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How Long Does a Settlement Take After a Demand Letter Is Sent?

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Posted By DAM Firm | March 25 2020 | Workers' Compensation

After consulting with an attorney, evaluating your claim, crafting your demand letter and sending it in, it can be difficult to wait for an answer from the insurance company. You may be unable to fully move forward without knowing the insurance company’s response. Luckily, most insurance settlements in Riverside take just one to three months to resolve. If you have a complicated claim or the insurance provider is treating you in bad faith, however, your timeline could be much longer.

Mandated Response Times Under State Law

California is one of many states with laws determining how long an insurance company has to respond to its claimants. According to California Code of Regulations section 2695.5, an insurance company has to respond to a demand letter within 15 days of its receipt. Under state law, your insurer has a maximum of 15 days to notify you that it has received your demand letter.

You should receive a letter in the mail or a phone call from a claims adjuster within about two weeks. Then, the insurer has 40 days from the receipt of your demand letter to issue an approval or denial. In most cases, expect a decision on your insurance claim by the 40-day deadline. Sometimes, however, an insurance company needs more time to investigate a claim. If this happens in your case, you might receive a notice from the insurance company within 40 days that it will need additional time.

If you receive correspondence requesting more time, the insurer must explain why. The request must be a reasonable one, or else the company could be practicing insurance bad faith. Additional time often means a total of 60 days from the date of receiving your claim. Most clients receive settlement checks from insurance companies within two weeks of claim acceptance, making the total average timeline about one to three months long.

Issues That Could Delay Your Claim

An insurance claim requires a great deal of paperwork and red tape. A mistake on just one of the forms submitted could lead to a delay in the processing of your claim. If you submitted your demand letter without first running it by an attorney, it may contain errors that could make a settlement take longer to achieve. An issue could rest with your insurance company. The company might be dealing with a lot of claims or need additional time reviewing your case.

  • Missing information
  • Insufficient documentation
  • Refusal to sign medical release forms
  • Lack of cooperation with the investigation
  • The defendant refuting fault
  • Your employer denying your claim
  • Lack of eyewitnesses
  • Disputes over the terms of the policy
  • Complicating claim factors

Insurance companies often have valid reasons for taking several weeks to reach a decision. However, the insurance provider in your case may be guilty of bad faith instead. Insurance bad faith means the company is treating your claim unfairly or dishonestly. A common bad faith tactic is to deny a client’s payout. If you suspect bad faith is what is making your settlement take so long, contact an attorney for a free consultation.

Settlement vs. Court Trial

If you and the insurance provider cannot agree on a fair and reasonable settlement, you may have to take your case to trial to obtain compensation. You might also have to take your claim to court if the insurance company responds to your initial demand letter with a claim denial. Rather than taking a few months, a personal injury trial takes a year or longer on average. At the end of the trial, you might not receive any compensation at all. If you win your trial, however, the verdict awarded could be more than what you would have received through an insurance settlement.

No matter what unique issues, factors or delays your claim involves, a lawyer can help you work through them with efficiency. Hire a workers’ compensation lawyer in Riverside today to take over your insurance claim if you wish to avoid common mistakes and expedite the process whenever possible.