Before you can pick up the pieces and move forward after a car accident in Pennsylvania, you need to receive the settlement check owed to you by a car insurance company. It is normal to be impatient when it comes to waiting for a settlement check, as it can feel like your life is on pause until you receive the money that you need to pay for medical bills, lost wages and property repairs. It is important not to rush the settlement process, however, to the detriment of your legal rights.
How Long Does the Average Car Accident Case Take to Settle?
Settlements take less time than car accident trials in Pennsylvania. The average car insurance settlement takes around three to six months from the time that you file the claim to receiving the settlement check in the mail. A trial, on the other hand, can take a year or longer. In Pennsylvania, car insurance companies are legally required to abide by the following time limits when processing claims:
- 10 business days upon being notified of your claim to provide you with the necessary forms.
- 15 business days upon receiving all of your forms to advise you in writing whether your claim has been accepted or rejected.
- Additional time if the company requests it, along with a reason for the delay.
If additional time is requested, the insurance company must update you on the status of your claim 30 days from the date of the first notification and every 45 days thereafter until it is resolved. If you have a simple car accident claim with no injuries and minor property damage, expect a settlement check within about one to three months. If you have a more complicated case, the settlement process can take longer.
What Can Make a Car Accident Case Take Longer to Be Resolved?
Many different things can alter the typical car accident settlement timeline in Pennsylvania. For example, if you give a car insurance company incomplete information on your forms, it can take longer for the company to investigate the crash and process your claim. If others don’t cooperate with the investigation, this can lead to the insurance company requesting an extension for the investigation.
Some car accident cases are more complicated than others and will take more time to be resolved. This includes car accidents that cause catastrophic injuries or deaths, car accidents involving three or more vehicles, liability disputes between insurance companies, and arguments against liability such as your own comparative fault for the crash.
What if Your Claim Is Denied?
Car insurance companies are known for doing the best that they can to avoid large payouts. This could lead to an insurance company unnecessarily delaying your claim or denying it altogether. If your claim is denied, you should obtain a written explanation for the denial. Check the language of the policy to see if the denial is valid. If you believe you are a victim of a wrongful claim denial, you should contact an attorney for assistance. You may have a case of insurance bad faith.
Contact a Pennsylvania Car Accident Attorney to Learn More About Your Settlement Timeline
Every car accident case is unique. Rather than comparing your case to averages, consult with a car accident lawyer in New Castle for a personalized review of your claim. A Pennsylvania car accident attorney will let you know how long it may take to get a settlement check for your accident. A lawyer can also make sure that you don’t rush into a fast settlement that is less than you deserve for your injuries.
Insurance companies often offer low initial settlements in the hopes that a claimant will jump at the chance to resolve the case as quickly as possible rather than submitting a counteroffer. Consult with an experienced New Castle personal injury attorney about the value of your claim before accepting a settlement. A New Castle car accident lawyer can help you resolve your car accident case as efficiently and successfully as possible.