How Long do you Have to Settle a Car Insurance Claim?
After an auto accident, you are on the clock to file a claim. You may have a claim for property damage, bodily injury, or both. In addition to reporting the claim to the responsible party’s car insurance company, you may have an obligation to inform your insurance company.
Car accident claims and settlement negotiations can be complicated and overwhelming for accident victims. It is in your best interest to speak with an attorney at the Law Offices of Gary Bruce as soon as possible. Our car accident attorneys are experienced advocates for accident victims and will take the appropriate actions to protect your interests and get you a fair settlement.
What is a Car Insurance Settlement?
A settlement is a mutually agreed-upon resolution that occurs outside of court between an insurance company and the claimant. Settlements, as they do not involve the court system, can be a much less expensive route to resolving car accident damages and injuries cases.
However, many car accident victims are naïve when it comes to negotiating settlements. A car accident victim may accept a low amount that doesn’t cover their injuries, not knowing that they are simultaneously waiving the right to pursue additional damages with a lawsuit.
How Long do you Have to File a Car Insurance Claim?
There is no good reason to postpone making a car accident claim with the responsible party’s insurance carrier and your own carrier. You may be afraid that your rates will increase if you report an accident to your insurance company, but delaying or failing to notify your carrier could cost you.
Even if you are not at fault for an accident, it is important to contact your insurance carrier as you may need to use your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Failure to promptly notify your carrier of a potential claim for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage could put you at risk of losing your coverage. Speak with one of our attorneys for insurance claims as soon as possible to find out your obligations and best course of action for ensuring you get the compensation you deserve.
Don’t Delay Reporting the Claim
When it comes to insurance companies, you want to take an approach that reduces—as much as possible—the likelihood that your claim is denied. The insurance company is going to investigate the accident, looking for reasons to deny your claim.
If you wait weeks to report your losses, they may argue that events after the date of the accident contributed to the damage or injury. In contrast, if you report the claim right away and the adjuster is able to view the damaged property right away, it’s much more difficult for a company to try to attribute the damage to something other than the accident.
Additionally, a statute of limitations applies to your ability to file a lawsuit. You may need to file a lawsuit if a fair settlement cannot be reached. A delay in reporting the claim and getting the process started could mean that by the time you know a fair settlement isn’t being offered, you have missed the opportunity to recover damages via lawsuit.
In our years of experience as car accident lawyers, we’ve seen numerous cases of insurance companies offering paltry settlements to victims with extensive and life-altering injuries. In some cases, an insurance company will make an offer before the extent of your injuries can be known.
It may take months for you to be given a clean bill of health after incurring auto accident injuries. Therefore, it can be beneficial to postpone accepting an offer until you can calculate the full cost of treatment and rehabilitation.
Our attorneys for insurance claims are able to advise you when an insurer is being fair and when they are trying to take advantage of you. An insurer can’t offer you a low settlement and refuse to explain how or why they came to the amount. In cases of poor insurer conduct in Georgia, our lawyers may be able to pursue compensation for damages related to bad faith insurance practices in addition to recovering damages resulting from property damage or bodily injury.
Schedule your Free Auto Accident Consultation in Columbus, GA
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, call us today at 706-596-1446 so one of our attorneys can review your case at no cost. We serve clients in the Phenix City, Alabama area, as well as the greater Columbus and Fort Benning areas of Georgia.