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My car accident claim has settled. What can I expect now to get payment and get the case closed?

There are several items on the task list once the two parties have struck an agreement.  First, a list of all lienholders and other payees should be prepared along with the amount they are due (this should already be done so as to save time).  Second, they should be notified of the settlement if they haven’t been already to negotiate the lowest amount possible to resolve their payment.

If Medicaid or Medicare is involved as a payee, they should already have been contacted.  If they are not, you can expect some time-consuming tasks and some extensive waiting.  It takes an excruciatingly long time to deal with Medicare and Medicaid.

Second, you should provide drafting instructions to the insurance company or their Little Rock car accident attorney regarding how the check should be issued.  If there are lienholders, they may attempt or require to have them listed on the check.  And, of course, if an attorney is involved, the attorney’s firm will be listed on the check.

Final Accounting

Third, you should prepare an accounting as to how the settlement proceeds will be distributed.  In addition to the lienholders and other payees, you should include any court costs and attorney’s fees as set out by the terms of the attorney-client contract.

Fourth, the closing documents should be prepared to close out the claim with the insurance company and the court.  Normally, as defense attorneys bill by the hour, they will agree to draft (1) the Release or Compromise Settlement Agreement, (2) the Joint Motion to Dismiss, and (3) the Order of Dismissal with Prejudice that is to be signed by the presiding judge.


The Release (along with the Order of Dismissal) will formally and finally resolve any claim you have against the person who caused the accident.  Once this is signed, you will not be able to go back and ask for more money, even if other injuries or complications arise in the future that you could not have known about at the time you sign the Release.  This will fully discharge them from further payments or obligations in connection with this case.

Funds deposited into the firm’s trust account

Fifth, once the check arrives, it should be endorsed by all parties, and it will then be deposited into the attorney’s trust account.  Depending upon the bank, the check may not clear until the bank confirms that the funds have been released from the other bank.  When negotiating very large checks, this is routine.  Even then, attorneys have had problems with the check not clearing for 10-14 days, even if the bank shows the funds to be “available” by the bank on the same day it was deposited.  Even if short, this can be a very frustrating wait, particularly when everyone is awaiting payment, and you’ve been out of money for a long period of time due to the injuries you sustained in the wreck.  It may require some patience, which is understandably difficult after all the waiting up to this point.  However, if all of this is done efficiently with most of the work being performed prior to settlement, this can be a quick process.

For these reasons, it is imperative to hire a veteran litigator and experienced trial lawyer who has been involved in the settlement of claims for years.