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How Long Does it Take to Get a Settlement Check from a Class Action Lawsuit?
June 27, 2022
How Long Does it Take to Get A Settlement check from A Lawsuit?

It Can Take Longer Than You Think to Get Your Settlement Check

Some online estimates indicate you should expect to receive a settlement check from a class action lawsuit in six to eight months, but in our experience, this is rarely the case. The truth is, the time it takes to pay out depends a great deal on the size of the settlement and the ability of the defendant to pay. It also depends on the type of entity: as an example, if you won a class action lawsuit against certain government entities or municipalities, it could take decades to receive a payment as they are allowed to prioritize who they pay and when. The court can’t bankrupt a city to pay lawsuit settlements as this could hamper the city’s ability to maintain operations for its citizens.

Just to give you an idea of how long it can take to get a settlement check from a class action lawsuit: In 2020 USC (the University of Southern California) settled a class action lawsuit related to the sexual assault of students by one of its employees. It was one of the largest class action lawsuits ever settled.

man looking at watch waiting for his class action lawsuit settlement check

But, because of the massive amount of money the university had to pay out, the university was allowed to break up the distribution into two payments. The first payment went out nearly six months after the settlement agreement was reached. The second payment – won’t go out until August of this year (2022), which will be over eighteen months since the case settled.

Eighteen months seems like a long time, right? But compared to the infamous BP Oil Spill class action lawsuit eighteen months was pretty fast. The BP Oil Spill happened in April of 2010, and there are still people who are waiting for compensation (although not too many now) to this day. People waited years to receive any money from the BP Oil Spill settlement.

Who Does the Class Action Lawsuit Settlement Check Go To?

Usually, the settlement check from a class action lawsuit is sent to the attorney of record who handled the case. It is then their responsibility to distribute the funds accordingly. This process can take a few days or a few weeks. You have to remember that in a class action lawsuit there may be hundreds or even thousands of plaintiffs to distribute money to. Also, there are expert witnesses to pay, other lawyers who participated, etc. All of this takes time to accomplish.

Liens Against Your Settlement Can Slow Things Down or Take the Money

Because your settlement award is considered an asset, just like your car or house, any liens you have outstanding in your name must be settled prior to receiving your funds.

As an example – if you have outstanding medical bills, you might have a medical lien against your settlement. If this is the case, the medical facility receives their money first, and you will receive any money left over (if there is any).

Child Support example: If you are in arrears on your child support, a lien may be issued against your settlement to pay off your back child support. If the amount you owe exceeds the amount of your settlement award, you might not get a check at all after the settlement.

Unnecessary Delays in Receiving Settlement Funds

  • Update Your Contact Information – One thing we encourage you to do is make certain that if you are involved in a class action lawsuit, the attorney of record has your updated contact information. Class action lawsuits can drag on for years, and you might forget you were involved in it. During that time, you might relocate, change phone numbers, or change bank accounts. If the attorney of record has to find you, contact you, and verify that it is you, all of this takes time and causes delays.
  • Update Bank Account Information – Many class action lawsuits distribute funds by ACH – meaning they deposit the money directly into your bank account upon receiving funds. If you change bank accounts, which people do all of the time, make sure you update the attorney of record, or it might take them a long time to locate you and for you to receive your money.
  • Release Forms – Release forms not being signed is another way your funds might be delayed. Technology is helping out a great deal with this, as you can often sign your release form online as part of the process of being admitted to the class. But most companies are not going to pay you until your release form is signed, so make certain that it is.

The bottom line is, don’t make it hard to find you. As of March 2021, $700 million dollars of funds were turned over to the treasurer of the State of Louisiana from the BP Oil Spill Lawsuit – this is money that people are owed, who probably didn’t update their contact information and couldn’t be found by the attorney of record in the case and the money is just sitting there waiting to be claimed. One person is owed $68,000 in that case, but they don’t know how to contact them so the money is just sitting in the state treasury waiting to be claimed.

How to Get Money While You Wait to Receive a Settlement Check from a Class Action Lawsuit

Did you know there is an easy way to get some of your money now while you wait to receive your check from a class action lawsuit? You can. It is easy to receive an advance on your settlement check if you are part of a class action lawsuit that has been settled but hasn’t paid out yet.

A lot of things can happen in a person’s life while they are waiting for a check from a class action lawsuit settlement. You could have medical bills piling up. You may have lost your ability to work. You might need to relocate to find new work, or need new skills training in a new occupation. While a class action lawsuit proceeds slowly through the system, your life goes on, often with great difficulty and at great expense.

Get Some of Your Money Fast

This is where post settlement funding for class action lawsuits can help. If you are part of a class action lawsuit, and the case has been settled, and you are just waiting to receive your funds, you can work with a company like Balanced Bridge Funding and get money right away (for a fee). In the industry, this is known as a “settlement advance.”

How a Settlement Advance for Class Action Lawsuits Works

Let us explain how a settlement advance works. Let’s say Mary is going to receive $100,000 as part of a class action lawsuit settlement at some point, but she wants to take out a settlement advance now on part of the $100,000.

Infographic describing how settlement advance of class action lawsuits works

This is a fictitious example of how settlement funding for class action lawsuits works:

$100,000 – This is the amount Mary is owed from the class action lawsuit settlement. Distribution will be in two payments. The first payment will be in ten months. The second payment will be in 36 months. The money owed from a class action lawsuit is considered an asset (like a stock or bond) and it can be sold to someone else for an agreed price.

$50,000 – This is the amount of settlement advance Mary wants to receive and use now.

$45,000 – This is the amount of money that Mary receives right away from Balanced Bridge Funding because she agrees to sell $50,000 of her class action lawsuit settlement to Balanced Bridge Funding for the price of $45,000. Balanced Bridge Funding now owns the right to $50,000 of Mary’s class action lawsuit settlement. Essentially, Balanced Bridge gets paid to wait for the settlement money to be distributed.

$5,000 – This is the amount of money Balanced Bridge Funding makes for advancing Mary $45,000. Balanced Bridge Funding bought the asset from Mary for $45,000 and will receive $50,000 from the settlement attorney of record when the settlement is paid, earning Balanced Bridge Funding $5,000.

To recap:

$45,000 Advance Mary received from Balanced Bridge Funding

+ $50,000 Mary will receive when the settlement finally pays out

= $95,000 This is the total amount Mary will receive from the class action lawsuit

NOTE: This information is a fictional example for the purpose of explaining how post settlement funding for class action lawsuits works and does not reflect the rates or fees charged for post settlement funding as each case is different.

Is Post Settlement Funding for Class Action Lawsuits a Loan?

A settlement advance for class action lawsuits is not a loan. When you receive a settlement advance, the legal funding company does not loan you money. The money you are owed from a class action lawsuit is considered an asset (like a stock or bond). And just like any other asset you own (like a stock, bond, or your car or house); you can sell it to someone else for an agreed price.

Using the example from the infographic above, this person agreed to sell $50,000 of their class action lawsuit settlement for the price of $45,000. The settlement advance company now OWNS the right to $50,000 of the class action lawsuit settlement and will receive their money directly from the settlement. They bought the asset from you for $45,000 and will receive $50,000 from the settlement attorney of record when the settlement is paid, earning the legal funding company $5,000.

Who pays the settlement advance company back?

Remember, this isn’t a loan. As a settlement advance company, we purchase the asset from you, and then we own it. You do not have to pay us back; instead, we notify the attorney of record of our ownership of a portion of your settlement award, and when the class action lawsuit settlement pays out, the attorney of record will pay us directly. There is nothing for you to do.

How much of my Class Action Lawsuit Settlement can I sell to receive an advance?

The answer is, it depends. In most cases, you will be able to sell a large portion of your class action lawsuit settlement. But you will not normally be able to sell 100% of it.

What can I spend my Class Action Lawsuit Post Settlement Funding Advance on?

The good news is, there are no restrictions as to what you can spend your money on once you receive a post settlement advance from Balanced Bridge Funding. It is your money. You can spend it on medical bills, education, relocation, or a new car if you want to. It is no different than any other money you have in your bank account. It is yours to spend however you see fit.

Remember, unlike a loan, which may have a great deal of restrictions and guidelines as far as what you can spend the loan money on, this is not a loan. We purchase your class action lawsuit settlement from you. If you sold a car, the money from that sale is yours. Selling part of your class action lawsuit settlement is no different than selling a car or a house – once you’ve sold it, the proceeds from the sale are yours and you can do whatever you want with it.

Do I have to pay taxes on my class action lawsuit settlement?

We cannot answer this question for you as an individual, but many types of settlements you receive are considered income by the IRS and are 100% taxable. This is not always the case, however. There are types of settlements that could be exempt from taxation. You should consult with your attorney and CPA to make sure you pay your taxes properly on any settlement money you receive.

Do I have to pay taxes on my post settlement funding advance?

Again, we cannot give you any advice personally, but generally, yes, you will. You are selling an asset, and when you sell an asset of any kind, whether it is a stock, bond, or home, you can expect to pay taxes on all, or a portion, of the amount of the sale. You should consult with your attorney and/or CPA to understand the tax consequences of selling your lawsuit settlement to a lawsuit financing company like Balanced Bridge Funding.

About a Post Settlement Advance with Balanced Bridge Funding

A Class Action Settlement Advance is a Non-Recourse Transaction: We Accept All the Risk

Class Action Lawsuit funding is a non-recourse transaction. This means you don’t need to worry about what might happen if the defendant suddenly can’t pay your settlement award — we accept all risk of non-payment, meaning that you will still get to keep the money from your settlement advance if the defendant goes bankrupt or is unable to pay for whatever reason.

Fast, Hassle Free Application

In most cases, we can get your money in your hands in one week or less. Our application is simple, straightforward, and easy to complete. Remember, this isn’t a loan, so there isn’t as much paperwork to go through. In most cases, we can approve your application and have your money deposited into your checking account in a matter of days.

Class Action Lawsuit Funding: If you think our post settlement funding solution could be the right fit for you, please call one of our legal funding specialists at 267-457-4540 or to apply online, simply CLICK HERE and fill out our quick form application.

Balanced Bridge Funding In the Media

Why Wait?

When you need money to pay the bills, see a doctor, grow your firm, or cover case cost expenses, the last thing you want to hear is “wait.” We offer a range of customized funding solutions so you never have to wait.