Filing claims from insurance companies can be quite a nightmare. You must also know the claim process, including the timeframes and several insurance policies. How long can my claim take to settle in California? Will my claim end with positive results? After how long following my accident can I file a claim? Several queries but not a single satisfying answer.
If you’re filing a car accident claim, that makes things even trickier. Handling claims and receiving compensation can become a tedious challenge. It’s also daunting to address the issues with insurance companies, filing your claims, and going through the entire claim process.
Everything sounds complex. You need to focus on your or the victim’s mental and physical recovery while sorting out the matters of the claim process. Plus, you need to know the fundamental statutes relevant to your claim process, the role of insurance companies, and if you can achieve the benefits or not.
These are a few reasons why having a lawyer to guide you along the way can be a massive help. Personal injury lawyers can help reduce your burdens and increase your chances of receiving the best possible benefits out of the claims. In addition, they also remain in contact with the insurance companies to keep reminding them to speed up your claim process as well.
Knowing the basics about the procedure helps you at least understand where to begin and how to proceed further with your claim process. So, here is a quick session to discuss the essential pointers about insurance companies and your car accident claim process in California.
What Happens After An Accident?
California streets are unpredictable with their traffic. Car accidents are common occurrences during the day and night. If you or your loved ones get into an accident, the first thing is to call for help. You can call 911 and have an ambulance come to offer you the medical treatment you need.
You can also call the local police in critical accidents, hit and runs, car accidents due to robberies, etc. Then, suppose you aren’t heavily injured. In that case, you can collect the contact details and driver’s license number of the faulty party or every driver involved. You can also click pictures of the damage you, your loved one, or your car sustained due to the accident. Having evidence of the damages is a vital component of your claim process.
Of course, you need to report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days if the damage is more than $750,000. But if you have a personal injury lawyer, they can help you with the whole procedure.
How Long Do The Insurance Companies Take To Settle Your Claim?
The time for the settlement of the claim depends on insurance companies and the state you live in. Usually, your insurance company should take a month or so to resolve your claim. In some states, it may take even longer.
California is one of the most citizen-friendly states, so your insurance claims can be cleared and closed much quicker compared to several other states. Insurance companies must settle claims within 85 days of their filling date in California.
During these 85 days, the insurance firms have further time limits for acknowledging your claim and deciding if they will accept them or not. After the review, the insurance firms make their final decision- all that within the 85-day timeframe.
According to the Regulations for claim settlements, insurance companies must acknowledge claims within 15 days of receiving them. The insurers have 40 days to accept or dismiss the claims. They must then begin the investigation and pay the compensation benefits as decided in the settlement agreement within 30 days.
These are timeframes as stated in the California Code of Regulations. Official work settles to close the claims within a maximum of 85 days from the date you send the claim.
Factors That Delay Your Claim Process
As you proceed with your claim process, you must understand the factors and variables that may cause your hurdles. Ideally, no one wants to extend and delay their claim procedure, after all. Though, your lawyer will assist you even more effectively avoid these issues. You must still know beforehand about the everyday things that can delay your claim process.
Negotiations during claim settlement aren’t unusual. However, continuous negotiations can be time-consuming. As a result, you and the insurer spend more time reducing the compensation amount to be included in your settlement agreement.
As the lawyers of all victims continue to make the most out of the compensation benefits, the insurance company makes efforts to strike a settlement at lower amounts. That delays your claim procedure until every party comes to a mutual ground.
Disputes Over Faulty Party
Another issue is when there’s a disagreement about who the faulty driver was. There are risks that responsible drivers refuse to accept their mistakes and admit to their mistakes.
In addition, it may also not be clear about who the responsible party for the accident is in several situations. The disputes and confusion about the negligence of the faulty party prolong the claim process. It’s because insurance companies need to come to fair conclusions to settle such claims justly.
Going To The Court With A Lawsuit
After insurance companies pass their final verdict within 30 days of the claim, you have the right to accept or repeal the judgment. While most insurance claims settle in favor of claimants, you still may not be satisfied or think the deal is fair. After consulting with your lawyer, you can determine if you want to go to court or not.
Opting for legal action means that you now wait for your trial. The court becomes responsible for investigating your claim. There’s a discovery period after which the court can come to its final decisions. While legal action is your right, it does prolong your claim settlement process by an indefinite period.
How Severe Are Your Injuries?
Severe injuries delay the claim process. It’s because claimants must go through their complete medical treatments and submit all their medical expenses to the insurance company. This amount is hence, added to the compensation benefits of the claims.
So, yes, your claim amount increases, but so does the time it takes for the insurance firm to clear your claim. The more critical injuries you get, the lengthier your claim procedure gets. Bodily injuries need time to heal and be appropriately treated, after all.
In addition, even injuries like sprains mean that insurance companies need more time to investigate every medical treatment bill. Every injury or bodily damage thus extends your claim process.
Ways To Avoid Delays In Your Claim Process
While circumstances may feel beyond your control, there’s still hope. Here are three valuable tips to prevent unwanted delays during your claim procedure.
Contact Your Insurance Company Right After The Accident
An ideal way to speed up your claim process is by informing your insurance company about the claim immediately. You must file a claim during the first 24 hours following your accident. You can provide your insurance firm with every piece of information you think is relevant and can work in your favor.
In addition, complete cooperation is crucial for a smooth claim settlement. Don’t hesitate to deliver your statements and answer every question the insurance company may ask. You must also take your car for inspection by the earliest to allow the insurance firm to assess the damaged property for investigation.
The evidence you collect at the time of your accident impacts the speed and decision of your claim. As mentioned above, you can take pictures of the damages- including your bodily injuries and the road surrounding you. You should also obtain the contact details of the responsible party to send all this information to the insurance firm.
You can even jot down important notes about the accident. Be it about the location or time it took place or explaining whatever happened. Everything you gather at that time can help your insurance company investigate better. It also increases the possibility of getting your desired settlement agreement.
Know Your State Laws
A safe way to speed up your claim procedure is by understanding your state’s laws on claim settlement agreements and car accidents. You can either search them up as you file for a claim or get help from an experienced personal injury lawyer.
A skilled and experienced lawyer makes things easier for you because they manage your claim process and remain in contact with the insurance company to work through your claim. Besides, having a lawyer means a safe backup if you want to go to court due to an unfair claim settlement.
FAQs About The Claim Process
1. When can the insurance of the other driver cover your expenses?
If you were less than 51% responsible for the accident, only then will the other driver’s insurance cover your expenses.
Can I sue an insurance firm for taking too long with my claim process?
You can sue the insurance company if it’s delaying your claim procedure. Though, you must review your state’s laws about this matter. Suppose the state laws don’t mention any limitation for the timeframe an insurer can take to resolve your claim. In that case, you don’t have any justifiable reason to file a lawsuit.
2. How will I receive my claims from the insurance company?
Once the insurance company accepts and approves your claim, they send you the amount mentioned in the settlement agreement. The company can either send you the loss amount for the damages and expenses or transfer the compensation to the involved vendors.
For instance, the insurance company can transfer money directly to the car mechanic shop for your car repair. Generally, you can expect to receive a cheque with the loss amount.
3. How long after my accident can I file a claim?
Though the timeframe depends on the state you reside in, the California statute of limitations offers six months after your accident.
You can sue for your bodily injuries from a car accident within six months of the date of your accident. After these six months pass, you can’t file a claim anymore. Though, you have three years to file for your damaged property.
4. Can insurance companies cancel your policy with them if you file a claim?
Your insurance firm doesn’t or cannot cancel your policy because you filed a claim unless you don’t make timely payments.
Suppose you got a policy more than 90 days ago or continue to make regular and punctual payments. In that case, the insurance firm may have other reasons to cancel it. However, the insurance company might not renew your policy once you file a claim against them.
Hire A Lawyer To Handle Your Claim Process In California!
A lawyer smoothens out your claim process because it’s a fact that you can’t handle everything on your own. It becomes even more challenging if you sustain critical injuries or are unsure about the eligibility and standards for filing a claim.
You need a lawyer to keep you well-informed about the state laws, file a claim, and work to conclude the best possible settlement agreements for your accident. Be it the medical expenses and vehicle damages or receiving the benefits or compensation. A credible and reputable lawyer with previous experience in claim settlement is a lifesaver.
If you’re looking for a trustworthy lawyer in California, don’t hesitate to contact Ashley Injury Lawyers. They serve the people of Roseville/Sacramento and the Bay Area in Northern California.
Ashley Amerio is a personal injury lawyer and the CEO of Ashley Injury Lawyers. She works for an extensive client portfolio to manage their claim procedures and settlement agreements.
Ashley Injury Lawyers is a passionate personal injury law firm that works to ensure the best results for victims of car accidents and claim settlement procedures. You can schedule a free case evaluation or call us at 888-ASHLEY-911. We can come to your home or you can even visit our Law Firm’s Sacramento Office at 400 Sunrise Avenue, Suite 150, Roseville, California 95661.