Negotiating Your Car Accident Insurance Settlement
August 5, 2019
When car accident victims file insurance claims, one of their biggest concerns is how long it will take to receive compensation. They have bills to take care of and the longer the process drags out, the more anxiety victims may feel.
Below, learn more about how long it can take to resolve an auto insurance claim and some of the factors that can drag the process out. Then, contact an experienced Phoenix car accident lawyer at Phillips Law Group to discuss how we may help you obtain a just and fair settlement for your injury and other losses.
What Is the Negotiation Timeline?
Every personal injury case is unique and may be handled slightly differently, depending on the insurance company involved and the individual circumstances of the case. It may take weeks or months before the insurance company contacts you about a potential settlement. The typical actions that occur after a car accident claim is filed include:
- You receive medical treatment for your injuries
- The accident is investigated
- Fault is determined by the insurance adjuster
- You receive a reservation of rights letter from the insurance company
- Your lawyer prepares a demand package to the insurance company
The insurance company may offer you a settlement, which you can either refuse or accept. If you refuse it, your lawyer may send a letter with a counteroffer and a description of its justification. The insurance company may then accept, reject or counter the offer.
The insurance company may try to deny liability for the claim or try to minimize the value of your claim in other ways. You may need to provide further proof about your claim or evidence to support them.
The amount of time it takes to work through this process depends on several factors, including the number of offers and counteroffers. It may be weeks after an offer is made before the insurance adjuster responds. It often takes months to settle a claim if the car accident victim accepts the third or fourth offer.
When Will the Settlement Check Arrive?
It typically takes between four to six weeks from the date you accept the settlement offer until you receive your settlement check. You will be required to sign a release that states the check is full satisfaction of your claim. The check is typically disbursed to your lawyer. He or she will be responsible for paying any liens placed on the settlement amount, such as accrued and unpaid medical bills. He or she will also deduct the attorney’s fee, out-of-pocket costs and any other agreed upon costs. You will then receive the balance of the settlement from your lawyer.
Common Steps in the Settlement Process
The negotiation process is much like haggling over an item at a yard sale. You might make a high demand for the value of your claim and then the insurance company may respond with a lowball offer. The insurance adjuster may poke holes in your car accident claim and explain why the value is low. You may then counter this message with information that supports your position, such as medical records or an accident report.
The insurance company may then offer a slightly higher settlement to try to see if you are desperate enough to take the still-low offer. You may respond by offering a lower demand than you originally asked for and the insurance adjuster may increase his or her offer. The process continues until you and the insurance adjuster both agree on the settlement value.
Before an insurance company makes an initial offer at all, you will need to receive treatment for your medical injuries and reach a point of maximum medical improvement. The insurance company may request copies of your medical records. After you submit your demand package, it may take between 15 and 90 days before you get a response.
Disputes that May Arise
During the back and forth between you and the insurance adjuster, there may be disagreements that arise. Common disputes that arise during car accident claims include:
- Liability, such as whether you share some fault for the accident and to what extent
- Coverage, such as whether the policy covers the accident
- The need for certain medical treatment
- The extent of your injuries
- The amount of time you will need to continue receiving medical treatment
- The insurance adjuster believes your injury was due to a pre-existing condition
If the dispute is made in good faith, your lawyer can provide appropriate responses to the questions that arise. He or she can also submit evidence that supports your version of events.
Get Legal Help From a Licensed Attorney
If you would like assistance with your car insurance settlement, we recommend that you seek legal representation as soon as possible. Our licensed attorneys at Phillips Law Group may be able to help. We know how insurers think and have years of experience fighting for adequate compensation on behalf of car accident victims throughout Arizona.
Schedule a free consultation to learn more about your rights. If you decide to move forward, we can determine the legal options available to you and put together a customized legal strategy for your case.
We look forward to helping you. Call 1-800-706-3000 now.
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