Hi, I’m Roger Ghai and I wanted to talk to you today a little bit about a question that I get quite frequently every week from a client as to when I get my check. The first step in getting your settlement check, if the case is settled, is number one, we have to settle the case. The important part is that the lawyer, attorney, he or she cannot settle your case without your permission. The first step would be for the lawyer to go ahead and send you a breakdown of the proposed settlement. If you agree to that, then you’ll either have to sign off by an electronic form or old fashioned handwritten note, “Yes, I agree to the settlement.” The procedure then is that the insurance company will send usually two or three documents to the law firm. One document is the check, of course. The second one would be the Release.
Now, the Release means that you’re getting money from the other insurance company and in return for you receiving that money that you agree not to sue their insured. That is you agree not to sue the other driver. The other document frequently that we will get when we settle a case is what we call an Indemnification Agreement and that means this, if you have outstanding hospital bills, liens, a medical provider that you owe, that you agree that when you settle your case that you will personally… And that’s mostly done through the office of the attorney, that those bills will be paid from the settlement.
Oftentimes, along with getting the check and the Release, the question arises, “Do I have to settle my case?” No. The answer is that you do not have to settle your case. You do not have to accept any offer from the insurance company, but you should rely on the advice of your hopefully competent, respected advisor and counselor to make a determination as to whether the offer the insurance company has given you is a good one, is a fair one, is going to justly compensate you or whether you need to just flat out reject the offer and perhaps file a lawsuit.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call my off office at 770-792-1000.