check-cashing location, a dedicated check-cashing business, or a mobile check-cashing app. Each of these options has both advantages and disadvantages; ensure that you consider your specific needs before making a decision.

Meanwhile, you can save yourself from the financial stress of panicking about your medical bills while you await your settlement in a personal injury lawsuit. Our same-day pre-settlement funding and post-settlement loans at Stonewood Funding can give you the financial assistance you need to settle your bills and take care of yourself before you receive your settlement check. Schedule a free consultation with us today to discuss your lawsuit loan, or apply online immediately.

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