After a car accident, you face urgent needs. You must repair or replace your vehicle so you can get to doctor’s appointments and physical therapy, and you will have bills from hospitals, doctors, and ambulance services that you need to pay. You may even see an increase in your living expenses if your injuries prevent you from working.
If you pursue a claim against the at-fault driver, you may want immediate results. But insurers require time to investigate claims and pay settlements. They also have the incentive to drag out the claim process to frustrate you into accepting a low settlement offer.
The Claim Settlement Process
Texas requires all automobile owners to buy liability insurance. After a crash, accident victims file claims with the insurer for the driver who caused the crash. Only third parties can file liability claims. The at-fault driver cannot file a claim under the driver’s own liability coverage.
The claim includes documents to prove your account of the incident and the losses you incurred. You might submit medical records, doctor’s bills, and wage records. The insurer assigns a claims adjuster to your case to review these documents, talk to the driver who allegedly caused the accident, and review the accident report.
When the claims adjuster completes the investigation, they accept or deny the claim. If they accept the claim, they will offer a settlement based on the covered losses you incurred. If they deny the claim, they will give a reason for the claim denial. You will be able to respond to the denial of the claim to try to overcome it.
In most cases, the offer from the claims adjuster will be insultingly low. You and your car accident lawyer will negotiate with them to try to get a better offer. Once you accept the settlement, the insurer will send a check to your attorney.
Deadlines Set by Texas Law
Texas has several regulations that set deadlines for insurers. Since they are set by law, insurance companies cannot change them in your policy. These deadlines include:
- 15 business days after you file a claim to acknowledge it and request information
- 15 business days to accept or deny a claim after receiving the relevant details
- 45 additional business days to investigate your claim for a specified reason
- 5 business days to mail a check to your injury lawyer after agreeing to a settlement
Thus, if you send all the information needed to investigate your accident with your claim, you could have a check in as few as 20 days. But this is an entirely theoretical timeline based on an ideal situation. Very few cases will result in a settlement check this quickly.
Estimating How Long It Takes To Get a Settlement Check
The actual timeline could depend on many factors, like the evidence of fault, whether you contributed to the cause of the crash, and even which insurance company is involved.
When estimating how long the insurer will take to settle your case, keep in mind that they have the incentive to drag out the process so they can hold onto your money as long as possible. Insurers know you have an urgent need for your settlement and will try to frustrate you into accepting an offer. Realistically, you should expect the insurer to ask for more information and extend its time to investigate your claim.
However, this schedule ignores the time you and your lawyer spend negotiating for the best possible settlement. The negotiation period has no deadlines except for the statute of limitations. Theoretically, the insurer could drag out the negotiations even longer, forcing you to decide whether to file a lawsuit.
Once you reach a settlement agreement with the at-fault party, there are just a few more procedural steps that must be taken. This includes resolving any outstanding liens as well as transferring the money from your lawyer’s escrow account to a check in your name. Here, too, the specifics will vary depending on the case.
Contact an Austin Car Accident Lawyer With Any Questions You May Have
If you’ve recently been involved in a car accident in Austin, TX, you’re likely wondering how long it will take to get your settlement check. While no two cases will play out the same, an experienced Austin car accident lawyer can work with you and your interests to help achieve a favorable outcome. Most attorneys in this area of the law offer free consultations, so you can gain insight into your case’s timeline free of charge.
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Austin and need legal help, contact our Austin car accident lawyers at FVF Law to schedule a free consultation with our team.
3101 Bee Caves Rd #301, Austin, TX 78746, United States