Accident victims always have the right to recover compensation from the party or parties that caused the collision, but the process can seem opaque and complicated. Insurance adjusters may purposely keep you in the dark because they can use misunderstandings as leverage against you. Don't take what they say as the complete truth. If you want to know how long a car insurance claim takes to settle, here is what you can expect regarding the timeline and resolution.
How Long Does a Car Insurance Claim Take to Settle on Average?
Knowing the average time to settle an auto accident claim doesn't mean much when it comes to what you should expect out of yours, but it can be a helpful reference. Some cases are concluded in a matter of months, while others last several years. Yours could fall anywhere along that spectrum depending on the insurer's willingness to work with you.
What you should know are the deadlines constraining the process:
- 10 days: The amount of time an insurance company has to acknowledge your claim and send you instructions
- 15 days: After receiving your paperwork, the insurer must make a decision within three weeks
- 30 days: If your claim is approved, you must receive the final payment on or before 30 business days pass
How Long do Insurance Companies Have to Accept or Deny an Auto Insurance Claim?
However, a back-and-forth with the insurance company can last for months if they deny your claim or choose to dispute elements of it. Therefore, your claim may not be resolved within the initial 55 business days allotted to the insurer. Each time you submit new information, the insurance company is allowed 15 more business days to review it. A savvy insurance adjuster can use this to continually delay your claim.
The other important number to know is the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit for your injuries. Rhode Island's statute of limitations is 3 years from the date of the accident. If an insurer doesn't want to settle, they may try to drag the case out past this deadline. This would leave you unable to recover the compensation you need. Our attorneys can keep the pressure on the insurer and take the necessary steps to file your lawsuit, so this does not happen to you.
How Working with a Lawyer May Affect the Timeline
While a lawyer's impact on the timeline of your case will vary depending on the situation, their involvement will make you more likely to receive better results. A good attorney will ask you about your needs, financial and otherwise, and talk about what will—and won't—work for you. Of course, we can't control how long the insurance company takes to make a deal with us, but once we know your expectations, we can discuss your options and plan a strategy.
If you've already received a settlement offer, working with an attorney might extend your claim. Any auto accident lawyer worth their salt will tell you not to accept the first offer because you can likely recover a lot more. If you're considering saying yes to the first offer because you're struggling financially, we may be able to help—more on that later. So, while working with our team would result in your claim taking longer than a few days, it could also result in a higher payout. The average car accident settlement timeline will often be shorter with an experienced car crash attorney at Karns & Kerrison vs another car accident law firm.
For anyone who does not plan to take the initial settlement offer, having an attorney on your side may actually expedite your claim. We've handled thousands of car accident cases, so we know what needs to be done, and when. Our team can handle the tedious paperwork and gather evidence for you. We know the most efficient ways to pursue compensation. Our accident lawyers also have the time to follow up when the insurance adjuster tries to wear you down with delay tactics.
Sometimes, having a strong law firm like Karns & Kerrison on your side will convince an insurer to play fair. Facing a successful team of trial lawyers tends to make insurance adjusters less sure of their ability to prevail if a claim goes to court. When we can use our reputation to negotiate fair settlements for our clients, the process often goes faster than it might if another firm was taking the lead.
If I Need Money Now, Should I Just Settle?
Even if you are worried about the expenses that are already starting to add up, you should never let an insurance adjuster rush you into a settlement. They know how desperate accident victims often feel and will try to use this against you. However, even if they are giving you reasons you must settle right away, it's best to get an opinion from someone whose job isn't to negotiate the lowest settlement possible.
We understand most people don't have the financial cushion to handle medical bills, especially when they're temporarily out of work. However, hospitals understand car accident victims don't always receive their insurance payouts right away. They are prepared to accommodate your needs while you are working things out with an insurer.
Our attorneys can provide counsel and assistance, so you do not have to worry about medical bills. We have worked with many people in your exact situation, and know who to talk to and what to do. If you're not sure whether our help will be enough, our car crash lawyers are happy to provide more details in a free consultation.