How Long Do Insurers Have to Settle Car Accident Claims in California?

by Staff Blogger | February 13th, 2023

You can file a compensation claim for damages if you were injured due to another driver’s negligence in California. However, the timeline for receiving a payout from an insurance company can vary based on factors like the complexity of the accident and the insurer’s investigation.

The time it takes to receive a settlement also depends on the skill of your legal counsel. An experienced car accident attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers can help you understand the filing timeline and help you get your settlement as quickly as possible.

Dealing with Insurance Companies in California

To get a settlement for injuries you suffered in a car accident, you must deal with your insurance company and the negligent driver’s insurer.

Due to California’s pure comparative fault laws, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to get compensation. This doctrine allows drivers involved in an injury crash to seek damages according to their percentage of responsibility. Pure comparative fault lets you file for compensation even if you are 99% responsible for the collision.

Filing a claim requires completing claims forms, sending a demand letter, and submitting evidence like medical bills or W2s to support the amount you’re asking for. Once your claim has been filed, the insurance company will investigate to determine how much the claim is worth.

They may attempt to contact you during this time to offer you a low settlement or to get information they can use to lower your payout. Your attorney can negotiate on your behalf for a fair settlement, potentially helping you get your payout faster.

Dealing with Your Own Insurance Company

If the accident caused injuries, death, or property damage over $750, you must report it to your insurance provider and the California Highway Patrol within 10 days. The DMV may suspend your license if you don’t report the accident in time. You can also lose insurance coverage if you don’t inform your insurer of the crash.

You can file with your insurer for compensation if the other driver doesn’t have the minimum insurance required by California and you have uninsured motorists’ coverage on your policy. Your attorney can help you file per your insurance company’s claims process.

What Does the Timeline for a Car Accident Claim Look Like?

The timeline for a car accident claim is typically a few weeks to several months, depending on the case’s complexity. For straightforward cases filed immediately after an accident, an attorney can gather evidence and submit a demand letter in a week or two.

Complex cases may take longer. For example, if your case involves multiple parties or severe injuries, your attorney may need several weeks or months to speak to witnesses, gather reports, and access related records.

Insurance companies have 40 days to investigate the claim and send a notice of acceptance or denial. Finally, if you and the insurer agree on a settlement amount, they must pay within 30 days.

If you can’t agree on a settlement amount, your attorney can negotiate, but this will delay the time frame for receiving a settlement. However, you will likely receive a higher settlement by allowing your attorney to negotiate for a few more weeks or months. 

Schedule a Free Consultation with Berg Injury Lawyers

If you’ve been in a car accident in California and are dealing with an insurance claim, it’s important to have someone on your side who understands the process and can advocate for your rights.

The California car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers are dedicated to helping our clients get the compensation they deserve. We’ll work to ensure that your claim is handled fairly and efficiently and prevent insurance companies from delaying or lowering your settlement.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.