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It is normal as the victim of a serious accident to be anxious about when you will receive a settlement check. You may be struggling with the costs of medical bills and property repairs while trying to focus on healing. Unfortunately, waiting for an insurance company to fulfill its duty is a common part of the claims process. Speak to an injury attorney in West Virginia for a timeline of your specific claim, as well as tips on how to expedite the process.
Many states have passed laws requiring insurance companies to respond to claims they receive within a certain period. In West Virginia, insurance companies must respond within a reasonable amount of time, although the state does not give a specific number of days. Most insurance companies have self-imposed deadlines of 30 days. If the insurance company needs more time than this, it will send a letter explaining the reason for the delay and asking for additional time to respond.
Responding to a demand letter is a complex process that takes time and attention from multiple parties within the insurance company. Instead of one staff member handling the insurance claim, a team of investigators, adjusters, inspectors and analysts work on a case. It takes time for each person to do his or her job, complete paperwork, and pass the claim to the next person. If one party takes too long or makes a mistake, it can prolong the response process. The response time for your claim could be as little as a few days or as long as multiple months depending on the situation.
Once the insurance company responds to a claim, it does not necessarily resolve the case. You have the chance to counteract the response with an offer of your own. If the insurer offers a settlement, you or your lawyer can respond with a higher amount to enter into negotiations. If the insurance company denies your claim, it may not mean the end of your case either. Your lawyer may have to take the claim to the courts in West Virginia for fair recovery instead. The average insurance settlement takes around 30 days for the claimant to receive payment, while a trial could take a year or longer.
An insurance claims adjuster is the person in charge of reviewing your claim and either denying or accepting your demands. In many cases, an insurance adjuster will need to come out and visit you in person to see the injuries, property destruction or vehicle damages in question. It is standard practice to receive a phone call from a claims adjuster within one to three days of filing the initial insurance claim. It could take an additional day or two for the claims adjuster to come out if he or she needs to look at the damage in person. You may be able to speed up this process after a car accident by taking your vehicle to an insurance-approved auto shop.
The timeline on a car insurance claim depends on the types of damages involved. Simple cases with minor property damage will generally take less time to resolve than complicated claims. A roadside assistance claim for towing expenses, for example, can take as little as eight business days to resolve. A claim involving a totaled vehicle and permanent disabilities, however, would most likely take closer to 30 days or longer to settle. Injury claims generally take the longest to complete.
Another factor that could affect how long your car accident case takes to settle is your paperwork. Omitting information, skipping sections, forgetting to include supporting documents, missing a deadline and making other mistakes could all significantly delay your claim. Work with an accident attorney in West Virginia for the fastest, easiest and most efficient claim-filing process possible.