Demand Letter Response Time: How To Handle The Insurance Companies
Posted in Personal Injury on November 24, 2020
After most injuries, a claim will be sent to an insurance carrier representing the at-fault party. Generally, claims must be made within a relatively short amount of time after the incident occurs. Most car accident insurance carriers require that the incident be reported within 24 hours after the collision.
The initial claim is the initiating action when it comes to negotiating a settlement with an insurance carrier. In response to an initial claim, insurance carriers often send a letter saying that they admit no fault but will investigate the incident.
After an injured individual recovers from their injuries, they, or their attorney, will send a demand letter to the insurance carrier in an attempt to recover full compensation.
Negotiating a settlement is a regular part of the personal injury claims process. Most insurance carriers are for-profit entities that will do what they can to limit the amount of money they payout. The more they pay in the settlement, the less they make towards their bottom line. Thus, the insurance carrier will not make this an easy process.
How long does it take for an insurance company to reply?
Response times to demand letters sent to an insurance carrier range anywhere from a week or two. It could also take months. The exact response time will depend on the insurance carrier, the scope of the case, and the complexity of the claim itself. In general, insurance carriers can take as long as they want, as there is no set law that details how long they have to respond to demand letters.
In general, if you have a large claim, the insurance carrier is going to apply more scrutiny to the case. Larger claims tend to involve more lengthy investigations that must be signed off on by various parties within the insurance carrier. Generally, larger insurance carriers will have greater resources and may be able to expedite the process, but that is not a guarantee.
Insurance carriers may delay responding to a demand letter because they know that you need the money as soon as possible. They think that if they take longer to respond, you may be willing to settle for a lower amount when they do finally make an offer.
What if the insurance carrier doesn’t respond to a demand letter?
If an insurance carrier refuses to respond to a demand letter, the next step to force a response will likely be filing a personal injury lawsuit. You need to seek assistance from a skilled Nashville personal injury lawyer to help with this process.
It is also crucial to keep in mind the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Tennessee, which is one year from the day the injury occurred. This statutory deadline is less than the deadline in most other states, and failing to meet this one-your time frame will result in you being unable to recover compensation for your losses.
Three most common responses to demand letters
If an insurance carrier does respond to a demand letter, they will typically respond in one of three ways:
Insurance carriers regularly reject valid claims in an attempt to deter an injured individual from pursuing compensation. Surprisingly, this tactic does often work.
Even if an injury victim does not outright accept the rejection, this effort could also reduce the amount of money that the insurance carrier pays out in an eventual claim. In order to be sure that you have a valid claim after you have received a rejection letter, work with an attorney who can fully review your case.
Insurance carriers also regularly respond to a demand letter with a counter-offer that is far below what you have asked for. This is a negotiating tactic used to convince the injury victim that their case is worth less than it actually is.
It is not a good idea to accept the first counter offer sent by the insurance carrier. You should work with an attorney and respond within an acceptable counter-offer of your own, which may or may not be the amount you originally asked for. Your demands should always revolve around the losses you have incurred due to the injury, including your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.
In rare cases, an insurance carrier may accept the amount that you asked for in the demand letter. This is not likely to happen with most personal injury demand letters that are sent. Typically, the insurance carrier will only accept an offer after they have gone through several rounds of negotiations with the injury victim.
In fact, if an insurance carrier readily accepts an initial demand from an injury victim, this may be a sign that they expected to pay much more and that they are ready to be absolved of any further liability for the incident.
Why an attorney would be helpful during this process
If you or somebody you care about has been injured in an accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of somebody else, you should work with an attorney for help with your case as soon as possible. Most injury victims do not have the resources or legal expertise necessary to conduct a complete investigation into their case or secure full compensation for their losses.
However, a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer can:
- Conduct a complete investigation into the incident and gather all evidence necessary to prove liability. This can include photo or video surveillance, statements from eyewitnesses, accident reports, and any other documentation related to the case.
- Ensure that you are evaluated by trusted medical professionals who can treat your injuries.
- Gather all documentation showing the extent of your losses, including medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and more.
An attorney will gather all of this evidence, prove liability, and handle any negotiations with the insurance carriers. Your personal injury lawyer will be the one to handle all communication with other parties involved to ensure that you do not say anything that could jeopardize the compensation you receive.