South Carolina law often requires a number of steps between a case settling and money being "disbursed." It is an attorney's responsibility to make sure an injured client receives her money in a timely manner. In some instances, obtaining the settlement check requires a lawyer to continue applying pressure on the insurance defense team by way of phone calls, emails, and letters. If the other side refuses to honor the agreement, a Motion to Enforce the settlement may be required. Put differently, we may have to call upon the court to order the other side to cut a check for the agreed upon amount.
In other situations, "liens" may have to be finalized and paid before you can receive your settlement funds. If you have Medicaid, Medicare, Tricare, or private insurance, expect a delay between the time you sign your settlement check and when you receive your money. No matter how much work your attorney performs, sometimes we are all at the will of the government, and the government rarely moves as quickly as we would like.
There have been instances where I settle an accident-related case, the client signs the check, yet several weeks go by before the health insurer informs us of the lien amount. When this happens, we must withhold enough money to repay any lien they assert. Thus, a lawyer must work diligently to maximize your recovery, get your funds to you as quickly as possible, and honor all repayment obligations.
This article should not discourage anyone from seeking justice after an accident. I would much rather fight Medicare or a health insurer over liens than allow a violation of our community’s safety rules to go unaddressed. And while the wheels of justice may turn slow, it is only through seeking justice that these wheels move at all. My job is to help truly injured people in South Carolina receive fair settlements and verdicts. If you have any questions concerning your case, I encourage you to request free copies of my books and call us for a free consultation at 803-790-2800.