My Case Is Settled From My Car Accident, Who Has My Check?

October 24, 2023

Midsection,Of,Judge,Hitting,Mallet,By,Cars,On,TableWhen you are involved in a motor vehicle accident and receive a settlement check, the process of receiving the payment may not be as straightforward as one might expect. If you have legal representation, the settlement check is typically made out to both you and your attorney jointly. In such cases, your attorney will ask you to sign a Power of Attorney, allowing them to deposit the check and subsequently issue two new checks. In this blog post, we will explore the reasons behind this process and answer the question of who exactly will have your settlement check.

Understanding the Joint Payee:

One might wonder why the settlement check is made out both to you, the victim, and your attorney. The main reason behind this is to ensure that the attorney’s fees are paid directly from the settlement amount. By making the check payable to both parties, it provides the attorney with the authority to endorse and deposit the funds on behalf of the client. Additionally, this encourages transparency in the financial transactions and provides a sense of accountability.

The Power of Attorney:

The Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives your attorney the authority to act on your behalf, specifically in financial matters related to the settlement. By signing this document, you grant your attorney the power to endorse and deposit the settlement check into a trust account held by their law firm. This allows them to manage the financial aspects of the settlement efficiently. It is important to note that the Power of Attorney does not grant your attorney the right to access any other aspect of your personal, legal, or financial affairs. Its scope is solely related to processing the settlement check.

Deposit and Disbursement Process:

Once your attorney has received the settlement check and you have signed the Power of Attorney, they will deposit the funds into their trust account. From there, the fund will be held securely until the attorney has properly disbursed the settlement amount. The disbursement process involves deducting any outstanding legal fees, medical expenses, or liens related to the accident. Once these deductions have been made, your attorney will issue two separate checks – one to cover their fees and another for the remaining settlement amount.

Attorney’s Fees and Costs:

As mentioned earlier, one of the deductions made from the settlement amount is the attorney’s fees. These fees are agreed upon between you and your attorney and are typically based on a percentage of the settlement award. It is important to review and discuss the terms of your attorney’s fees before signing any agreement. This ensures clarity regarding the financial implications of the settlement.

Receiving Your Portion:

After deducting the attorney’s fees and other related costs, your attorney will issue a check to you for the remaining settlement amount. This check will be made payable only to you, as the joint payee requirement is no longer necessary at this stage. Your attorney will then provide you with detailed information regarding the disbursement and any further steps you may need to take.

Timing and Communication:

The entire process of depositing the settlement check, deducting fees and costs, and issuing the final check may take some time. Your attorney will keep you informed and updated throughout the process, ensuring transparency and addressing any concerns or questions you may have. It is essential to maintain open communication with your attorney and promptly respond to any requests or inquiries during this period.


If you have legal representation following a motor vehicle accident settlement, the settlement check will generally be made out to both you and your attorney jointly. This joint payee arrangement allows for efficient management of the funds and ensures that the attorney’s fees are deducted directly from the settlement amount. By signing a Power of Attorney, you grant your attorney the authority to endorse and deposit the check, ultimately resulting in the issuance of two separate checks. One check covers the attorney’s fees, while the other is your portion of the settlement. Maintaining clear communication with your attorney during this process is crucial to ensure a smooth and timely disbursement of funds.

Got Questions? Let Us Help!

Welcome to The Law Offices of Max G. Arnold, Inc., where we proudly apply over 35 years of legal experience. After completing law school in just two and a half years, Max G. Arnold dove into personal injury law, determined to help those in need fight for their rights. He knows the best strategies to use to help personal injury victims win cases with integrity. The Law Offices of Max G. Arnold, Inc., now partnered with son Barrik Arnold and Brian Michael Pratt, tout a detailed understanding of all of the legal obstacles that you may face and uses their unique experience to help individuals get what they deserve. We have three offices in Chico, Redding, and Santa Rosa, California. Schedule an in-person case evaluation today.

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