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Don't Count Your Money Until the Check Clears

This is a saying I've developed over the nearly ten years I've been practicing law. It's especially true in the personal injury field. It means your truly cannot rest easy and know your case is over until you have actual cash in hand. Allow me to explain.

Personal injury accidents, such as car accidents, slip and falls, or even work-related accidents, can take big financial tolls on people. People who are hurt because of someone else's negligence are very anxious to resolve their claim so that they can use the money they get to alleviate their financial hardships.

But personal injury claims can take a long time to resolve. Things happen during a case that can cause an injured person to despair, such as if a claim is denied by an insurance company. Things can also happen that cause an injured person to rejoice, such as when a settlement offer is made. But good or bad, one cannot count on a personal injury case for financial relief until they actually have cash in hand.

Even if a negligent party or their insurance company agree to settle a case, or even if you get a verdict in your favor at trial, a lot can happen, and will happen, before the injured person gets any money. For example, when you settle a case, settlement documents need to be signed, checks need to be issued and deposited, the funds need to clear, and then net recovery checks need to be mailed out. This can take a long time.

For all of these reasons, and more, I've come to the conclusion that you cannot count on a personal injury case being truly resolved until the check clears. Yes, you can be happy if you come to a settlement agreement or if you get a jury verdict, but a lot can still happen after that. A case isn't over until the check clears.

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