What should you expect now that your bodily injury case has settled? Expect to wait at least thirty (30) days before you receive payment from a settlement.
The insurance company for the defendant/at-fault driver will draft a formal settlement agreement and release following a verbal agreement or by letter or email. A verbal agreement to settle does not constitute a binding settlement as all settlements to be binding must be in writing. Usually this occurs within the same day as a verbal agreement, as the parties typically email (writing) confirmation of what they agreed to orally.
The formal settlement and release will be sent to your attorney by letter (or email), sometimes with a settlement check, but usually without payment. The client will then need to sign the release (often in front of a notary). Once the release is returned to the insurance company, its accounting department will be notified to issue a check which takes 2-3 days.
The check will be issued in your name and in the name of your attorney’s law firm. It issued in this manner because the insurers understand that the law firm must pay all lienholders, costs and fees before distributing payment to the client.
Once payment arrives, the law firm must deposit it into their trust account (an account law firms are required to maintain on behalf of their clients). The firm cannot issue payment until the check clears. The State Bar of Arizona recommends law firms wait at least ten (10 days) before issuing payment to clients.
Once the check clears, the client will be issued payment. While this process may be shorter or longer depending on the insurance company and its accounting and legal departments, the process of issuing payment to the client typically takes at least thirty (30) days from the initial settlement.