How long after the case is settled until you get paid?

We recently received a phone call from a nice guy who has a fairly reputable attorney that appears to have gone off the deep end.  His case was settled in December and he still hasn't been paid.

There is not set rule for how long an insurance company has to pay a settlement or Arbitrator's award, but generally speaking, once 30 days have passed it becomes an issue.  Usually at 60 days if you haven't been paid then you can probably get penalties and fees against the insurance company which means that you would likely receive 50% more for your case.

For some reason, our caller's attorney told him that it could be up to six months before the check is received.  Huh?  If I didn't know the attorney who was helping him I would have been worried that his money was stolen, but it's still bizarre.  To make matters worse, the lawyer apparently isn't returning his calls.  That is certainly a sign of a problem.

Don't be afraid to ask your lawyer about these issues before you sign settlement contracts.  And if you are having trouble getting your check, hold their feet to the fire.

We are workers' compensation attorneys that help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys.  Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

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Comments (22) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
steve simpson - October 5, 2010 8:31 PM

my wife injured her back on the job.she had 1 surgery to shve the bone on a nerve.that didnt help so she had pins and rods put in.she still lives with pain daily and doctor said she was at mmi.he said at her age 51 she is considered permantly disabled.she has no college behind her.well the attorney for insurance company offered 175k and 90k for set aside she turned it down and a month later they offered 225k and 90k for set aside and she accepted their offer.that was march 7 2010.it is now october 5 2010.we have not seen any papers to sign.our attorney said they can take as long as they want.we have asked our attorney to go in front of the the judge and nudge them to have papers to sign.he told us a judge cannot give a lump sum judgement.can they stall forever?i think we should be entitle to penalties and fines.we are debating hiring another attorney but we would still have to pay our attorney and then another attorney.we just dont understand how insurance attorney offer was accepted the just stall and stall.sure would apprieciate any advice you could give.feel free to email me anytime.

Mike Helfand - October 6, 2010 8:25 AM

You can't file for penalties unless benefits are wrongfully not paid. If I was your lawyer I'd file a motion for trial and at the same time prepare settlement contracts and send them to opposing counsel. I don't know of any lawyer that would take over at this point. If they don't pay the settlement then just get your benefits at trial.

Lova Sidwell - October 23, 2010 3:59 PM

I'm fixing to have surgery on my shoulder for an impingement on 10/19/2010. I am wondering if i need a lawyer to make sure i am treated fare thoughout this whole proccess.I have been injured since Feb. and they had exausted everthing to try to opt out surgery, but this is what it has came to. They have treated me good so far but just want to make sure things don't get ugly after this. And is there an amount paid for my injuries after this if all done and over with automaticly? How long after i am released do they have to settle with me? If something goes wrong who do i go to? These are a few questions i have that is why i wanted to know about getting a lawyer. During my process of dr. apptments, a workman comp nurse came down from chicago to go to the appointments with me, but never did this with anyone else that was injured through work??

judy - September 11, 2011 10:56 PM

We did not sign a settlement check for I do not agree and the lawyer is saying we agree on the phone, we agree on that amount not knowing we would be stuck with medical bills and we knew we had to pay his fee, so in return he would get pay more than I would receive after I pay the medical bills, He said If i Do not sign it will cause a conflict with him and he will take me to court to force me to pay him ? And I would have to pay for court cost ect ?? Is this Normal ? I have a permanent injury , Can I get another Lawyer, This one is scaring me , he is not nice either,

WE REPLY: In order for there to be a settlement check that means you signed a settlement agreement. Seems like it's too late and yes he could take you to court. Either way, I don't think a lawyer in the world is going to step in to a mess like this.

Deedre - August 2, 2012 3:04 PM

My case has been settled and my weekly checks have stopped my attorny does not know about when im getting my settlement check so they say the insurance company said my last check which when asked the amount it was my settlement amount mailed to my lawyers office on the 27 th of july it takes 3 to 4 dayes for my check to get here from there office why havent I got it yet I called my attorney and let them know what I know and they paused and told me that they would call me back when they see whats going on and I havent got that phone call yet is it aganist the law for them to hold my money?It's been a week and a half.

Mike Helfand - August 2, 2012 3:35 PM

I think you are over analyzing this. Sometimes the insurance company orders a check, but it doesn't go out for a few days because they don't write a check, they enter it in to a computer and someone in another state likely has to sign it. Once your lawyer gets the check they have to deposit it in to their own account, wait for it to clear and then write you a new check. You are probably worried about nothing and will likely have your money in a week to ten days.

David - October 2, 2012 2:09 PM

My workman comp settlement offer is done. Signed the paperwork and it has been in the hands of the party responsible for paying me for 10 days. This took 6 months, how long will it take to receive my check.

WE REPLY: Within 30 days of it being approved by an Arbitrator is typical.

Chris - October 17, 2012 11:26 AM

My husband injured both shoulders at work, he is a nurse, there was a broken bed and a lift was needed for a patient. He tore both rotator cuff(full thickness) and lost his biceps tendon. First surgery was 6 weeks off, 4 months rehab. Second surgery was 6 weeks off, 6 months rehab. Work comp denied from beginning but husband was able to work light duty. This has been a 4 year process, because he needed to bank up EIB to take the time off for each surgery. After 1st surgery WC ofered a small settlement, which we denied for both shoulders. Our insurance paid for each surgery and his personal extended illness time paid while he was in an imobilizer. He was medically released May 2nd. We do have a lawyer but I'm afraid he may not be doing enough. All we have heard is that the attorney for ins.Co. says that they will figure a settlement. Our last call date was 10-4, our attorney again said he "talked to them" and they will send settlemet. Then it was "they had too many cases an will get to it next round" next round when? 90 days? He says we would be smart not to take it to arbitration...what do you think so far? Almost 6 months from medical release, and still waiting to hear?

WE REPLY: A lot of this is odd, but it's hard to know for sure without talking to you. Please call me at (312) 346-5578 or e-mail your number so we can discuss the case in confidence.

Chris - December 28, 2012 8:57 AM

I signed my settlement over a month ago and the w/c insurance company said that an attorney would be contacting me to sign the additional paperwork before it gets approved by a judge. How long does this process take? I don't see why it would take this long to get this whole situation sorted out. Is there a timeframe from the date that i signed and returned the settlement offer in which the insurance company has to get the settlement completed? What would the timeframe be before the insurance company could start to accumulate fees?

Mike Helfand - December 28, 2012 9:07 AM

Sounds like you went at this alone. The process doesn't take this long normally, but since no contract has been approved by an Arbitrator, there are no fees that can be assessed against the insurance company.

What was your injury and what did they offer you for a settlement percentage wise? We've seen a lot of insurance companies low balling workers badly for accidents after the new laws were put in place.

Tina - June 22, 2013 8:14 AM

My attorney worked with the opposing sides attorney and came to a settlement that we agreed on. This was done four weeks, three days shy of 5 weeks, ago and we have yet to receive the contract agreed upon. My attorney originally told me that it could take about a week to receive the contract. I contacted my attorney and asked if it isn't received by the final decision date of the judge what happens then, he stated once an agreement has been reached the judge no longer reviews the case so the judge will not make a decision from the trial at this point. My attorney did put in a couple of calls last week the the opposing attorney with no return calls. How long does it typically take for the contract to be received? I don't feel I should have to keep calling my attorney for status updates since he is getting paid such a good chunk to handle the case. Do I give it more time or make a another not so pleased phone call to my attorney? I did call him 3 days ago and no return call as of yet.

WE REPLY: It shouldn't take this long. Your lawyer should prepare the contracts himself or file a trial motion ASAP.

Rachel - November 20, 2013 8:50 AM

I talked to my Lawyer Monday early afternoon we agreed on the settlement and my case is wrapped up im only waiting for the Insurance company to send the check to my Lawyer then im going to my Lawyers Office to pick it up. How long will it be ? Im in a big bind with my gas bill at home i have two choldren and now we have to stay with my parents until i get the money to get my gas back on . All we wanna do is go back home be comfortable and be a family once again. Im so tired of crying and im worrying myself sick !

Mike Helfand - November 20, 2013 8:58 AM

Rachel,
It's really a better question for your lawyer, but you are probably 60 days away. Settlement contracts need to be prepared and signed by everyone. Then they need to be submitted to the Arbitrator. After that the insurance company has around 30 days to pay although it's usually quicker. But once your attorney gets the check, it often takes 7-10 days to clear before he can write you a check.

Good luck with everything.

Mike

caroline - February 25, 2014 2:19 PM

I been out of work as of may 6 2013 due to left shoulder injury at work.my lawyer and doctor went to court as of 8/13/13 and we won.the hospital want to settle.why I couldn't I got workers comp in the time being.because I know waiting for a settlement ckeck is a long time.I have so much pain from my neck down to my finger tips.my doctor said I got a lot of nerved damage.is that worth anything ? Didn't hear anything about when I get my settlement yet.hope you can help me.thank you

WE REPLY: What you are saying makes no sense. Why would you settle if you aren't done with your medical care?

chinita - April 21, 2014 12:07 PM

I got injured at work from a slip and fall my lawyer been fighting my case since September 2011 and I got hurt on may 11-2011 had surgery on my right knee February 6 2012 and a baker cyst in the back of my left knee my workers compensation stop in September 18 4 months after I got hurt and hes not even trying to get my workers compensation back going all im getting from my lawyer is that the insurance company keep saying every time I call him its not work related they not given me an offer my lawyer never calls me back im doing all the calling he keep telling me bad things never nothing good about my case he can't even tell me how much he trying to settle for. I believe that the insurance company paid my lawyer not to finish my case its been two years and 4months and he cant even tell me what really going on with my case can you please tell me what can I do about this problem

WE REPLY: 1. No way your lawyer is bought off. That doesn't happen. It's just lazy lawyering. 2. Fire him and get new representation which shouldn't be hard if there is no settlement offer yet.

larry - May 22, 2014 12:06 PM

I had a slip and fall in 2012.I had surgery in 2013 then sent for an IME by my job in Jan, 2014. We have not received the report my attorney has called multiply times and still nothing.I called the doctor's office they sent me too and was told that i could not get the report, because my job insurance paid for it. I don't understand how they can do that.My doctor is asking for the report also. How long can they hold a report? or is my lawyer not doing his part to get it?

WE REPLY: Your lawyer should subpoena the report and/or file a trial motion if your benefits have been delayed.

mary - May 29, 2014 8:25 PM

Please help me.
I have so many questions and no answers, my workers comp case is over two years. I call my lawyers office the only answer I get is that they are waiting for the neutral doctor, to decide, I had surgery on my right shoulder, but the surgeon sent me to work doing the same work that injured me before,now the tendon is torn again (full thickness tear). plus five herniated disks on my lower back, they say IAm going to need a second surgery on my right shoulder again, what I need is my benefits,I alredy ran out of state disability, I have been without a paycheck for over one year, I am losing my house and unable to pay my bills, and unable to work! I am losing my mind, is there anything I can do.

WE REPLY: There seems to be no reason why your lawyer isn't going to trial on this case. You should push for that to happen.

Kaila - June 19, 2014 10:54 AM

Hi, I hurt my back at work back in March of 2013. I tried everything I could to avoid surgery but last week I finally had to have it. I have been off of work since April 18, 2014 and still have not received a check. It has been two months and I am really struggling financially because of this. Every time I call my lawyer he says that workman's comp is playing games with him and of course workman's comp wont talk to me because I have a lawyer. What should I do? I just need to get paid.

WE REPLY: I am curious as to whether or not your lawyer has filed a 19b motion and petition for penalties and fees? If not you have the wrong lawyer.

Toni - July 6, 2014 10:41 PM

Please advice me I 2009 I was hit and ran over I found an Attorney, in 2012 we settled for full amount, when we settled he told me I have to let him hold on to 5000 of the money just in case one of the Docs that treated me sued me.I know that I have know out of pocket other than my deductible of $2000. I paid that at settlement its been long enough and we need the money how do I tell him I want my money and is that normal. HELP

WE REPLY: I've NEVER seen that happen in a workers' compensation case. You need to demand that money today and/or report him to iardc.org. I don't have all of the facts of course, but it sounds like theft or very bad lawyering.

jeff - July 12, 2014 9:04 PM

I am currently out of work in April 2010 I had my first surgery,I was hurt on accident by another employer dropping a 100 lbs. pin from an escavator on my foot I am suposedly on wrkmans comp still but have not recieved a ck since may 2014,I also had another surgery on the same foot because it was not fusing in Dec.2013 and they had to take a skin graph from my leg.I am recieving therapy and am awaiting an approval from workman's comp.so that I get a second oppinion from another doctor,my dr. now actually refferd me so they can see if I am at mmi yet....my foot still hurts and my daily activities are limited, our attorney is hard to reach and says he cannot do much until doctor decieds ive reached mmi, so we are struggling to make ends meet. can you please give me some advice on what to do please?

WE REPLY: What exactly is your lawyer getting paid for when the case is over? March down to his office and try to work it out or switch lawyers.

Tony - July 18, 2014 12:46 AM

I was hurt 2010, I have a small disc portursion\herniated disc. wk.comp. only paid me for 4months. and I have not received have not any more payments after that. they disagreed with the medical evaluation that they sent me to. I have not received any payments ever since 2010. They do pay for my doctors visits once a month. All they do is give me med's and more med's. Will I get any back pay for this? I do have a attorney .He just say I have to wait it out. what do you think? I'm in Sonoma California , please help need advise

WE REPLY: We aren't licensed in CA, but in Illinois this would be ridiculous and we'd have gotten the case to trial long ago.

CE CE BLAKE - July 30, 2014 6:36 PM

SIGNED SETTLEMENT PAPERS ON JULY 10 2014.....STILL NO CHECK.....WHATS TAKING SO LONG....

WE REPLY: It's a question for whoever your lawyer is, but three weeks is not a long time as the contracts have to be signed by the defense attorney and submitted to the Arbitrator for approval.

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