Brian White | October 12, 2022 | Personal Injury
Your Houston personal injury lawyer may send a demand letter to the insurance company of the person who caused your injury. It outlines the legal reasons why the person is liable for your damages, describes your damages, and “demands” an amount to settle the claim. The letter begins the negotiations to settle your personal injury claim.
The insurance company can reject or accept the settlement offer. However, in many cases, the company makes a counteroffer for a lower amount. From that point, your lawyer and the insurance company could go back and forth for weeks until they agree on a settlement amount.
Unfortunately, the demand letter response time depends on the specific factors of your case.
How Long Does It Take for an Insurance Company To Respond to a Demand Letter?
Texas insurance laws include time limits for insurance companies to perform certain steps in the claims process. The deadlines are designed to make the process efficient and timely for all parties.
For example, when you file the initial claim with the insurance company, it must acknowledge the claim within 15 days. After that, the insurance company must request additional information it needs to process the claim and investigate the claim.
Once the company receives all necessary items to process the claim, it has 15 days to reject or accept the claim. However, the company can extend this deadline for an acceptable reason. If the company accepts the claim, it has five days to issue a settlement check.
However, these deadlines do not mean that your personal injury case only takes a couple of months to settle. Settlement timelines vary substantially, depending on the facts of the case.
What Is the Average Demand Letter Response Time in Texas?
First, your accident attorney does not send a demand letter until you complete medical treatment and reach maximum medical improvement. Settling a claim before your doctor determines whether you sustained a permanent impairment could result in a much lower settlement amount.
Therefore, your recovery period is a significant factor in determining a settlement timeline. For example, if it takes eight months to recover from your injuries, a demand letter might not be sent to the company until almost a year after your accident.
After your doctor releases you, your attorney must calculate the value of your damages. That means they must have the final totals for all economic damages, including your medical bills, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses.
If you sustained permanent impairments, your lawyer might retain financial professionals, medical specialists, and other expert witnesses to provide an estimate of your future economic damages. At the same time, your lawyer spends time detailing your non-economic damages.
Other Factors That Could Impact How Long It Takes To Receive a Demand Letter Response
Other factors could lengthen the time it takes for an insurance company to respond to a demand letter. Factors that lengthen the settlement timeline include:
- Disputes related to liability for damages
- Lengthy settlement negotiations
- Multiple parties involved in the claim
- Allegations of contributory fault or failure to mitigate damages
- Whether you have a pre-existing condition or prior injury
- Mistakes and errors made in the paperwork or documentation
- The volume of cases the insurance company is processing
- Insurance company bad faith
You can expect cases involving catastrophic injuries and complex factors to take longer to settle. An insurance company may take several weeks to review the demand letter before responding. In addition, the company may include its legal counsel in the review, which could also slow down the process.
Suppose an insurance company refuses to respond to a demand letter. In that case, your Houston personal injury attorney may determine the company is acting in bad faith and advise you to proceed with filing a personal injury lawsuit and a bad-faith claim.
Filing a lawsuit lengthens the time it takes to receive a settlement for your personal injury claim. However, filing a lawsuit and taking the case to court might be the only way to protect your right to fair compensation for damages after an accident. It is also the only way for you to obtain a punitive damages award if your lawyer believes your case justifies an award of punitive damages.
How Can You Speed Up the Settlement Process?
You cannot speed up the healing process for your injuries. However, you can help speed up the settlement process by responding promptly to requests from your lawyer. Provide documentation of expenses and costs, so your attorney can add those to the value of your claim.
Your lawyer will not rush to a settlement that is not in your best interest. Rather, a good personal injury lawyer will diligently work to settle your case to get you the money you need after an accident.
Contact the Houston Personal Injury Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers
3120 Southwest Freeway, Suite 350
Houston, TX 77098
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – East Fwy
11811 East Fwy, Suite 630-06
Houston, TX 77029
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – South Loop
2600 S Loop W, Suite 293
Houston, TX 77054