A settlement is a check given to you by an insurance company to pay for your injuries and losses after an accident, such as a car accident. By accepting the check, you agree to end the lawsuit and give up your right to hold the defendant further liable for the same accident or injury. Although each case is unique, most follow similar timelines that can give you an idea of what to expect from yours. Many factors unique to your case, however, can impact how long it will take to get a settlement after you send your demand letter.
What Is the Demand Letter?
The sooner you send your demand letter, the sooner you can initiate the insurance claims process. The demand letter is the initial letter you or your lawyer send to the insurance company in charge of your claim. It is the first attempt to resolve a dispute by requesting a specific amount of money to settle the case. A lawyer can help you draft a succinct and effective demand letter that accurately estimates the value of your claim.
Texas Requirements for How Soon Insurance Companies Must Respond to Claims
There are state laws in place to increase the efficiency of the insurance system. These laws include deadlines all insurance companies in Texas must comply with when handling and responding to submitted claims. In Texas, an insurance company must acknowledge a claim within 15 days of its receipt. This means you will receive an initial letter or email from the insurance company stating that it received your claim or demand letter within two weeks.
Then, the insurance company has the right to request information, documentation and evidence from you to inform its investigation. You and your attorney can submit all of the necessary paperwork together to make sure you don’t miss anything important. Then, the insurance company has 15 days from the date it receives all of the necessary paperwork to decide whether to accept or reject the claim.
Once an insurance company decides to accept a claim and offer financial benefits, it must mail a settlement check within five business days. Thus, for the most part, an insurance company in Texas must pay out a claim it accepts within 35 days. However, this timeline can be extended if the insurance company needs more time to conduct its investigation. In this case, the insurance company may request 45 days to investigate, if it has sufficient grounds to do so.
Factors That Could Lengthen the Timeline
There is no set timeline that applies to every insurance claim; it varies on a case-by-case basis. Some claims are paid out within one to three months, while others take six months or longer to resolve. Other cases can take years if they have to go to trial. Factors that can make a settlement take longer include:
- A liability dispute
- Multiple defendants
- The comparative negligence defense
- Mistakes made on the paperwork
- Missing information
- The insurance company handling many claims at once
- Lengthy settlement negotiations
- Insurance company bad faith
- A wrongfully denied claim
- Your case going to court
The length of time it takes for your insurance claim to settle depends on many different factors that are unique to your case. It may be possible to speed up your timeline, however, with help from a personal injury lawyer in Dallas.
How to Speed Up Your Settlement
A personal injury lawyer will have all of the tools, resources and experience to make your insurance claim proceed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Your lawyer could shorten your timeline by communicating with the insurance company on your behalf. This will prevent common mistakes, such as missing information on the paperwork. Your lawyer will also ensure that you do not rush into a fast settlement that devalues your injuries and losses.
A lawyer can shorten a settlement timeline while protecting your legal rights. Contact us to learn more about how a lawyer can help with your case.