The short answer is 30 days. However, there are several facts to consider. We will address those in this article.
You were rear ended in Madison County, Illinois. You survived. The insurance company fought you for months and maybe even years, but finally, you prevailed. The insurance company offered you a settlement that would pay your medical bills, the damage to your vehicle, and because you hired a good injury lawyer, you even put money in your pocket. The gross settlement numbers are in and you are happy. How long is it going to take to get the lump sum payment in your hand?
I wish it were as easy as your injury law firm writing you a check, but this process is rarely that easy. First, your law firm has to pay off any and all lienholders. Lienholders can be medical providers or health insurance companies, including Medicare and Medicaid. If your lawyer is doing it right, he or she negotiated down the liens well in advance of a settlement. However, someone lienholders including Medicare are very difficult to get a hold of. Nonetheless, your lawyer must pay these lienholders prior to writing you a check. Let's assume that your lawyer was savvy enough to negotiate down the liens prior to reaching a settlement. The question remains how long will it take for you to get your money? There is a logistical issue of getting the check from the insurance company.
Second and what is normally the hold up, the insurance company drags its feet in issuing and mailing the check to your law firm. Luckily for you, Illinois has enacted a statute should you encounter an insurance company not paying after they agreed to do so.
It should take less in 30 days to get your check after signing a release. Why 30 days? In Illinois there's a law known as the Settlement Act. The Settlement Act requires the at-fault insurance company pay you your settlement within 30 days of you providing a release. 735 ILCS 5/2-2301 is the citation. The insurance company does not pay within 30 days of you providing the release then you will be entitled to Interest and fees and collecting the settlement. This means that you can make more money off of your settlement. I provided the relevant language from the settlement act below.
Because many insurance companies are national companies, they are unaware of this specific law that Illinois has applied to settlements of personal injury claims. While the goal of any injury lawyer is always to put the lump sum in your pocket as quickly as possible, it's nice to know there is remedy should you encounter an insurance adjuster who is not willing to timely pay the settlement.
In our Resources page, we have provided you the actual statute for reference.