After being injured in an accident, you may have a few options available to seek compensation for your injuries. If you agree to a settlement, you may be wondering when you will receive the compensation you need to pay for medical bills and other expenses.
There are a number of factors that can influence when a victim will receive a settlement payment. If you were injured in an accident and are concerned about a settlement, you should consult with an experienced Dundalk personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras today at (410) 694-7291 to speak with our Maryland personal injury lawyers and receive your free case assessment.
How Long Could It Take to Receive Settlement Money from a Maryland Lawsuit?
Once you’ve submitted a claim to your insurance company or the responsible party’s insurer, you can expect a prompt response. However, it’s important to note that according to Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art.§ 5-401.1(b), insurance companies are legally prohibited from initiating settlement negotiations with an injured individual until at least 15 days have passed since the injury occurred. This includes any attempts to obtain a release of liability signature. During the first 15 days, an insurance company should only contact you to acknowledge your claim and provide you with the necessary documentation, such as proof of loss forms.
Usually, claimants can anticipate a response within a few weeks. However, it is typical for insurance companies to offer a low settlement initially. If both parties aim to avoid litigation, this negotiation phase can be resolved promptly and fairly. The process could take longer since it is possible that certain insurance companies may engage in bad faith practices to prolong the claims process. They may purposely communicate inadequately with the claimant or coerce them into admitting fault for their injuries in an effort to deny or reduce the claim amount.
When pursuing compensation from a negligent party through a lawsuit, negotiations with the insurance company will likely be prolonged. In the event that a settlement is agreed upon during negotiations, the matter will be resolved, and negotiations will cease. However, if negotiations are unsuccessful and a settlement cannot be reached, taking the case to trial will be necessary to ensure fair compensation is recovered.
Factors that Can Affect How Long It Takes to Receive a Settlement Check After a Lawsuit
After filing a personal injury lawsuit, you may decide that it would be more appropriate to settle with the defendant rather than continue the case. Settling can limit the amount of money a victim has to pay for court fees, attorney fees, and many other expenses associated with litigating a case. A plaintiff can also run into some issues when settling with a defendant.
However, there are a number of factors that can affect how quickly a plaintiff receives money from a settlement. The following is a list of common causes that could delay a settlement check in Maryland:
Insurance Company Slow in Processing the Settlement
To approve the terms of a settlement, a plaintiff must sign a settlement release form. the settlement release form must then be processed by the insurance company. Ordinarily, the processing of a settlement release form would take about six weeks. However, if an insurance company does not promptly process the form, a plaintiff could be waiting for months.
In some cases, the insurance claim adjuster responsible for your case may not process your claim immediately for a number of reasons. For example, if the claim adjuster for your case has taken a vacation or is working on a plethora of cases, this could affect how long it takes to process your claim. Calling the insurance company or asking your attorney to contact the company may help expedite the settlement.
An Insurance Company’s Bad Faith Conduct
In some cases, insurance companies might engage in bad faith practices, such as unreasonably delaying the settlement process or offering lowball settlement amounts. If you suspect that an insurance company is engaging in bad faith conduct that delays the settlement process, you have options to hold them accountable. First, you could file a complaint with Maryland’s Insurance Administration. This can result in an investigation of the company and potentially lead to corrective action before needing to take legal action.
If that does not work, you can file a lawsuit against the insurance company for bad faith. If successful, you could recover punitive damages as a form of punishment for the insurance company’s bad faith practices.
You Are Still Receiving Treatment
If you are still undergoing medical treatment for your injuries, it will take longer to reach a settlement for your claim. This is because it is important to determine the complete extent of your damages before settling so as not to undervalue your claim. Until treatment is completed, an exact total for medical expenses cannot be determined.
Delays Due to Natural Disasters
Natural disasters often cause insurance companies to become overwhelmed with cases. Each claim adjuster may have to deal with dozens of cases at a time, which could hinder their ability to perform their duties.
For example, the coronavirus pandemic could make it difficult for an insurance company to timely investigate and process all claims filed by policyholders. As a result, a victim waiting on a settlement from a car accident may have to wait for several weeks before their claim is approved.
Liens Filed Against Your Settlement Proceeds
After the settlement check has been sent to your employer, they are required to place the money in escrow. At this point, if there are any liens placed against your insurance settlement, they must be deducted before the funds can be distributed to you.
There are various types of liens that could be placed on your insurance settlement. For example, if you have extensive medical bills that occurred due to the accident, a medical lien could be placed on your settlement proceeds.
Under some circumstances, your attorney could engage in negotiations with creditors to avoid having a substantial amount of your settlement go to liens. This could also affect how long a plaintiff has to wait for their settlement.
Additionally, your attorney will also deduct their fees and other costs from the settlement money. the fees taken by your attorney will depend on the terms of the representation agreement. Attorney fees typically do not exceed 33% of a plaintiff’s settlement proceeds. However, this fee is often lower.
How Long After Your Deposition Does It Take to Get a Settlement Check?
Like most answers to how long the settlement process will take, the answer to how long after a deposition you will receive a check is it depends. A deposition is where the parties on both sides of the case are questioned by opposing counsel under oath. This means the answers to these questions can be used as evidence in court, even if the person who answered the questions is not present for the trial.
After a deposition, it’s important for both parties to review the transcripts to confirm their accuracy and completeness. This can be a time-consuming process that typically lasts anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. In some cases, it might be necessary to conduct more investigation or engage in further negotiations based on the information gathered during the deposition. This could potentially lengthen the settlement timeline depending on what needs further investigation. For instance, other liable parties could have been mentioned during the deposition, or previously unknown evidence is revealed. If the parties cannot reach a settlement through negotiation, they may opt for mediation or arbitration, which can add several weeks or months to the process.
Can a Settlement Offer Be Rescinded in Maryland?
When it comes to settlement offers, they work like any other contract negotiation. This means that an offer is not considered accepted until both parties have reached an agreement and some form of consideration has been exchanged. This agreement typically requires the insurance company to pay out a claim in exchange for being released from any legal liability related to the incident. If you decline an offer or make a counteroffer, the insurance company’s initial settlement offer will be considered rejected. Typically, once an insurance company has made a settlement offer, they will not retract it.
In Maryland, the law recognizes that injury victims may feel compelled to quickly settle their cases after being injured. To address this, Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art.§ 5-401.1(a) allows victims to cancel a settlement offer they previously accepted within 60 days of signing the release. This option is available if they signed the release within 30 days of their accident without the guidance of an attorney.
Thus, it is possible for you to cancel a settlement agreement by informing the insurance company in writing about your intention to do so and returning any settlement checks that you received as a result of signing the release. The moment you send your notice and repayment through the mail, your settlement agreement will be deemed revoked.
Contact Our Experienced Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer Today
To schedule a free case review with our Baltimore personal injury attorneys, contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.