How Long Does It Take an Insurance Company to Pay Out a Claim?

Monday, November 23, 2020

Most personal injury claimants want to expedite the insurance claims process as much as possible. They are dealing with expensive medical bills, property damage and lost wages, in most cases. They want to complete the insurance process and receive a check for benefits right away. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to speed up an insurance claim. Different companies have different ways of processing claims. However, each state has rules requiring insurance companies to respond to claims within a certain amount of time.

The Insurance Claims Process in Texas

After you file an injury claim with your insurance company or that of the at-fault party, you will have to wait for the company to assign a claims adjuster to get back to you. The adjuster may call you as soon as the day of your accident, or it may take several days. The amount of time you will wait depends on the company and the number of claims it is currently processing. It will also depend on the law in your state.

15 Days to Acknowledge Your Claim

In Texas, an insurance company legally has no more than 15 days from the date it receives your initial claim to issue a response. The insurance company must notify you within 15 days that it received your claim and has begun processing it. Typically, the insurance company will send you basic claims information and a Proof of Loss Form to fill out when it initially responds to your claim. You will need to fill out this form and submit it to continue the insurance process.

Approval or Denial Within 15 Days of Receiving Your Proof of Loss Form

It is important to wait until you fully understand your injuries and how long they will take to heal, as well as the cost of future treatments, before submitting your Proof of Loss Form and medical documentation. You should wait until your point of maximum medical improvement – the date a doctor believes you will heal as much as you ever will. Waiting until this point can delay your insurance claim, but it can be important if you wish to obtain full compensation for serious injuries. Once you submit your Proof of Loss Form, the insurance company legally has 15 days to review your information and either approve or deny your claim.

45 Days With a Valid Reason

The insurance company can extend the 15-day investigation period to 45 days if it gives you a valid reason. With an acceptable explanation, the insurance company can wait until 45 days after receiving your Proof of Loss Form to accept or deny benefits in Texas.

  • Further investigation needed
  • Inadequate medical documentation
  • Requests for more information
  • Liability dispute
  • Lack of insurance coverage available

If you believe the reason the insurance company gave you for extending its investigation is invalid or does not apply to your case, ask for an internal review. You may also wish to contact a lawyer about potential insurance bad faith. Delaying a claim without reason is a common example of bad faith, or an insurance company intentionally mishandling your claim to save money.

Can You Expedite an Insurance Claim?

The average insurance claim takes about three months to achieve a payout. If your case has complicating factors, however, it could take longer to resolve. Although most personal injury claims in Texas settle at the insurance stage, if your claim needs to go to trial, expect it to take one year or longer to receive a payout.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer to negotiate your insurance claim or injury lawsuit for you can expedite the claims process. Your lawyer can cut time off of your claim wherever possible, such as by submitting full information and documentation regarding your injuries right away. A lawyer can also help you take legal action if an insurance company is guilty of an unreasonable claim delay. A lawyer will let you know how long it will most likely take an insurance company to pay out your claim from the very beginning, so you know what to expect.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 2:50 am

Can I File a Personal Injury Claim for COVID-19?

Friday, November 20, 2020

The COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic brought with it new risks, problems and questions. The world has had to adapt swiftly to a constantly evolving situation. No industry was left unaffected, including the legal sector. Personal injury law responded by offering the opportunity to file injury cases for COVID-19-related losses, in some circumstances. Find out if you have grounds for a personal injury claim during a free consultation with a lawyer in Texas.

Did You Contract COVID-19 at Work?

Contracting the coronavirus in itself will not constitute grounds for a personal injury claim. You will need proof that someone was negligent and that this is why you contracted the virus. A common example is contracting COVID-19 at work. Your employer has a legal responsibility to keep you reasonably safe from injuries and illnesses, including the coronavirus.
If your employer negligently failed to keep you safe, such as by forcing you to return to work without taking the proper precautions or sanitary measures, you could have grounds for a claim against your employer for contracting the virus. You may be eligible for workers’ compensation in Texas, or else be able to bring an injury claim against the company.

Did You Contract COVID-19 on a Cruise Ship?

Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that cruise ships are more likely to transmit COVID-19 than most other settings due to the enclosed spaces, dense populations and close living situations. Furthermore, the CDC says that decreasing populations onboard cruise ships without taking other mitigation measures will not protect passengers. If you were a passenger or crewmember on a cruise ship when you contacted COVID-19, you may have grounds for a negligence claim against the cruise line for failing to take proper precautions in preventing the illness.

Did You Lose a Loved One Due to COVID-19 Medical Malpractice?

Most hospitals and health care workers have done their best to stop the spread of COVID-19 and care for infected patients. Some facilities, however, have not taken the proper steps to ensure patient care or protection. Medical malpractice such as failing to maintain a safe premises, lack of sanitation protocols and lack of proper employee training could lead to hazards for patients, such as a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission. If you suffered adverse health complications or lost a loved one due to medical malpractice during the pandemic, you may have grounds for a claim against the health care center or emergency room.

Was a Nursing Home Negligent in Caring for Your Loved One During the Pandemic?

The elderly are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. They have the highest odds of developing severe and life-threatening symptoms. It is especially important during this time for nursing homes to take care of their residents. Nursing homes must take reasonable steps to prevent disease transmission, such as hand-washing stations, staff member training, premises sanitation and quarantining residents when necessary. If a nursing home failed to properly care for its residents and this led to your loved one’s illness or death related to COVID-19, you may have grounds to bring a claim against the nursing home in Texas.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Legal Processes?

If you believe you can file a personal injury claim for COVID-19, contact a personal injury lawyer right away for legal assistance. The pandemic has impacted normal legal processes. You may have to file online, for example, rather than submitting your claim to a courthouse directly. Your case may take longer to resolve due to backups in your city’s court system. You may also need to wait longer to file if your medical treatment or surgery has been delayed due to the virus. Note that some states have tolled personal injury statutes of limitations, while others have not. In Texas, the Supreme Court ordered the suspension of some time limits for lawsuits. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to find out how COVID-19 might affect your case.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 12:16 pm

How Can I Speed Up My Personal Injury Claim?

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The aftermath of an accident can be extremely confusing for you as an injured victim. Your need for financial support may be urgent as you deal with expensive property repairs and medical bills. Unfortunately, insurance benefits are not immediate. It could take a few months to resolve your claim, at the earliest. Some cases take one year or longer to complete. The best way to expedite your claim is by hiring a personal injury attorney. A lawyer can walk you through all the different ways you may be able to speed up your claim.

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

Handling your personal injury claim alone could lead to making mistakes that slow down the processing of your case. A lawyer will have all the tips and tricks on how to speed up a claim from years of experience, such as settling with an insurance company rather than going to trial. A lawyer will know whether it is possible to speed up your claim without compromising its resolution. If so, your lawyer can take steps toward cutting time off the claims process, such as filing your case promptly and hiring the right experts. Working with a lawyer from the very beginning of your injury claim can ensure the fastest, most efficient and most effective claims process possible.

Avoid Common Filing Mistakes

One of the ways in which a lawyer could potentially speed up your personal injury claim is by avoiding mistakes that interfere with claims processing. Unrepresented claimants can accidentally skip steps or miss requirements when filing their causes of action. This can force the courts to return the claim paperwork for corrections or to request more information. Going back and forth with the courts or an insurance company due to preventable paperwork errors can add a great deal of time to your claim. If you wish to avoid common filing errors and expedite claims processing, have a lawyer in Texas fill out and submit the paperwork for you.

Submit Proper Injury Documentation

An insurance company may reject your claim or ask for additional evidence if you fail to submit enough proof of your injuries and losses with your initial claim. This is a frequent issue that impacts the insurance company’s ability to process your claim. You may be able to speed up insurance claim processing by providing adequate injury documentation and evidence the first time around. Work with an attorney to collect and submit an appropriate amount of injury evidence for your insurance claim or lawsuit.

  • Written summary of facts
  • Photographs
  • Video footage
  • Copy of a police report
  • Statements from eyewitnesses
  • Medical records and bills
  • Insurance policy information
  • Pay stubs

A personal injury lawyer can help you gather all of the evidence available to support your claim. Then, your lawyer can submit this information to the insurance company on your behalf. Submitting all of the available evidence from the beginning could speed up the claims process by eliminating the need for the insurance company to contact you again for more information.

Be Patient – Some Claims Take Time

It is normal to want to expedite your injury claim and resolve it as quickly as possible. After all, you are most likely dealing with expensive hospital bills, losses of income and many other damages. It is important to recognize, however, that the claims process can take a while. Being impatient and settling too early could lead to an award amount that far underestimates the true value of your case. This can be dangerous, as once you accept a settlement, you cannot go back and request a higher award, even if the settlement does not fully cover your financial needs. A personal injury lawyer can help you speed up the legal process as much as possible while still fighting to achieve a suitable outcome.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 12:27 pm

What’s the Difference Between Personal Injury Claims and Lawsuits?

Friday, November 6, 2020

Accident victims often picture large courtrooms and jury trials when they think of personal injury cases. In reality, the vast majority of personal injury cases do not go to trial. They settle at the insurance stage, with successful negotiations between the defendant’s insurance company and the plaintiff. For the most part, if you wish to seek compensation for an injury, you will have a personal injury claim, not a lawsuit. Learn the difference between the two to better understand what to expect from your case.

What Is a Personal Injury Claim?

A personal injury claim refers to an insurance claim, where an injured accident victim files for benefits from an insurance company. A personal injury claim can go through the victim’s own insurance company or the insurer of the party at fault for causing the accident. The insurance company that receives the claim depends on the circumstances of the accident, as well as the laws in your state. Texas is a fault-based insurance state, meaning an insurance claim will go to the at-fault party after an auto accident.
During an insurance claim for a personal injury, an insurance claims adjuster will review the facts of your case and all submitted documentation. The adjuster will look at your medical records, police reports, photographs and other evidence connected to your claim. The adjuster may also call you and ask for a recorded statement. It is best not to give this statement until you have spoken to a personal injury lawyer. The claims adjuster will decide whether to recommend to the insurance company to accept or deny your claim.
If the insurance company accepts your claim, it will offer a base settlement amount. It is up to you or your lawyer to either accept the initial settlement offer or negotiate for a higher amount. A lawyer can help you negotiate with the insurance company to successfully settle your claim. Most injury claims in Texas resolve at this stage of the process. If, however, the insurance company unfairly denies your claim or offers less than your lawyer thinks your case is worth, the case may go to the lawsuit stage.

What Is a Lawsuit?

A personal injury lawsuit may be necessary if you cannot reach a settlement with the insurance company. You will need to obey your statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit. In Texas, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of your accident or the date that you discovered your injury. A lawsuit has several steps you and your lawyer will need to navigate.

  • Claims filing. Filing requires submitting the correct paperwork to the civil courts in the county where your accident occurred, where you live or where the defendant lives. Your claim will list the damages you are seeking from the defendant.
  • The discovery phase gives both sides of the case the chance to investigate the accident further. Discovery often involves depositions, witness interviews, subpoenas for evidence and documents, and accident reconstruction.
  • Injury trial. When your court date arrives, you and your attorney will go to trial in your county. At a personal injury trial, both sides will present their arguments to a judge and jury. Your trial may require multiple hearings.
  • After listening to arguments from both sides, a jury will decide whether the defendant most likely caused or did not cause your injuries. If a jury rules in your favor, it will award an amount it deems appropriate for your losses.

If someone else’s negligence injured you, contact a personal injury lawyer for assistance with your claim. A lawyer can increase the chances of successfully settling your case at the insurance claim stage. Having a lawyer support your claim can force an insurance company to treat you more fairly. If settlement negotiations fail, your lawyer can also represent you at an injury trial in Texas.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 12:30 pm

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

A personal injury can be devastating in many ways. Before you attempt to work through the complicated aspects of an injury claim, consider if hiring an attorney would be in your best interests. An attorney can make the claims process easier a difficult time. Whether or not you need a lawyer will depend on the facts of your case. If you think you could benefit from hiring a Dallas personal injury lawyer, schedule a free consultation with us to discuss legal representation.

Experience and Legal Knowledge

As a first-time claimant, you may not know how the insurance or lawsuit process works. A lawyer will have the on-the-job experience to help you work through legal processes. Hiring a lawyer can save you time, money and stress. Your lawyer can help you avoid mistakes such as failing to file within Texas’s statute of limitations. A lawyer can also provide an accurate case evaluation so you can seek the right amount of damages from the beginning.

Connections With Doctors and Experts

The success of your personal injury claim may come down to the strength of your arguments. As the injured party, is your burden to prove that someone else caused or significantly contributed to your injuries. Fulfilling this burden of proof requires a preponderance of the evidence, or enough evidence to show the defendant’s fault as more likely to be true than not true. A lawyer will have connections with people who can help you build a strong case against the defendant, such as medical experts. A lawyer will also have relationships with doctors in your city so you can receive the best possible medical care for your injuries.

Negotiation Expertise

After you file an injury claim in Texas, you will need to negotiate with the insurance company for fair benefits. The insurance company will assess the grounds on which you are bringing your case, as well as the evidence and documentation you submitted. If the insurance company accepts your claim, it will offer a settlement. It will be up to you or your lawyer to negotiate with the insurance company for a fair amount. Hiring a lawyer can improve your ability to negotiate with an insurance provider. Your lawyer can most likely achieve better results than you could on your own using aggressive negotiation tactics.

Trial Capabilities

Although most personal injury cases in Texas settle without going to trial, some require hearings. If an insurance company refuses to offer an amount your lawyer believes is fair or denies your claim outright, your lawyer can help you take the defendant to court. Going to court can force a defendant to pay the full amount of your past and future damages. Working with a trial lawyer from the beginning gives you court capabilities. In many cases, the ability to go to court is enough to pressure an insurance company into offering a better settlement. If this is not the case, your lawyer will be able to represent you during a personal injury trial in Texas instead.

No Fees Unless You Win

Most personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. This payment arrangement means the law firm will not charge a client for legal services unless the attorney succeeds in achieving a financial award. A contingency fee payment arrangement can benefit you by relieving stress related to how you will afford an attorney. You will have zero financial risks connected to pursuing a claim. No legal fees unless you win also motivates the lawyer to work hard on your case. Your attorney will not get paid unless he or she succeeds in securing you a positive settlement or jury verdict.

Peace of Mind

Perhaps most importantly, hiring a personal injury lawyer can give you peace of mind during what may be the hardest time of your life. Your lawyer can answer questions you have about your case or the claims process in general, as well as quell your concerns. You do not have to handle a personal injury case in Texas alone. Hiring a lawyer gives you a trusted advocate who will stand next to you during insurance negotiations or a lawsuit.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 2:47 pm

10 Factors That Impact the Value of Your Personal Injury Case

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

While an insurance company will use a formula to calculate the value of a personal injury case, this is simply a starting point. Many factors affect the final value of an injury claim in Texas. If you wish to receive an honest and accurate evaluation of the value of your claim, contact a personal injury attorney near you.

Where You File

The state, city and county where you file your personal injury case can make a difference to the final financial outcome. Different municipalities place higher values on different factors during a claim. The final value can depend on case precedence in the state or area, as well as the feelings of the judges and jurors.

Severity of the Injury

One of the largest factors that will impact the value of your personal injury case is the severity of your injury. In general, minor personal injuries will receive less in compensation than serious injuries. This is due to the expenses connected to a severe personal injury. A temporary disability, for example, will require weeks or months off of work. This will lead to a larger lost wage award than a more minor injury.

Permanent Scarring, Disability or Disfigurement

If your accident gave you permanent injuries, such as a brain injury or spinal cord injury, your clan will generally be worth more money. The courts evaluate permanent injuries based on lifelong damages, including live-in care and physical therapy. The same is true if your claim involves permanent scarring, disfigurement, organ damage or loss of limb. Permanent injuries come with a lifetime of damages.

Medical Documentation

The amount of medical documentation you have supporting your personal injury can impact the final value of your claim. An insurance company will need to see clear and strong evidence of your injuries and related medical expenses before it will offer a fair settlement. Collecting copies of your medical records, doctor’s notes, prescriptions and treatment plans can help you receive greater compensation for your personal injury.

Pain and Suffering Multiplier

The courts calculate pain and suffering damage awards using a multiplier, in many cases. This is a number the courts will multiply your economic damages by to come up with an accurate amount in pain and suffering. The value of the multiplier will affect the value of your claim. Many factors can affect a multiplier. For example, you could receive a higher multiplier if your injuries are permanent or severe.

Witness Credibility

Your case may involve both eyewitnesses and expert witnesses to testify on your behalf. The credibility of your witnesses is important to the strength of your claim. Credible witnesses who give strong testimonies can bolster your claim to damages, while witnesses who are not credible can hurt your case.

Comparative Negligence

Your shared fault for the accident or injury could negatively impact the value of your claim. If the defendant proves that you were partially responsible for the accident, this could reduce your recovery amount in Texas. If the defendant shows that you were more than 50% to blame for the accident, you may not receive any compensation.

Insurance Available

If the negligent party does not have adequate insurance, you may be unable to recover compensation for the full extent of your losses. The amount of insurance available, therefore, is a significant factor in the final value of your case.

Number of Defendants

One of the ways to combat a lack of insurance is to identify more than one defendant. This will give you numerous insurance companies from which to seek damages. Have an attorney investigate your claim for signs of multiple at-fault parties before you file.

A Sympathetic Jury

Most personal injury cases end via insurance settlements. If your case goes to trial, however, the feelings of the jury will impact your verdict. Having a sympathetic jury, along with a lawyer who excels at demonstrating your losses, can maximize the value of your case.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 1:15 pm