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How long can a lawyer hold onto my settlement check?

Posted by Tom Cook

Lending Expert, Settlements and Claims

When a legal case is won, the lawyer has a legal and ethical duty to promptly distribute settlement funds to the client.

State-Specific Requirements

Different states have different laws and regulations regarding the handling of settlement funds. In California, for example, lawyers must deposit settlement funds into a special bank account called a "client trust account" and disburse them to the client within 10 days of receiving the funds. Other states may have different requirements.

Factors that affect timing

Sometimes there are reasons why your lawyer might not be able to give you your settlement check right away. For example, if there are other people who say they should get some of the settlement money, the lawyer might need to wait until that gets sorted out. Or, they might need permission from a judge before they can give you the money.

Communication Is Key

If there are any issues or disputes that arise during the distribution process, it's important to communicate with your lawyer and try to resolve them as soon as possible. Your lawyer should keep you updated on the status of your settlement check and answer any questions you have about the process.

What to Do if There's a Problem

If you think that your lawyer is improperly holding onto your settlement funds or not following the legal and ethical rules, you can file a complaint with the state bar association or seek legal remedies.

How to get settlement money early

You can often get a portion of your settlement early by getting a risk-free loan from against your settlement. Fill out a simple application and you can get cash within 24 hours. If you end up losing your case, you pay nothing. Big River Capital is a leading provider of this type of funding and often has the lowest rates. You can apply by clicking here.

The length of time that a lawyer can hold your settlement check will depend on a variety of factors, including the terms of your retainer agreement, the applicable laws and regulations in your jurisdiction, and any other issues that may arise during the distribution process. Your lawyer has a legal and ethical duty to distribute settlement funds to you promptly once they have received them from the opposing party. If you have any questions or concerns about your settlement check, it's important to communicate with your lawyer and understand your rights as a client.

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