Settling your personal injury case during mediation can be exciting. You can finally put the traumatic experience behind you and move forward with your life. However, after mediation settlement, you don’t just immediately leave with a check. Some things need to happen first.
You must resolve various aspects of your case before closing it out and collecting your agreed-upon settlement money. Your personal injury lawyer can guide you through each step and handle the legalities of the complex process.
What Happens If You Reach An Agreement During Mediation
The steps below will occur if you reach an agreement during mediation:
- Sign the agreement – You and the opposing party must sign the settlement agreement to make your arrangement official. You should discuss the terms included in the agreement with your attorney first. Ask questions and address issues you have. You shouldn’t sign a contract without understanding every element it contains.
- Pay fees – You must pay mediation fees. The mediator charges a specific amount that you and the defendant can split. Typically, each party pays an equal share of mediation costs. If your lawyer works on contingency, they will cover the fee until they resolve your case.
- Sign the release – You must also sign a release from the insurance company. The terms commonly involve agreeing to the compensation discussed and not pursuing additional legal action against the liable party.
- Receive the check – The insurance company will issue a check once they complete the necessary tasks on its end. However, the insurer doesn’t mail the check to you. They will send it to your attorney to deposit in a trust account while your lawyer settles any outstanding liens and takes their legal fees and other costs.
- Disburse funds – Your lawyer will disburse the remaining funds after paying the case-related expenses you owe. They might require you to sign a form or provide you with a copy of all fees and costs they used part of your check to pay.
- Filed report – Typically, the plaintiff’s attorney files the settlement agreement with the court. The judge will review and approve it.
- Request a dismissal – Once the judge signs off on the agreement, your lawyer can file a request to dismiss the case. The judge will sign a dismissal order closing out the legal matter. At that time, you have nothing else to do with the case.
Read more: Is Mediation Legally Binding?
How Long After Mediation Will I Get My Money?
Multiple factors can influence how long it takes to receive your settlement check. The process should take about six weeks but could take more or less time, depending on the insurance company’s efforts and the claim size. Sometimes, the amount of expenses a plaintiff has will increase the duration because the lawyer must disburse a portion of the check to medical providers and other parties.
Common factors contributing to the period between settling a case during mediation and receiving the settlement check include:
- Processing the release – The insurance carrier will process it after you sign it. The time it takes to complete this step depends on the company’s size. Larger well-known insurers use streamlined procedures to close out cases. However, if you’re working with a smaller insurance company, it might take more time.
- Paying expenses – Your lawyer will deposit your check in their firm’s account. They must review outstanding accident-related bills and pay them with your settlement funds. Sometimes, lawyers can negotiate a lower amount with medical providers. Negotiations might take time, causing you to wait longer to receive your check. They must also confirm whether there are any liens on your account. Some doctors agree to hold off on billing accident victims until the case ends. The lawyer can pay those doctors with the money from the settlement check.
- Pay legal fees – Your attorney must also use part of your settlement to pay their legal fees and costs. During personal injury cases, lawyers who work on contingency pay for everything to prevent clients from paying upfront. They cover court-related costs, filing fees, mediation bills, and other case-related expenses. When the case settles, they can take their cut of the proceeds and disburse the remaining amount to you.
Read more: How Long Mediation Takes In A Lawsuit
Injured in an Accident? Contact The Benton Law Firm Today
The Benton Law Firm has a proven track record of success. Our award-winning team has received recognition from multiple organizations, including the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. We also hold a 10.0 Superb rating from Avvo, the highest possible rating a lawyer can receive.
You can count on us to protect your rights during your personal injury case, and we will guide you through every step. We’ll oversee the legal process to prevent unnecessary delays. You will have a dedicated and experienced team in your corner fighting for you.
Read more: When Is Mediation Not A Good Idea?