Insurance Demand Letter Response Time
Posted in Personal Injury on April 20, 2021
If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of someone else, you will likely be entitled to various types of compensation for your losses. However, securing this compensation can be a challenging process. The vast majority of personal injury cases are settled through claims with insurance carriers. Unfortunately, insurance carriers can be challenging to deal with, as they do not want to make any large payouts to injury victims. Here, we want to discuss how long it may take for an insurance carrier to respond to a demand letter.
What is a Demand Letter in a Tennessee Personal Injury Case?
Demand letters are an integral part of the insurance settlement process after a personal injury occurs. A demand letter will be sent by the injury victim (or their attorney) to the insurance carrier of the at-fault party. There will be various formal statements and requests inside of the demand letter, including the following:
- A synopsis of the injury incident
- A comprehensive list of all injuries and expenses
- Proof of medical bills, out-of-pocket losses, lost income, and more
- Actual demand for compensation
- A statement conveying that a lawsuit will be forthcoming if the insurance carrier refuses the demand
It is important for demand letters to be written in a professional tone in order to convey the weight of the incident and the situation. We strongly recommend working with a skilled personal injury lawyer in Tennessee who can fully analyze the entire case and craft a strongly worded, professional demand letter.
When is the Demand Letter Sent?
A demand letter is not going to be sent right away. In fact, injury victims should never try to demand full compensation until they know the total extent of the medical care they will need. Yes, insurance carriers do need to know that an injury has occurred within a day or two after the incident, but a final demand will not be forthcoming until weeks or even months after the incident.
How Long Will it Take for a Response to Come?
After a demand letter is sent by the injury victim or their attorney, there is no actual law in Tennessee that requires insurance carriers to respond within a certain amount of time. However, insurance carriers are responsible for handling claims in good faith and fair dealing, though the exact definition of “good faith and a fair dealing” is rather subjective.
There are various factors that could influence the response time of the insurance carrier in these situations. These factors include the following:
- Size of the claim. In general, you will find that the more compensation that is being requested, the more likely it will be that a long response time will be forthcoming. Larger claims are going to trigger more intense scrutiny from the insurance carrier.
- Size of the insurance carrier. Smaller insurance carriers typically do not have the same resources as larger insurance carriers, and it could take a smaller carrier longer to respond to a demand letter.
- Size of the policy. Larger insurance policies carry more financial liability for the carrier, and it is likely that claims made against these larger policies will take more time.
- Previous communication with the carrier. If there has been prior communication between an injury victim and their attorney with the insurance carrier, this may help expedite the demand letter process. However, that is not guaranteed.
How Will the Insurance Carrier Respond?
What really matters in these situations is how the insurance carrier responds to a demand letter. In general, we will see that responses to demand letters will happen in one of three ways:
- Full payment of the demand. In an ideal scenario, the insurance carrier would respond to a demand letter with the full payment requested by the injury victim and their attorney. However, very rarely will an insurance carrier jump right to full acceptance of a claim.
- A counteroffer. It is more likely that the insurance carrier will respond with a much lower counteroffer. We caution clients not to despair over a small counteroffer, as this is a tactic used by insurance carriers regularly. At this point, attorneys and injury victims will proceed to negotiate the number upward.
- A denial or no response. In some cases, an insurance carrier may outright deny a claim, or they may simply not respond at all. In most situations, though, an insurance carrier will respond in some way. The carrier will likely not outright deny a claim unless they have strong reason to believe the facts of the case are on their side.
Will a Personal Injury Lawsuit Become Necessary?
In the event the insurance carrier denies a claim or refuses to pay enough compensation to cover the injury victim’s expenses, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. Tennessee personal injury lawsuits can become complicated, but they may be a necessary step when aggressive insurance carriers get in the way of the injury victim securing the compensation they need to recover.
Time Limit to File a Personal Injury Claim in Tennessee
If a personal injury lawsuit becomes necessary, victims need to be aware that they have a limited amount of time to file their claim in civil court. All personal injury lawsuits must be filed within one year from the date the injury occurred. If victims fail to file their claim in civil court within this one-year time frame, they will lose the ability to recover any compensation for their losses.
Working With a Tennessee Personal Injury Lawyer
A skilled personal injury lawyer in Nashville, Tennessee will be able to step in and handle every aspect of the claim on your behalf. The reality is that personal injury cases can become complicated, even if it seems like they will be resolved through settlement with insurance carriers. Do not be deceived by insurance carriers, particularly the carrier of the at-fault party. Their goal is to limit how much money they pay out in a settlement, and their response to a demand letter may not be sufficient for injury victims to receive the compensation they are entitled to. A Tennessee personal injury lawyer and handle all communication with the other parties involved in order to help an injury victim secure the compensation they need.