An accident in Georgia can leave you with thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages. Understandably, you’re probably stressing about how soon you can get the money you deserve. Unfortunately, insurance companies are constantly looking for ways to reduce what they pay. They might challenge your injury claim and try to offer you less.
If you file your claim and ultimately win a fair settlement, you will then need to wait for your settlement check in the mail. Some insurance companies will put off doing this for as long as possible. However, there are state deadlines that the company must follow. This entire battle with the insurance company is a good reason to hire a personal injury lawyer.
What Are the Deadlines For Paying Out Insurance Claims in Georgia?
The deadlines for when insurance companies have to pay out claims vary from state to state. In fact, some states do not even have set rules for this. But Georgia does.
Here are the deadlines to know for insurance companies in Georgia.
Acknowledging a Claim
Once you have sent a personal injury claim to the insurance company, they have 15 days to acknowledge they have received it. That must be within 15 days of the date you filed the claim.
Sending Proof of Loss Forms
In addition to acknowledging that they received your claim, insurance companies also have 15 days to send you proof of loss forms and instructions for completing them. These forms give details about your damages. It’s meant to ensure that your claim is honest and can be supported with evidence.
Accepting or Denying Claim
After the insurance company receives the completed proof of loss forms, they then have 15 days to either accept or deny your claim. If they did not need proof of loss forms, they would have 30 days from the date you filed to accept or deny.
Requesting More Time
If the insurance company requests more time to accept or deny a claim, they may have 60 days from the filing of your claim to send their decision. If they do not request additional time, they must send a decision to you within five days of the initial deadline.
Finally, Paying an Accident Claim
Hopefully, the insurance company will accept your claim. If that happens, they will have 10 days from the date they accept your claim to pay you. At this point, it might feel like you have been waiting forever for your payment.
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What if the Insurance Company is Late in Sending Out Their Payment?
Missing any of the deadlines above is bad news for an insurance company. If you do not get your accident claim payment within the deadline, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer right away. Either something went wrong or the insurer is exercising bad faith or unfair claims practices.
Under Georgia Code section §33-6-34, there are various ways an insurance company may perform unfair settlement practices. Examples include:
- Failing to provide necessary forms within 15 days
- Not giving “a reasonable and accurate explanation” of why a claim was denied
- Knowingly misrepresenting relevant facts to you as the claimant
- Not paying a claim within the deadline
When an insurance company engages in unfair and unlawful practices, they can face fines and other penalties. An attorney can offer you options as you may have grounds to bring a bad faith insurance claim against the insurer. A successful bad faith claim may lead to additional compensation on top of the payment for your original claim.
How You Can Speed Up the Claims Process
You can’t control the insurance companies or the laws, but there are certain measures you can take to speed the claims process along.
- Know your policy
- Document your claim carefully, from the very beginning, and collect evidence
- Submit a complete “proof of loss” form with as much detail as you can give
- Contact a lawyer who can help you understand your rights and options
Georgia Statute of Limitations for Accident Claims
In Georgia, there is a two-year statute of limitations for taking legal action after a personal injury. This timeline begins on the date of your accident. If you try to file your lawsuit after this set deadline, your claim will likely be denied, no matter how serious your pain may be.
It is in your best interest to get a free legal consultation as soon as possible. Not only do you want to act within the statute of limitations, but evidence to prove negligence may be lost or damaged if you wait. The sooner a legal team gets to work, the better your chances of recovering maximum compensation are.
Get Help With Your Claim From a Personal Injury Lawyer
Don’t let the insurance company leave you wondering or feeling unsure. If you were injured at the fault of someone else, you should not have to pay for your damages. John Foy & Associates can make sure the insurer is held accountable for what is your legal right.
With more than 20 years of experience in personal injury law, we know how to handle any issues that arise during the insurance claim process. Call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get matched with the best lawyer for your situation during a FREE consultation.