Resolving Your Claim: How Funds are Distributed Post Settlement or Verdict
By Attorney, Alex Heritier
So, you have finally come to the conclusion of your litigation journey. What happens now? There are several steps that any good attorney should take on your behalf to ensure that you receive every single dollar owed to you, and that no surprises come along at a later date.
First– A lawyer should always speak to you prior to the final resolution of your case to discuss what the applicable liens or claims against your judgement or settlement would be. (What is a lien?) Claims on your recovery may belong to entities such as banks, medical providers, insurance providers, prior attorneys or any other outstanding debt related to your injury or loss. Once a final judgement or settlement is determined and all lien holders are accounted for, a good attorney will communicate with those lien holders’ to ensure that you owe as little as possible to these third party claimants and that you do not have any outstanding bills following your recovery.
Next– The attorney should indicate where each and every single dollar that has been earned through the litigation process is to go. A final settlement statement should indicate the amount of attorney fees, the amount of the necessary expenses that were deducted from the settlement or judgment and the amount being given to each and every lien holder or claimant on the judgment. Necessary expenses include things like experts, travel expenses and court filing fees. A settlement statement should also indicate what your final recovery will be (how much money you will receive). Once this final settlement statement is signed, a check should be issued to you in your name only. This check may be deposited into your accounts or used as you wish.
Remember– From this point forward, all claims against the judgment or against you should be resolved. However, under certain circumstances, there may exist future potential claims against the recovery, such as medical bills, that have not yet been processed through your medical coverage. Any such potential claims should be disclosed to you by your attorney prior to ending their representation of you because, typically, any claim that arises once the checks are issued will need to be paid from the funds that you received.
The litigation process has substantial cost involved with it, but an attorney who has the necessary expertise will be able to ensure you are left with a meaningful recovery to accomplish the goals you set from at start of the litigation.