When an accident occurs, one of the last things you want on your mind is dealing with an insurance company stalling your payment. Insurance companies are supposed to work with you — not against you — to determine your claim with fairness and in a timely manner.
Unfortunately, many insurance companies will try to stall the resolution of your case to avoid paying you the proper amount. What should you do if an insurance company is stalling?
Getting informed about the process can be very beneficial. You will have the information to realize when your insurer is delaying your payment too many times. The fastest way to set things in motion is by contacting a personal injury lawyer like Turbak Law Office P.C. to request a free consultation.
Vital knowledge about the insurance coverage process includes possible reasons your insurance company is stalling — and what you can do if they are. You should also understand what makes them obligated to provide a payment and discover the steps you can take to avoid stalling. Most importantly, you should know when to contact an attorney.
Why Is Your Insurance Company Stalling?
Not every insurance company is terrible. Although the business is just like any business (designed to turn a profit), not every company is intentionally trying to deny you rightful reparations. There are different reasons why insurance companies put off settlements, and not all of them are necessarily wrong.
Some reasons an insurance company might be stalling your payment include:
- They need additional documentation, like the accident report, to confirm your claim.
- Some insurance policy cases are suspicious. Companies might conduct an investigation to prove you are not making a false claim.
- An insurance company may have a company policy to deny all claims.
- Discouraging clients until they give up on their claim or settle for much less is an easy way to pay out less.
- Stalling can take long enough that some of the evidence gets lost or destroyed.
The first two reasons are entirely within an insurance company’s rights. Every insurance company needs all possible documentation to back up your claims for the insurance payout. If the case happened under strange circumstances, the insurance company would investigate the matter. Rather than stalling intentionally, they are making sure your claim is valid and protecting themselves from fraudulent claims.
However, the latter three explanations are some of reasons many people seek legal advice when dealing with some insurance companies. All of these are the types of stalling that give insurance companies a bad reputation: Acting in bad faith.
If your insurance company acts in bad faith, they are not trying to help you resolve the matter. Quite the opposite. They are trying to discourage you until you forget about the claim or accept a settlement far less than you deserve.
What Makes an Insurance Company Obligated to Respond to Your Claim?
You can quickly get confused about what is right and what is wrong or what is and is not within your rights when you are not familiar with the law. This lack of knowledge is one of the things many insurance companies use to their advantage.
You have to understand that all insurance companies work for their own benefit. Good or bad, they are not waiting eagerly to hand out money to every person who suffers an accident. Professional companies with years of experience may also do what they can to ensure they are not paying a penny more than they are supposed to. This is also what makes knowing what to do if an insurance company is stalling so crucial.
If they could act outside the legal system, some insurance companies would probably never make a single payout. There are, however, laws to keep these companies in check. State laws require insurance companies to settle with you within a limited period of time. This time frame is different from one state to the next. In most cases, it’s somewhere between 10 days to a month. If the insurer has not responded to your claim and the grace period has ended, they could even end up paying financial penalties — on top of the interest accumulating on the claim you made.
What to Do if Your Insurance Company Is Stalling
Every time you make an insurance claim, take every possible step to make sure the process goes smoothly and quickly. Do not procrastinate providing requested information, documentation, or any other required information. As time goes by, documents get lost, and witnesses forget what happened. Acting quickly is crucial when you are wondering what to do if your insurance company is stalling.
First, collect and organize all the records from the accident and keep them in one place. These documents may include but are not limited to:
- Medical records,
- The accident report,
- An adjuster’s report, and
- Witness’ information.
Some insurance adjusters may purposefully ask you for one document at a time. The more time passes, the higher the chances are that you will misplace or lose vital documents. Alternatively, in a busy company with a lot to do and lots of documents flying around, the company might conveniently lose one or two of your documents. When you keep copies of everything, safe and in one place, you can instantly send them what they need, without leaving anything to chance.
There are other good ways to keep track of your claim on your own end. Write down the name of every agents from your insurance companies you have contact with. You might write a brief summary of any phone calls. Any email exchanges between you and an agent should be saved in your email, printed, and stored in your accident file.
Finally, you must provide complete cooperation. If you want your claim to be resolved promptly, be available for your insurance company’s agents. Always be willing to provide them with any necessary information and documentation.
You should also be cautious with the insurer of any other party involved in the accident. Remember they, too, have an agenda. They might be getting information they need from you only to turn what you said against you.
When Should You Contact an Attorney?
Not all insurers are bad; some reasons for stalling are entirely justified — and could even benefit you in the end. However, stalling in bad faith and with no good reason is a serious red flag. If you have provided all necessary documentation and information, have complied with all their requests, and are still getting the run around? It’s time to call a lawyer who specializes in accidents and personal injuries.
Even if you do not feel confident your insurer is acting in bad faith, having legal representation on your side can help significantly with the entire process. Additionally, you have someone to fight for you while you go about the business of recovery.
For More Information
If you are trying to figure out what to do if your insurance company is stalling or you suspect they are acting in bad faith, find a legal representative immediately. Signs of an insurance company acting in bad faith include delays, discounts, or denial of payments without a reasonable basis. If you are experiencing this, contact Turbak Law Office P.C. and request a free consultation as soon as possible.