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ClaimClinic: Settlement

Once you and the adjuster agree on a settlement amount, ask the adjuster to send you a letter confirming the settlement details.  You should send your own letter to the adjuster doing the same.  The whole finalization process, from agreement to getting your check, should take somewhere between 1-3 years.  You want to ask the adjuster:

  1. Whether they will be sending the check with the Release or whether they require a signed Release back in their possession before sending the check.  Most insurers dealing with claimants unrepresented by counsel want the Release back before sending the check.  Don’t worry about not getting your check right away.  You have a binding agreement/contract with the Insurer regarding your settlement terms.  If you don’t get the check within a week of sending the Release back, begin calling the adjuster for a status update.  The worst case scenario is you have to get your State’s Insurance Commissioner involved and possibly file a lawsuit to enforce the settlement.
  2. How long it usually takes their department to cut checks and get them out in the mail. Some insurers want to put your spouse’s name on the Release and settlement check.  The reason they want this is because your spouse could have a claim for “loss of consortium,” which basically means their damages for you being injured.  This includes such things as loss of enjoyment with their partner, loss of sexual relations, and having to perform housework the other spouse would normally take care of.  You can either acquiesce or be a stickler, telling the adjuster this is your claim and you only made a Demand on your behalf and not your spouse.  The only reason your spouse may not want to be included on the settlement is if he/she has a substantial claim in his/her own right.  For the vast majority of you, this simply won’t be the case.
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