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How Long Does it Take to Get a Settlement From a Car Accident?

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Posted on June 14, 2022

If you’ve been involved in a car accident that leaves you with injuries, medical costs and damaged property, it is normal to want to receive your settlement check from an insurance company as soon as possible. It is important not to rush the process, however, as this may lead to accepting less than you deserve from an insurance company. At the same time, an insurer should not take too long to resolve your claim.

Florida Law Sets a Time Limit for Insurers

There are laws in Florida that require insurance companies to respond to claims, investigate them, come to a decision and mail settlement checks within a certain amount of time. According to Florida Statutes Section 627.736(4)(b), personal injury protection insurance benefits must be paid to a policyholder within 30 days after the insurance company receives a written notice that a covered loss has taken place. Personal injury protection is the most common source of reimbursement after a car accident in Florida under the state’s no-fault law.

An insurance company may have more time than 30 days, however, if it has a valid explanation to delay the investigative process. In this case, the insurance company must notify you of the additional time required and give its reason. In addition to having 30 days to accept a valid claim, an insurance company must initially acknowledge a claim within 14 days of its receipt. Insurers also have 20 days to make a final payment if a claim is approved.

What Is the Average Car Accident Settlement Timeline in Florida?

Most car accident cases in Florida reach settlements within one to three months. However, if you have a complicated case – such as one where you have to file a claim against the other driver’s insurer – the claims process may take six months or longer. Factors that can affect the settlement timeline include:

  • How long it takes you to recover from your injuries.
  • How soon you send in your claim and completed proof-of-loss forms.
  • How long it takes the insurance company to investigate your car accident.
  • Whether there are multiple insurance companies involved in the case.
  • If you face issues such as the comparative negligence defense.

If you have a complicated car accident case that requires a personal injury lawsuit and a court trial before a judge and jury, expect your payout to take longer than one to three months. A car accident trial takes an average of one year or longer from start to finish, depending on how busy the courthouse is in the county where the claim is filed.

Why You Shouldn’t Rush the Settlement Process

It can be difficult to wait on your settlement from a car insurance company. However, it is vital not to be impatient when dealing with an insurance company and rush into a fast settlement. This is a critical mistake made by many claimants that results in them accepting lowball offers that are inadequate for the extent of their injuries and bills. Once you say yes to a settlement, you cannot renegotiate for a higher amount. This is why it is essential to consult with a car accident lawyer in Tampa about the value of your case before accepting.

What to Do if an Insurance Company Is Taking Too Long to Settle Your Claim

If you believe that a car insurance company has surpassed its deadline to respond to your claim and send a payout, you could be the victim of insurance bad faith. This is a civil tort that may entitle you to additional financial compensation to punish the insurance company for failing to properly handle your claim. Consult with an attorney in Tampa to find out if you have grounds to file a bad-faith insurance lawsuit on top of your car accident claim for delaying your payout. An attorney can make the claims process as fast and efficient as possible while protecting your rights.

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