Is there a time limit to settlements?

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Is there a time limit to settlements?

It’s been over a month since signed the settlement paperwork for an accident involving my vehicle. The at-fault driver’s insurance acknoledged they recieved the settlement and have made excuses as to why I’ve not been paid up until this point. No lawyers were involved.

Asked on April 21, 2017 under Accident Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, there is no specific or hard-and-fast time limit in the law for when they have to pay out an agreed-to settlement, other than the statute of limitations for contracts (since a settlement agreement is a contract), which is 6 years in your state: that is, you cannot enforce the settlement more than 6 years after it is signed. When you feel that too much time has gone past and you believe they are not going to pay, your recourse would  be to sue them for "breach of contract" to force them to pay--but don't wait longer than 6 years to do this. 
At over a month, it is right to start getting concerned; if not paid (or you don't have a firm committment to when you will be paid) after two months, that's when you start considering taking action.
For future reference: you should make sure that settlement agreements have a time period stated within them for payment; if the agreement indicates when they must pay, then once they pass that time, you can take action to enforce. That way, you will have a firm deadline to work with.


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