If you've been offered a settlement or been granted one through trial, the defendant in your personal injury case probably has liability insurance. You'll receive your money faster if you and the defendant have agreed upon a settlement. If you've won a settlement through a trial, you might have to wait until the appeals process plays out before you receive your settlement check. This process could take several years

Receiving your settlement is not the only part of resolving your personal injury case. There are several steps to the personal injury case process that take place after the settlement amount has been determined:

The release

The most important legal document that must be prepared after a personal injury case is settled is the release. This is a document that the defendant's attorney will prepare. In the release, the settlement terms are laid out. After it is prepared, the release is sent to the plaintiff's attorney to be approved. 

A release can be long and full of legal terminology that usually must be explained to the plaintiff by his or her attorney. The plaintiff's attorney may have some objections to the release. If there are concerns, the attorney will bring them up and the defense attorney may need to revise the document. 

Once the release is deemed acceptable, it must be signed by the plaintiff. A notary public generally has to be present for the signing. The plaintiff should read over the document carefully with his or her attorney to make sure that all of the terms of the settlement are understood. 

Dealing with liens

In some cases, liens must be dealt with as part of resolving a settlement. If there are any parties that have a lien on a settlement, the plaintiff will need to pay them off before being able to access the settlement money. A lien is a right to an individual's assets that is the result of a past debt. Common liens that affect a personal injury settlement include government liens and medical liens. 

How does the appeals process work?

In cases where a settlement is awarded by trial, the defendant will probably appeal. If the defendant decides to do so, they will submit the appeal to an appellate court which can then decide to either uphold the previous decision, reverse it, or send the case to trial again. 

In some cases, the plaintiff can in turn appeal the appellate court decision if the trial decision is reversed. The case then could potentially be tried again in a state supreme court. This makes the appeals process very long and drawn out, so plaintiffs should hope that the appellate court upholds the trial decision if the defendant in the case decides to appeal.

To learn more, contact a company like Kirkpatrick & Zeitz with any questions or concerns you have.