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How Long Does it Take for an Insurance Company to Settle a Claim?

Posted in Insurance Companies

Dealing with the trauma, physical pain, phone calls, insurance claims process and property damages of an accident can be overwhelming. What you want the most during this difficult time may be to move forward with the compensation you need from the at-fault party. You may be counting down the days to the completion of your claim. With help from an Albuquerque personal injury attorney, you can resolve your claim as quickly and efficiently as possible. Your timeline, however, can depend on several factors.

How long does it take for an insurance company to settle a claim?

Fast Settlement: 30 Days

If your car crash or other accident only gave you minor injuries and the other party is not disputing fault, you could settle your insurance claim in as little as 30 days. This could be the case if you immediately report the accident to the insurance company, it does not delay in accepting your claim and you agree to the settlement amount proposed. Most insurance companies make it a goal to settle claims within 30 days. A fast settlement may not, however, end in the best possible results for you.

Average Settlement: 3 Months

Under New Mexico law, insurance companies technically have 60 days before they must decide on claims. Sixty days is the maximum amount of time an insurer has to settle a claim without facing fines and penalties. To delay your claim further, the insurance company must submit an official request for more time with a valid reason, such as the need for further investigation. Depending on the complexity of the case, severity of your injuries and how quickly the insurance company responds, you may have to wait three months or more to reach a settlement.

Although it may be tempting to rush into a settlement agreement and get a fast check, this might not be in your best interest. Many claimants benefit from mediation and negotiations with the insurance provider before settling. Negotiations with the insurance company could lead to a better amount for your damages, especially if you suffered serious or debilitating personal injuries. Hire an attorney to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Many insurers will offer better settlements the moment they hear the client has hired a lawyer to avoid going to court. While negotiations may make your settlement take longer, you could receive a much better award in the end.

Court Judgment Award: 1 Year or More

If the insurance company fails to match what you or your attorney believe your losses are worth, you may need to proceed to a personal injury trial for fair compensation. The litigation process may be worthwhile if you suffered catastrophic injuries, will live with a disability for the rest of your life, lost a family member or if the insurer is treating your claim in bad faith. Going to trial will put your case – and your compensatory award – in the hands of a judge or jury. Hire an attorney to build and present a strong claim to damages on your behalf. Then, focus on your future while your lawyer handles the trial process.

An accident trial can take a year or longer to complete. In this time, your attorney may be able to front the costs of your medical treatments and legal fees, so you are not paying out of pocket. Solutions such as subrogation through your own insurance companies may be available. If the jury rules in your favor, you could receive a much greater amount than you would have gotten through an insurance settlement. Part of your judgment award will go to your insurance companies, bill collectors and attorneys. Then, you will receive a check for the remaining sum. Working with an experienced New Mexico personal injury lawyer could help you choose the right route for top results, as well as expedite the legal process as much as possible.