Litigation can often be a long and painstaking process resulting in two parties who ultimately just want to see the dispute come to an end, and hopefully with a resolution that they are satisfied with. Indeed, perhaps as high as 97 percent of cases are resolved before trial. However, once a case is settled, the time between an initial agreement to settle and an injured party receiving money is almost never instantaneous.
First the attorneys must draft settlement documents. Depending on the complexity of the case, this can be anywhere from a page long to over thirty pages, and the exact language is important. While a plaintiff may not understand why her attorney is fighting with the defense attorney over what she may think trivial, the settlement agreement becomes a contract that will ultimately decide the entire resolution of the case and, in many cases, direct the parties’ actions in the future. Failure to adhere to the settlement agreement’s terms could lead to the case being reopened, a new action being brought, or a forfeiture of everything gained in the settlement. Therefore the specific language is essential to the parties’ security and the integrity and power of the settlement agreement itself.
Once the language of the settlement agreement is finalized and the parties all sign off on their agreement, assuming that the settlement results in one party paying money to another, there will likely be a waiting period for the funds to be delivered. However, even if the money is delivered to the injured party’s attorney immediately, the attorney cannot immediately release the money. The attorney must first ensure that the amount being forwarded to the client is correct and is being legally distributed.