If you have been injured in a car accident, you already know that it can be pretty stressful to watch your medical bills pile up – especially if you have had to miss work because of the crash. Filing a claim is a good step to take in order to get the money you are owed, but the next thing you need to worry about is how long it will be until you get paid, right?
This stress is no surprise, but it is also a tool that insurance companies can use against you. When you are working on a claim, you will deal with an insurance adjuster who will go through the details of your situation, and then come back with a settlement amount. This amount is nowhere near what you actually deserve, but the insurance company relies on your stress and hopes that you take whatever you can get. Take a look below at some factors that go into the amount of time it will take for you to get your final payment, and why it is important that you understand the impact this payment can have on your life.
Legal Requirements for Time Handling Claims
Florida has legal requirements for how quickly claims must be handled. After receiving their first notice of a loss, they have 10 days to investigate, at which point they have 90 days to make a payment on (or deny) the claim. Put simply, you can expect an initial settlement offer within 100 days of first notifying the insurance company of your losses.
Should I Accept the Insurance Company’s First Offer?
When you get a settlement offer from an insurance company, it is important that you realize what this number represents. Insurance companies are not there to pay full amounts out to people – this would be a failing business model. Instead, insurance companies focus on making the smallest payments possible while protecting their clients.
If you accept an offer from an insurance company, it comes with a legal agreement that you can not seek any further compensation from their client. If you are working with a personal injury attorney in Winter Park, this offer is just the beginning of negotiations.
How Long Do Settlement Negotiations Take?
Since each accident is unique, there is no set answer to this question. Your attorney will be able to explain your situation to you much better than we can, so it is important that you speak with them about what to expect.
If negotiations fail, then your attorney may suggest that you move to litigation in the Florida courts, which again changes the amount of time that this process will take. Depending on the complexity of the case, it could take over two years to reach a final verdict. Keep in mind that if you are working through a personal injury case for this long, it is likely that both you and your attorney have decided that it is financially worth the process.
Settlement or Lawsuit?
There is no simple answer to the question of whether you should agree on a settlement or to carry on with a full lawsuit. This is a conversation best had between you, your family and dependents, and your attorney. In some cases, the cost-benefit of a lawsuit turns out not to be worth it, but in other cases, it can make a major difference in your future quality of life. Luckily, you can expect payment within 100 days of filing your claim if you choose to take the initial offer.