I have recently filmed a video for Facebook and Instagram explaining when you can expect to receive your money in an auto accident or workers’ compensation claim when your case is settled. I have outlined the four time frames for receiving your settlement money and I want to let you know that any settlement monies you receive are tax-free and are not reported as income. The only exception is punitive damages which are extremely rare in Florida.
1. The first way you settle an auto case is in pre-suit directly with the insurance company adjuster.
After you have completed treatment and reached maximum medical improvement, your treating physician will have generated a narrative letter describing to me your injuries, work restrictions and future medical costs.
I then create a demand letter which is sent to the insurance company adjuster with all the pertinent medical records, medical bills and evidence of lost wages. I also address your pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life and demand a certain amount of money. I typically give them 20 days to respond and most cases settle within 30 days after my demand is sent.
The check and release are delivered to my office and deposited in the Florida Bar Trust Account and you will have your money within 10 to 15 days.
2. The second way your case is settled is if I have filed a lawsuit in Circuit Court and another lawyer is involved, as well as a Circuit Court Judge.
When a settlement is reached, various documents have to be drafted including voluntary dismissals and releases which could take one to two weeks. These documents are filed with the Circuit Judge whose enters an order dismissing the case and the checks are then sent.
Once my law office receives the checks, they are put into the Florida Bar Trust Account and typically need ten days to clear. Therefore, a case that is in suit will take approximately 20 to 40 days to get the money in your pocket.
1. The first way you settle a workers’ compensation case is by me negotiating on the telephone with opposing counsel or insurance company adjuster.
The difference between auto accidents and workers’ compensation is that if you accept the money with me verbally, then it is a binding settlement subject to a motion to enforce settlement. In an auto accident, the case is not settled until you have signed the release.
After reaching a verbal settlement, the Employer/Carrier will have their attorneys draft washout paperwork. Once signed by all parties, the motion for attorney’s fees has to be approved by the Judge of Compensation Claims. This whole process takes between 20 and 40 days to get the money to you after you agree to a verbal settlement.
2. The second way you settle a workers’ compensation case is at a State or private mediation.
These mediations are a gathering of all relevant parties to see if there is a compromise that can be reached on any outstanding issue or a lump sum settlement to close out the case. If the settlement is reached, a mediation report is generated which everyone will sign that is binding and final.
As with the verbal settlement mentioned above, settlement paperwork needs to be drafted and sent to my office and returned to opposing counsel’s office. The opposing counsel then files it with the Judge of Compensation Claims and it gets approved. This process also takes between 20 and 40 days from the date the mediation agreement is signed.
Receiving Your Settlement
Receiving a settlement for your case should be handled with care. We never want to see someone get a large check from their case and spend it unwisely. For that reason we do recommend getting with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney. They can help you avoid probate, plan for taxes, protect your settlement using wills’ trusts, LLC’s and more. Additionally, calling a financial advisor and good certified public accountant is recommend.
I hope you found the above information relevant and interesting. If you have any questions about an accident whether it is on the job or in a car wreck, please contact me or email me directly at email@example.com.