When must the bank release my settlement funds?

by J.B.
(Sacramento, CA)

I won a personal injury settlement and the money is in the bank, but the bank will not release my funds. The bank said that they legally have 6 months to release my funds. How long do I really have to wait from the time the insurance check cleared? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "When must the bank release my settlement funds?":

J.B. (Sacramento, CA):

We checked California law and were unable to locate any law permitting a bank to withhold an individual's personal injury settlement award. That is - if the personal injury settlement check was made payable to you, and you alone, the bank should only be able to hold on to the check for a reasonable amount of time.

These days with the immediate flow of information over the Internet, holding your money for 5 - 7 days would probably be the maximum amount of time a bank should be able to hold your money.

On the other hand, if the check was made payable to you and a 3rd party there may be an issue of payout priorities the bank must deal with. If there were any medical or other liens existing at the time of the settlement and the bank has been put on notice of the liens, they may be holding the money to protect themselves from legal action if they release the funds before a legitimate lien holder was paid.

The best thing to do is consult with the personal injury attorney who represented you. If she hasn't already explained the reason for the hold, she should now.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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