How Long Does It Take To Get A Settlement Cheque After A Settlement is Reached?

Most personal injury cases are settled. In most cases, it will be an insurance company paying the settlement as most injury cases involve a situation where there is a liability insurance policy which covers the claim.

Once you have settled your personal injury case, you will be likely asked to sign a form called a “release” (sometimes called a “full and final release”) promising among other things never to sue over the accident again and acknowledging that the settlement is full and final. This is normal.

If you commenced legal action, you will be likely asked to consent to a court order dismissing your court action. This is normal.

There will be a waiting period after settlement is reached as the insurance adjuster will need to report to their superiors and requisition the settlement cheque. The insurance adjuster will then send the settlement cheque to their lawyer and their lawyer will send your lawyer the settlement cheque with a release for you to sign and likely a draft order and consent form dismissing your court action if one has been commenced.

Once your lawyer has received the settlement cheque, the cheque will be deposited into your lawyer’s trust account and usually, seven days are needed for the insurance cheque to clear. Your lawyer can then prepare his or her account and release the settlement funds to you after deducting their legal fees, disbursements and HST. At that time, your lawyer will provide you with your documents, a reporting letter, the account for legal services rendered and your settlement cheque.

Although all cases are different, the period of time it takes for all of the above to occur is about 30-45 days from the date the settlement is reached.

Here are some things to think about when settlement is reached:

  • Your lawyer will need to review the “release” the insurer wants you to sign. Sometimes there may be a dispute over the wording of the release and it may take some time for the lawyers to work out an agreement on what should be contained in the release. Insurers may want you to keep the settlement confidential and if there are confidentiality provisions contained in the release, your lawyer will need to explain to you what this means. When you are given a copy of the draft release, you should read it very carefully and ask your lawyer questions about anything you do not understand. Releases are final and they are legally binding contracts.
  • If an order dismissing your court action is required, documents must be prepared and submitted to the Court. There may be a short delay in the Court processing the documents.
  • Most banks require funds to be held for at least seven business days to make sure the cheque deposited has cleared and is not a fraudulent cheque. This is unfortunately a fact of banking and while the delay is frustrating, it is a necessary step in the process.
  • When you deposit your cheque, you can expect that your bank will not allow you to access the funds for at least seven business days as well. You can ask your lawyer to certify the cheque issued to you and this will reduce the waiting time for you to have access to your funds. There is usually a banking charge (ranging from $10-$25) for certifying cheques.

Our lawyers do all they can to make the final steps of your case easy and efficient. While there are necessary steps involved after a settlement is reached, you eventually receive compensation and can feel confident that your case was resolved amicably and no further litigation is needed.

Marc-Nicholas Quinn
Ottawa Accident Lawyer