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How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Settle a Claim?

Posted in Car Accidents on January 20, 2021

In the aftermath of a car accident in San Antonio, you could be dealing with many expenses. You may have serious injuries that require thousands of dollars in medical care, as well as the costs of repairing damaged property and making up lost wages. If you are curious as to when you might receive a settlement check from an insurance company, look at the average timeline of a claim in Texas.

1-2 Days: You File a Claim

After an accident, you should initiate the insurance process right away. Some insurance companies have deadlines to file, such as 72 hours after the accident, while others simply request that claimants file as soon as possible. Aim to file your initial claim within one to two days after the accident. Then, focus on getting medical care and following your doctor’s treatment plan while you wait for a response.

15 Days: The Insurance Company Responds

An insurance company will have no longer than 15 days from the date of receiving notice of a claim to acknowledge its receipt in writing and commence an investigation, according to Texas Insurance Code Section 542.055. at that time, the insurance company will also be required to request all statements, records and forms it believes it will need from the claimant.

15 to 45 Days: Insurance Investigation and Decision

The insurance company’s investigation of your accident and the losses you are claiming is typically the longest part of the insurance process. Under Texas Insurance Code Section 542.056, an insurance company has no more than 15 days after it has received all items and statements required to notify the claimant in writing of claim acceptance or rejection. If your claim involves possible arson, the insurance company has 30 days to make its decision.

If the insurance company has a valid reason why it cannot accept or reject a claim by the deadline, it must notify the claimant that it needs additional time and explain the reason. In this scenario, the insurance company will have no more than 45 days from the date it notifies the claimant to accept or reject the claim.

5 Days: The Insurer Releases a Check

If the insurance company accepts your claim, it must release payment of the claim within five business days of notifying you of the acceptance and receiving your signature on the liability release form. Upon the release of the check, expect your payment by mail within no more than two weeks.

Note: Timelines Vary

All in all, the insurance process can take anywhere from one to three months or longer to complete in Texas. If your claim does not encounter any complications, expect your settlement check within about one month of filing a claim. If, however, your case involves liability disputes, catastrophic injuries or injuries with lengthy recovery times, expect it to take longer.

Although it is not common, you may need to take your personal injury case all the way to court for a fair result in San Antonio. This might be the case if the insurance company in charge of your claim is denying liability or refusing to offer a satisfactory settlement.

If you need to file a personal injury lawsuit, the legal process could take significantly longer than an insurance settlement. A lawsuit can take one year or longer to resolve in Texas. Your exact timeline will depend on several factors, including how soon you can get a court date in your jurisdiction and whether you and the defendant settle the case before it goes to trial.

For more information about the insurance process in Texas, including how long your settlement might take, consult with an attorney. Hiring an attorney may enable you to speed up the settlement process, as your lawyer will know how to communicate and negotiate with an insurance claims adjuster. A lawyer can also represent you during an injury trial in San Antonio, if necessary.