If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another person, you may be expecting to receive a payout from an insurance company. You may also be wondering how long it will take for the insurance carrier to payout your claim. This is important information because many injury victims are in precarious financial situations due to incoming medical expenses as well as regular household bills and out-of-pocket costs.
Factors that Slow Down or Speed Up the Process
No two personal injury cases are the same, and the amount of time that it takes for an insurance carrier to make a payout will depend on various factors related to each particular situation. First, it is important to note that insurance companies in West Virginia must respond to a claimant within a reasonable amount of time. Most insurance carriers have a self-imposed deadline of 30 days, but they often request more time in a letter that explains the delay.
Some factors that can slow down an insurance payout include:
- There is no clear fault. The insurance carrier is not going to make a quick settlement offer if it looks like more than one party contributed to the incident.
- Investigations can take time. When responding to a demand letter, the insurance carrier may use a team of investigators and insurance adjusters to analyze the case.
- Lowball offers. In most cases, the initial settlement offer presented by the insurance carrier is going to be lower than it should be. Use this as the starting point for negotiations. Never accept the first offer.
- A lawsuit. If a lawsuit is filed, the time frame for an insurance payout will certainly be delayed. This opens up a whole new process, and a payout will not occur until the lawsuit is resolved.
Lump-Sum vs. Structured Payments
When an insurance settlement amount has been reached, it will typically be paid in one of two ways:
- Lump-sum payment. This is usually made within a month after the date of the settlement, and the total amount will be paid all at one time.
- Structured settlement. This means that the responsible party (usually the insurance carrier) will make a payment every month for a specified amount of time until the total amount has been paid.
When Should I Accept a Quick Settlement Offer from an Insurance Company?
It is customary for an insurance carrier to make an initial settlement offer fairly quickly after the incident occurs, particularly if they know they will lose in court. However, there are rarely any circumstances under which you should accept a quick settlement offer. You can almost always negotiate for more. In many cases, injury victims may not even know the full extent of their injuries soon after an incident occurs, but accepting an early offer will mean that there will be no way to secure more compensation later on.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the negligent actions of another person, you may need to seek assistance from a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. At Tiano O’Dell, PLLC, we have extensive experience helping clients with these cases, and we understand what it takes to deal with aggressive or reluctant insurance carriers. If you need help getting the insurance money that you are owed, contact our team of Charleston, WV personal injury lawyers. We offer free consultations.