How long does it take to get a settlement check?

how long does it take to get a settlement check

Many car accident clients ask me how long does it take to get a settlement check. A settlement check is the long awaited reward after battling through your accident injuries and suffering throughout this whole process. After your car accident or auto accident case is settled (usually pre-suit through the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier, there are certain steps that must be followed in order to get your settlement check. 

How long does it take to get a settlement check?





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  1. I would first gather all your medical records and bills. I do this by sending records requests to all your treating medical providers. For example, if you went to the ER, I would request all of your records and total bills from the ER. 
  1. I begin drafting what is called a pre-suit settlement demand. In a pre-suit settlement demand, I will gather all evidence of your car crash such as accident scene photos, property damage photos, any visible injury photos and an estimate of the damage to your vehicle. I will also gather all pertinent medical records and bills for all the injuries that you have sustained due to your car accident. I will explain liability, causation and damages in the pre-suit settlement package.
  1. Mail pre-suit settlement package to the at-fault driver’s insurance company, to the claim’s adjuster who is handling the case.
  1. Negotiate with claim’s adjuster.
  1. Hopefully, reach an amicable pre-suit settlement with the claim’s adjuster.
  1. Document settlement reached in writing.
  1. Execute and sign Release which is usually drafted by the other driver’s insurance company.
  2. Meet with you, the client to go over and sign the Release of claims.
  1. Send executed Release back to claim’s adjuster.
  1. Ask adjuster when the settlement check will be issued and mailed to me.
  1. In about 1-2 weeks, I will receive the settlement check.
  1. By Colorado law, I am required to deposit the settlement check into a certain escrow account called COLTAF. A COLTAF account is required to be had by all personal injury attorneys who disburse client monies. The interest from this account goes back to the Colorado Bar. 
  1. Wait for the settlement check to clear the COLTAF account so all funds are ready and available for disbursement.
  1. I will prepare a Settlement Statement for you to approve and sign. This settlement statement will list every person and company that needs to be paid out of the settlement money. You will then acknowledge and sign this Settlement statement. 
  1. When settlement check clears, I can write checks to you and any other entities like medical providers and any liens and of course, to myself for 1/3 attorney’s fee. 
  1. Make sure there are no liens and if there are any liens on your case, these will need to be paid out of your settlement proceeds. For example, liens may be from your doctor, hospital, Medicaid, Medicare, health insurance company, etc. These liens must be protected by law and if you do not pay these liens, then those lien holders can go after you and me, and sue you in court.
  1. I will normally give you your settlement check in person. Once I give you your settlement check, your case is completely over and you can be happy and live your life. 
  2. Your settlement money is tax free. It is compensation for your injuries and for your economic and non-economic damages. The IRS does not tax personal injury settlements so you will not have to report this money on your next year’s tax return. 
  1. Remember, the settlement of your case with the at-fault driver’s insurance company will completely bar you from every suing or making a claim ever again against the at-fault driver and insurance company. 

The answer to how long does it take to get my settlement check can vary depending upon the particular insurance company. Some insurance companies have a faster and more streamlined process. Some insurance companies are smaller and more inefficient. Thus, the answer to how long does it take to get my settlement check can definitely vary depending on the insurance company we are dealing with. 

Covid-19 Issues and how long does it take to get a settlement check

For example, now that we are dealing with a novel virus (Covid-19), the economy in the United States has taken a huge hit. We are in the worst recession or depression that this country has ever seen. Due to this pandemic and general world wide chaos, businesses have been forced to lay off employees and shut down some of their branches.

Insurance companies are really no different than any other business. They exist to make a profit. Since companies are no longer fully staffed and insurance adjusters are now working from home, the process of getting a settlement check is taking longer. No matter which insurance company I am dealing with, the settlement check process has become more complicated and long.

So, how long does it take to get my settlement check under this Covid-19 environment? It usually takes 3-4 weeks to receive your settlement check due to this abnormal economic environment. I have recently had it take about 1 month to receive a settlement check in a car accident case that I settled a few weeks ago. There was actually a communication problem between the adjuster and the check writing department so I had to keep calling the adjuster to remind her that I am still waiting.

This is to be expected in this chaotic environment so everyone has to be a little more patient and relaxed. The settlement check will come, no doubt as we have entered into a legally binding contract for this money.

Normal time for how long does it take to get a settlement check?

When the economy returns to normal, and we see insurance companies return to normal and customary business practices, then the settlement check process will go back to normal procedures. How long does it take to get my settlement check under normal procedures?

Normal procedure is to receive a personal injury settlement check within 2 weeks. Sometimes, I will get a settlement check within 7 days as the insurance companies are pretty efficient about closing a claim or file. Most insurance companies do want to enter into a pre-suit settlement if possible, so it is more than likely that your car accident case will settle before a lawsuit is filed.

My Training and Experience: How long does it take to get a settlement check?

I have more than 22 years of experience handling car accident cases and have a very good track record at getting car accident cases settled prior to a lawsuit being filed. I used to work for these very same insurance companies, defending them in lawsuits brought by injured car accident victims. I represented GEICO and State Farm at one time in my career so I know how to talk to and negotiate with the insurance companies. That puts me as your attorney in a very unique position (most car accident attorneys have not worked on the other side).

If you need to talk to me about this article or about how long does it take to get a settlement check, please feel free to call me at (970) 364-6830.