Different cultures perceive the concept of time in different ways. For example, in some countries, the focus is on completing a task, not the amount of time that passes on a clock.
In the United States, where everyone seems incredibly busy, time is treated as a precious commodity. Punctuality is essential, and people monitor time very carefully. Americans often view time in economic terms. After all, how often have we heard someone say that “time is money.”
Thus, it is not surprising that it is pretty standard for personal injury litigants to ask how long it will take to receive a settlement check. But the question has its genesis in more than culture concerning time. People injured in accidents often miss work, lose their wages, and incur many expenses. Thus, it is understandable that they often need to receive their compensation sooner rather than later.
This article will discuss how long it takes to receive a settlement check in a personal injury action in Oregon. As you will learn from the discussion below, the timing can vary wildly depending on the circumstances of a particular case.
Settling the Case.
The first step is to settle the case. Some cases settle very quickly, within a few months, without even having to file a lawsuit. This can happen for many different reasons. For example, maybe the injuries are minor, and minimal medical treatment is needed. Or, instead, injuries are severe, but insurance coverage is minimal, and the insurance company is willing to pay its policy limits without a fight.
In other cases, when a court cannot settle the issue quickly, either party will file a lawsuit. Then, the parties engage in “discovery,” a process in which litigation rules allow the parties to obtain information from each other and third parties. Discovery usually takes at least six months, and often longer.
Some types of cases, such as medical malpractice and product liability, may require more investigation and the usage of more experts than other injury cases. That investigation can also be time-consuming. Another factor in the length of the case is the injury status of the plaintiff. If the victim is still receiving medical treatment, it may be wise to delay the completion of the case until everyone knows the extent of the injuries.
What Happens if the Case Does Not Settle During Discovery?
After discovery is completed, parties often engage in forms of alternative dispute resolution, especially mediation. This is a process where a third party, “neutral,” meets with the parties and tries to help them settle. Mediation has a good record of success.
What if the Case Still Doesn’t Settle?
On some occasions, the parties just cannot reach an agreement. Perhaps liability is at issue, or the parties just have too broad a difference in their beliefs about the case’s value. Sometimes, a jury trial is the only way to resolve the matter. Of course, this results in additional delay because the parties must now wait for the Court to schedule and conduct the trial.
What Happens When a Settlement is Reached?
Once the parties reach a settlement, which happens more often than not, paperwork must be prepared and completed. The plaintiff will sign documents releasing any further claims against the Defendant. There is usually an insurance company involved that will process the paperwork and issue a check. The check is mailed to the plaintiff’s attorney, who puts it into a trust account. When the settlement check clears, final checks are issued to the plaintiff and counsel.
This process occurs relatively quickly, within a few weeks on average. However, it can take a little longer, depending on the speed of the insurance company. Of course, other factors out of everyone’s control can affect the rate of the process. Examples include mistakes by the U.S. Post Office and delays by the bank holding the funds.
Summing up the Settlement Process
Some cases resolve amazingly quickly, within a few weeks. Others, which are complex and require a trial, can take years. However, once a settlement is reached, the paperwork can be handled relatively quickly, usually within a few weeks.
Call with Questions
If you have been injured in an accident, please call us with questions. We will answer them in a free consultation. The personal injury attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield have years of experience in multiple fields of personal injury lawsuits. We believe that it is vital to hold people responsible for their actions to make society can be made safer.