If you suffer a personal injury in any type of accident in New Mexico, you could be eligible to receive financial recovery from one or more at-fault parties. New Mexico is a fault, or tort, state. The party that caused your accident will be financially responsible for repaying your medical expenses, property damage repairs, lost wages and more. The amount of time it may take to receive a settlement check for your accident-related damages will depend on your unique case.
Filing an Insurance Claim
The first step toward obtaining a personal injury settlement is filing your claim with the correct insurance company. You will bring your claim with the insurer of the person or entity responsible for causing your accident and/or injuries. This party could be a person, company, the government, a property owner or a product manufacturer. The insurance company that receives your initial damage claim will have a limited amount of time in which to issue a response – typically 30 days.
The insurance company’s response to your claim will likely come in the form of a phone call from an insurance claims adjuster. A claims adjuster is someone assigned to your case to review it and determine if you are eligible for financial recovery. An adjuster may ask you questions about your accident and request a recorded statement. This statement is something the adjuster could use against you later. If you agree, stick to the facts of your case and do not admit any fault for your injuries. Politely decline if you do not feel comfortable recording a statement.
If the claims adjuster concludes you have a valid claim, offers a settlement and you accept, you can expect your final settlement check within a week or two. You may have to pay a deductible before receiving the check if you filed with your own insurance provider. In general, insurance companies aim to resolve injury claims within 30 days. You can expect a resolution – either a settlement offer or a denial – within 30 days of filing your insurance claim in most cases. More complicated claims, however, may take longer.
Insurance Settlements vs. Trials
An insurance settlement can take one to three months on average to complete in New Mexico. Different insurance companies have different protocols that may affect this timeline. If your case has to go to trial, however, do not expect a check for several months. A personal injury trial takes much longer on average than an insurance settlement. A trial involves processes such as subpoenaing witnesses, hiring experts, drafting statements, picking a jury and going through the trial itself. An injury trial could take a year or longer to complete.
You or your personal injury attorney may file a personal injury lawsuit after a serious accident if the insurance company is not handling your claim fairly. If the insurer is refuting liability or refusing to offer a reasonable settlement award, your lawyer may need to take your case to court. The timeline of an injury trial will depend largely on when the courts schedule your hearing. Hiring an accident attorney in Albuquerque from the beginning of your injury case can help you expedite the process as much as possible.
Speeding Up the Claims Process
The process of receiving an injury settlement cannot begin until you file your insurance claim. Doing so right away can start your case immediately. Then it will be up to the insurance company to investigate, request more information and try to resolve your case. If the insurance company cannot do so within 30 days, it must give you a valid reason as to why it needs more time.
Without a reason to delay your claim, you could have an insurance bad faith situation. A lawyer can make the claims process more efficient by handling complex paperwork and conversations with claims adjusters on your behalf. If your lawyer suspects the insurer is guilty of bad faith, he or she can start the litigation process right away.