Lake Mary, FL asked in Personal Injury and Legal Malpractice for Florida

Q: How long does my attorney have to pay me the share of the settlement in my case that was received?

They notified me two weeks ago that payment was received at their office and they would be sending me a check. We have already reviewed and signed a closing statement. We know how much money they are sending us. They have promised the check a week ago. Now I am getting excuses about their accountant not being available. How long legally can they keep my money without rendering payment?

2 Lawyer Answers
David Hughes Harris
David Hughes Harris
  • Venice, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: There is no set timetable, but it should be reasonable and done as soon as practicable and possible.

Settlement disbursement timing always depends on the circumstances. If there are liens (e.g. Medicare, Medicaid, private health insurance, etc.) or health provider balances (e.g. doctor(s), hospital, etc.) you want the attorney to pay, then all of these always add time because the liens and bills have to be negotiated and paid before money is paid to the client.

If there are no liens, bills/balances, or other creditor issues, then about 2 weeks, which includes check deposited into the lawyer's trust account (this is mandatory), funds clearing (2-3 business days depending on bank), and sitting down with you to review the closing statement (showing how the money is being distributed) for your approval, and then providing you your net recovery check.

There should be no problem or resistance in setting up a call or meeting as soon as possible to discuss your concerns. Every lawyer should be transparent about this closing process. Every lawyer is ethically bound to be honest in providing their services to you.

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing

A: Sometimes they have to figure out liens. Suggest you ask the paralegal or someone to call to explain the holdup.

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