The vast majority of personal injury claims in California are resolved through a settlement with insurance carriers. However, it is often necessary for an injury victim and their attorney to send a demand letter to the insurance carrier asking for full payment of damages.
Unfortunately, dealing with insurance carriers after a demand letter has been sent can be frustrating. Here, we want to discuss how long it can take for an insurance carrier to respond to a demand letter as well as how to handle the insurance carriers throughout this process.
When Does a Demand Letter get Sent?
Within a day or so after a crash occurs, all parties involved need to report the incident to their insurance carriers. However, this initial report does not constitute a demand letter. That is not required at this point.
When initial accident reports are made, this starts the process of the insurance carriers investigating the incident and determining how much they will pay in compensation to the victims. Under no circumstances should an injury become ever send a demand letter before they have reached what their doctor considers maximum medical recovery.
Because the amount of time it takes a person to recover will vary from case to case, there is no way to properly understand exactly when a demand letter will be sent.
How Long Will it Take for the Insurance Carrier to Respond?
Response times to insurance demand letters after an accident can range anywhere from a week to months. In general, insurance carriers are required to respond in a reasonable amount of time, but the definition of what is “reasonable” will vary. There is no law that sets a deadline for insurance carriers to respond to demand letters.
The actual response time will depend on various factors, including:
- The size of the claim. Generally, the larger a claim is, the more the insurance carrier will scrutinize the incident. Larger claims require a higher level of approval within the insurance company, and there will likely be significant investigations.
- The size of the insurance carrier. Insurance carriers that have a significant amount of resources may be able to expedite a claim and get a quicker response to a demand letter. Smaller insurance carriers may not be able to move so quickly.
- Whether there has been ongoing communication. If there has already been correspondence between you, your Riverside personal injury attorney, and the insurance carrier, there may be less chance that there will be a delay after the demand letter is sent.
- The size of the insurance policy. In general, claims made against large insurance policies will carry greater financial liability for the insurance carrier. This means that the carrier will be more likely to scrutinize the claim.
You can File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you do not receive a demand letter from an insurance carrier within a reasonable amount of time, or if the insurance carrier offers an unreasonable compensation amount, you may have to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party in order to recover the compensation you need. If you think a lawsuit may be necessary, please keep in mind that the California personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date the injury occurred. Failing to file a claim within this timeframe could result in the injury victim is unable to recover any compensation.