The settlement process of a car accident claim can take anywhere from a month to more than a year to complete, but various factors relevant to your case can influence the processing period. Knowing the odds will help you take the guesswork out of waiting for your settlement check.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Insurance settlements from auto accidents may take awhile to occur. The length of time depends on the insurer, the type of claim and the extent of the damages.
Reputation of Insurer
Insurance companies have different reputations when it comes to processing claims. Some insurance firms deliberately maintain a reputation for fast and easy claims processing while some prefer to be known for taking their time. Some insurance companies can drag their feet when it comes to releasing a check after a settlement has been made, while others try their best to avoid delays.
Opting for an Early Settlement
Early settlement is probably the fastest way to get some cash from your insurance company, but this method can prove disadvantageous to you in the long run. Insurance companies often try to settle your liability claim quickly by estimating your damages and offering you a check to close your claim. You may be tempted to grab the opportunity right away and get the problem over with, but doing so means you don't have any future claims should you require further treatment.
Type of Claim
Physical damage claims are normally processed within a short period of time. Different states have different provisions when it comes to the settlement period for physical damage claims. Some states require insurers to settle such claims within 30 to 45 days. Settlement checks for these type of claims are usually paid right after an adjuster inspects your car.
Liability claims take much longer to settle than physical damage claims. Since liability claims are typically paid in a single lump-sum, all expenses must be collected before a settlement can be made. In case you are injured in the accident, you may be required to complete medical treatment before seeing payment.
Using a Lawyer
Your lawyer's ability to negotiate an acceptable settlement with your insurer also plays a major factor in speeding up your claim. The claims process can be a long and winding one, but a good lawyer knows how to stay on top of the situation. Your lawyer must make sure all requirements are punctually submitted and no time is wasted. An experienced auto accident lawyer can help you to get the money you need to cover your costs in the shortest possible time, while an inexperienced one can cause you unnecessary delays.
Raul Avenir has been writing for various websites since 2009, authoring numerous articles concentrated on business and technology. He is a technically inclined businessman experienced in construction and real estate development. Aside from being an accountant, Avenir is also a business consultant. He graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science in business administration.