Once a case is settled and the insurance company has sent the check and release, the amount of time until disbursement can take place is dependent upon several factors.
First, the lawyer must determine the exact amount of all outstanding medical bills that must be paid out of the settlement. If the lawyer has issued a letter of protection or LOP, that lawyer has a legal obligation to pay the medical bill for that provider. The lawyer must contact each medical provider that provided services related to your accident and obtain the final bill amount in writing. Often the lawyer is able to negotiate reductions from various medical providers which increase the bottom line that the client will receive.
The lawyer also has an obligation to determine and confirm all subrogation liens. If any collateral source such as health insurance, medpay, medicare, or medicaid, has paid any of your medical bills, they have a legal right to be reimbursed under the legal theory of subrogation.
That theory says that you cannot be paid twice, ie; paid by liability insurance and also paid by health insurance or medicaid/medicare. Federal law applies to payments by medicare and due to the time frames built into the law, obtaining a lien from medicare can take many months.
Once all medical bills and subrogation liens have been confirmed by the lawyer, then a "final accounting" can be prepared summarizing the disbursements of the settlement and once that is completed the client can review and approve the final accounting. Clients should always receive a written final accounting at the conclusion of their personal injury case, and have the opportunity to sit down with their lawyer, to review and approve the final accounting. Only then can disbursements be made out of the personal injury settlement to the client.
Keep in mind that the lawyer does not get paid either until this process described above is completed. As such your lawyer is working as hard and as fast as they can to wrap up the details on your claim, complete your final accounting and issue the disbursement checks.
For more information or for a free consultation, contact Scott and Fenderson, PA Injury and Family Law Attorneys, by calling 727-321-0099 or view our web site www.scottandfenderson.com