Q: My husband has a SC workers comp claim which was approved for settlement on March 20, 2018.
He was sent a letter from his lawyer stating he would receive a settlement check in 3-4 weeks. It is going on 9 weeks and now emails and calls to the lawyer are unanswered. What do we do now? He thought he did the right thing hiring a lawyer but now he feels as if he is being avoided. Where do we go from here? Is there a time frame or limit that he should have this settlement? Who do we contact if we still get no response from the lawyer?
A: It can take anywhere from a few days to a month. I am not sure what is taking 2 months....it certainly could happen. Obviously, you need to talk to your attorney. I am sure if you call your attorneys' office and let them know that you are "confused" about where your money is, you will get a response. If you do not get a response, perhaps you could call one of us on AVVO and see if we can assist.
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A: There is no set time frame or limit. Once a claim is settled, the time it takes to officially conclude the case varies. I find the average is about 10 days to 3 or 4 weeks from the date that the settlement is reached/agreed to, however, some cases do take much longer. There are many variables. Once a settlement is reached, the insurance company adjuster has to send certain paperwork and check to their lawyer. The insurance company lawyer then has to then draft the settlement documents and send everything to your husband's lawyer. Your husband's lawyer has to have your husband sign everything. Then, the settlement documents have to be sent to the Commission. If the insurance company lawyer signed the documents before sending them, your husband's lawyer will send them to the Commission. But, often, the settlement documents have to first go back to the insurance company lawyer first for that lawyer's signature because they were sent unsigned by that lawyer, and, then that insurance company lawyer sends them to the Commission. Once the documents are received by the Commission, your husband's portion of the settlement funds can be paid to him, provided the settlement check was sent to your husband's lawyer along with the settlement documents. Some insurance companies will not send a check until after the settlement documents are received by the Commission, so that is an additional wait. Whenever it is received, the settlement check has to go in your husband's lawyer's trust account and your husband's portion of the funds are paid out of his lawyer's trust account. As you can see, this is a process that can take quite a bit of time and much of it is out of the hands of your husband's lawyer. I'm not sure exactly where your husband is in the settlement process so it is not possible to know if the delay is something unusual. Certainly, your husband should be able to get an explanation from his lawyer. If your husband can not get an answer from the lawyer, it may help to contact the Workers' Compensation Commission and ask for assistance.
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