Accidents are always stressful, but you have relief in knowing the insurance company will coverage the damages. Unfortunately, insurance is a big business and insurers are notorious for trying to reduce, deny, and delay claims. They are much more interested in retaining their profits than they are providing you with the compensation you deserve. If your insurance company has routinely delayed paying out on your claim, you should speak to a personal injury attorney that can help speed up your claim. Here’s what you can do if your insurance company is stalling on a claim.
The experienced southern Illinois personal injury lawyers at Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC focus on workers’ compensation, personal injury and social security disability cases. Contact us today to request a free case evaluation.
Why is the Insurance Company Stalling?
Insurance companies typically delay claims for one of three of the following reasons:
- They require additional records from you, such as the accident or medical report
- They think your claim is fraudulent and is investigating further
- The insurance company is acting in bad faith and hoping that if they delay the claim, you will grow tired of it and take a lower settlement than it is worth, or drop the claim altogether
Determine If the Insurance Company is Breaking the Law
Neither Missouri nor Illinois requires insurance companies to pay out on claims in a certain amount of time. However, insurers do have to respond to claims in a timely manner.
Under Illinois law, insurance companies must respond to a claim within 15 days of the request. This does not mean the insurer must settle the claim within that time. It only means they must tell you that they received your claim and whether they will accept or deny it.
Insurance companies in Missouri are governed by the Department of Commerce and Insurance. According to the Failure to Acknowledge Pertinent Communication rule, the insurance company must acknowledge receipt of your claim within ten working days. Once you submit your claim forms, the insurer has 15 days to inform you of whether they plan to accept or deny your claim, according to the Standards for Prompt, Fair, and Equitable Settlement of Claims rule. They are not required at this point, however, to notify you of a settlement amount.
In neither Missouri and Illinois does the law outline a specific amount of time an insurer has to pay out on a claim. In both states though, insurers are required to provide the settlement amount within a reasonable period of time. If you feel as though the insurance company is stalling, speak to a personal injury attorney who can help expedite your claim.
What to Do if Your Claim is Delayed
While a lawyer is a great help to have if the insurance company is stalling on your claim, there are some things you can do as well to help ensure your claim proceeds in a timely manner.
First, collect all of the documents associated with your claim, including photographs, reports from the insurance adjuster, medical records, and quotes and estimates. Store all of the documents pertaining to your accident and any communication with the insurance company in one safe place. When insurance companies are trying to stall on a claim, they may try to tell you that it is because they do not have the necessary documents. If you have them on hand and can provide the insurance company with them right away, it can help speed up your claim.
If the insurance company is trying to delay your claim, you may have already spoken to them two or three times. Keep detailed notes of any conversation you have with the insurer, whether on the phone or through emails. A common stalling tactic insurance companies use is to redirect you to many different people, which quickly becomes tiring and confusing. Your own notes can help you remember who you spoke to and what was said during the conversations. Keep these notes in the same place you keep all other accident-related documents.
Lastly, cooperate as best you can with the insurance company. If you are dealing with your own insurance company, you are legally obligated to cooperate with the insurer as best you can. If you are dealing with someone else’s insurance company, the same obligation does not apply. You should always speak to a lawyer before talking to another person’s insurance company. These insurers will take your words out of context and use them against you, which will only further delay your claim.
Get Legal Help Today
If you have filed a claim with an insurance company and feel as though they are stalling on it, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC can help. Our experienced attorneys know how to deal with insurance companies to help ensure you receive your fair settlement as soon as possible. Contact us today to schedule a free case review.