If you are in the midst of a personal injury claim, one question you might be wrestling with is how long it will take to settle your case after the demand letter is sent. This question is important because, for most victims of accidents, there are resulting injuries and significant stress, leading to a sense of urgency. Understanding what determines this timeline and how the process unfolds can provide some reassurance during such challenging times.
In the context of a personal injury claim, a demand letter refers to an official correspondence your attorney sends out on your behalf to the insurance company representing the party you believe is at fault in an accident.
This comprehensive document essentially highlights case facts and demands reimbursements for losses and damages suffered, like medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and more.
A demand letter communicates the strength of your claim and serves as a powerful negotiation tool. A compelling letter that effectively outlines case facts and your injuries stands a higher chance of convincing insurers about the viability of your claim. This can exert pressure on them to fairly settle rather than take the risks or costs associated with litigation.
Once you’ve submitted a claim to the insurance company after the accident, it’s important to know that they have strict timelines in which responses are required. Under Arizona Administrative Code Section 20-6-801, insurers must acknowledge receiving your claim within ten working days:
“Every insurer, upon receiving notification of a claim shall, within 10 working days, acknowledge the receipt of such notice unless payment is made within such period of time.”
If acknowledgment is made over the phone, it must be noted in your file.
Additionally, the insurance company has a specific window within which they must conclude investigations into your claim. In Arizona, insurers are typically allotted 30 days from the date of acknowledgment to complete their investigation:
“Every insurer shall complete investigation of a claim within 30 days after notification of claim, unless such investigation cannot reasonably be completed within such time.”
During this period, they scrutinize the evidence provided and try to determine liability and damages.
However, the investigation process might often require more time than initially allocated. In situations like this, Arizona rules allow the insurance company an extension.
That being said, there are requirements the company must follow; they must notify you within 15 working days that they need more time. They must also communicate updates regarding your claim status every 45 days until a decision is reached:
“If the insurer needs more time to determine whether a first-party claim should be accepted or denied, it shall also notify the first-party claimant within fifteen working days after receipt of the proofs of loss, giving the reasons more time is needed. If the investigation remains incomplete, the insurer shall, 45 days from the date of the initial notification and every 45 days thereafter, send to such claimant a letter setting forth the reasons additional time is needed for investigation.”
Insurers have a strict deadline of 15 working days to provide a written notice detailing whether your claim was accepted or denied once they’ve made a decision.
Ultimately, insurance companies have a duty to act in good faith, promptly processing claims and providing fair settlements when liability is clear. Ignoring communication, delaying processes unnecessarily, or failing to pay out on accepted claims within the mandated deadline constitutes a breach of their obligation.
If insurers infringe on these duties, it can open up possibilities for you to file a bad faith claim against them. If you need help, we’re here for you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.