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How Long Does it Take for Insurance Companies to Pay Out Claims

Posted on September 25, 2014

How Long Will it Take for the Insurance Company to Pay My Claim?

This is not as simple a question as it appears on the surface.

When you’ve first been in an accident, you may find that the insurance adjuster is in a big hurry to pay your claim—and by big hurry we mean some insurance companies send an adjuster out to the accident scene!

Why You Should Not Be in a Hurry to Settle Your Claim

The reason insurance companies appear so anxious to “help” with a quick payout early on is that many times you will have sustained injuries that you’re not aware of for, a couple of reasons:

  1. Your body releases adrenaline when you’re in an accident, and adrenaline masks pain.
  2. Some serious injuries are not apparent at first, but make themselves known after days or even weeks’ for example a slow internal bleed, including a brain bleed; a herniated disc in your neck or back; and chronic regional pain syndrome, to name a just few examples.

Immediately after the accident, the adjuster may offer a very low amount in exchange for a full release. If you’re not hurting too badly yet, it may seem like a good deal. But once you’ve signed the release, if you find out down the road you have a serious injury, you won’t be able to claim compensation.

When Your Injuries Have Been Shown to Be Serious, Insurers May Balk

After the initial period has passed when it is clear that you are actually injured and you have been receiving medical treatment, the insurance company will not be in much of a hurry to pay a reasonable settlement. And because you need to make sure that the amount you ultimately receive is enough to cover all of your current and future medical bills along with your pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-economic or quality of life damages, you should not be in a hurry to accept a settlement offer that may not reflect the full value of your case. Until you’ve reached your maximum medical improvement, it will be hard to place an accurate value on your claim.

Insurance companies may drag their feet when it comes to paying out a fair amount for all of your injuries, and that same adjuster who was so anxious to pay you a little bit at first may appear to have lost interest in paying your claim. But rest assured, the insurance company is looking diligently for an excuse to deny the claim during this time.

Real Injuries Require a Good Personal Injury Attorney

If you want a fair settlement, you need a good lawyer, preferably one with a law practice dedicated exclusively to personal injury law. An experienced personal injury lawyer knows how insurance companies work, and understand that insurers are in the business of generating profits for their shareholders, not in making fair payments to the injured. If you have an attorney who does this kind of work day in and day out, he or she will know how to assemble the proof of liability and damages and will have the connections and financial resources to bring in experts to prove the other party’s liability and to support your claim for damages.

Knowing the Extent of Your Damages Takes Time

It takes some time to determine the full extent of your damages and to assemble the documentation needed for a strong case. The more serious the injury, the greater your damages, the longer amount of time is usually required. And it will, of course, depend on whether you need to go to court in order to get a fair recovery award, in which case the amount of time required will depend on court schedules, availability of expert witnesses, and so forth.

Minor injury cases may settle in a matter of months, while many serious injury cases often take a couple of years to settle. The most catastrophic accidents can take significantly longer. Never rush into a settlement with an insurance adjuster right after an accident without speaking to an experienced personal injury attorney.

Arrange a Free Consultation

When you need a personal injury attorney to protect your right to a full and fair settlement of your Alabama accident injury claim, call the Drake law firm in Birmingham. The Birmingham personal injury attorneys at Drake Law have a total of 25 years of personal injury experience and a nearly 99 percent record of success in winning recovery awards—some in the multi-millions of dollars—for the clients they represent. Drake Law offers a free consultation and accepts accident injury cases on a contingency retainer, so you pay only after you’ve won money for your injuries, and if you don’t recover money (which rarely happens) you don’t pay anything.