How quickly the insurance company has to pay your claim depends on the state in which you file your case. Most states protect consumers with their own legislation based on the model law, the “Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act.” This legal act acknowledges the unjust practices commonly used by insurance companies and urges that there must be clear, prompt communication between the insurer and the insured at all times.
Some states have mandated that the insurer should handle claims in a “reasonable time” while others—such as Missouri and Illinois—specify time restraints for how long the company has to acknowledge the claim, accept or deny, investigate, and settle. Learn more about these below as well as how to speed up the process by getting a personal injury lawyer in St. Louis involved.
How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Pay a Claim in Missouri?
- 10 working days after notification of the claim to acknowledge it, provide the necessary claim forms, and give reasonable assistance on completing those forms.
- 15 working days after all forms have been submitted to notify the claimant of acceptance, denial, counteroffers, or a formal written notification requesting more time to investigate.
- 10 working days to respond to any questions from the insured about the claim.
In general, the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act for Missouri gives insurance 30 days to investigate a claim. If they cannot complete their investigations within this time, the company may request more, but they must provide a case update regarding progress every 45 days after this initial letter.
How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Pay a Claim in Illinois?
- 15 working days after the request for a claim to acknowledge it, provide the necessary claim forms, and give reasonable assistance on completing those forms.
- 60 working days after all forms have been submitted to investigate and provide an explanation of approval or denial of the claim.
For anything in excess of the 60 days, the insurer must then provide a reasonable
written explanation of the delay for any unresolved liability claim.
Settlement Timing Depends on the Case
In a majority of cases, the process is complete within 30 days, but it may depend on the type of claim. Generally, personal injury cases take longer to resolve than property damage claims because doctors, hospitals, and many different parties are involved. This is in addition to the fact that a person’s health is also involved, therefore, extra care is taken to investigate on both sides.
It will also depend on whether the settlement comes from the court or in a pre-trial agreement. You can typically expect the timeline for each to be:
- Pre-trial settlement – The agreement sets out an acceptable time period for the insurance company to pay, which is usually within 20 to 30 days.
- Personal injury trial award – After the final judgement by the jury, payment by the defendant is usually within 30 to 60 days. If they fail to pay, then they may face penalties such as interest charges and wage garnishment.
How to Speed Up the Personal Injury Claim Process
In far too many cases, the insurance company will purposely drag their feet in the hopes that you will become frustrated and accept a lower offer. According to the law, these insurance companies must handle claims in an efficient manner or risk bad faith accusations.
You may not be able to control the insurance companies, but you can take steps on your side to keep the process moving along, including:
- Document everything carefully from the very beginning of the process
- Submit a complete “proof of loss” form with as much detail as you can
- Learn everything you can about your policy in the meantime
- Stay vigilant at every turn of the case
Perhaps the most significant thing you can do to speed up the process is getting a personal injury lawyer involved.
Getting a lawyer to represent you indicates to the negligent party that you mean business, that you know your rights, and that you will not settle for anything less than what you are owed. The insurance company will do most anything to avoid going to court, which tends to be very costly for them.
Furthermore, because your lawyer handles all communication on your behalf, this puts an added pressure on the insurance company to respond to proceedings in a timely fashion.
Contact our Personal injury lawyer in St. Louis and Illinois
Not only does getting a lawyer involved speed up the process, it can also lead to a higher settlement. Slash through wasted time and get your settlement money faster with the help of Amanda Hayden at The Hayden Law Firm! Contact us.