Auto insurance providers can be very slow when processing claims. In some cases, the insurance provider might simply have too many claims to process. However, in other cases, you may be dealing with an auto insurance provider who is operating in bad faith and is trying to delay the processing of your claim to hurt you.
The Goal of the Auto Insurance Provider
Auto insurance companies are trying to make as much money as possible. To accomplish this, they need to pay out the lowest settlements possible. The more that an auto insurance provider is able to delay a claim, the more likely that they think you will give up on the claim.
As time passes, evidence tends to disappear. Damaged property is repaired or replaced. Injuries heal. Witnesses forget what occurred during the accident. Some insurance providers hope that the passage of time will make it more difficult for you to make a strong case and will allow them to settle for less.
The Statute of Limitations
Each state has a statute of limitations that governs how much time a claimant has to file a lawsuit. If your claim is delayed long enough to exceed the statute of limitations, the insurance provider can technically still settle. However, most insurance providers will refuse to settle when they realize that you cannot sue them.
For this reason, involving an auto accident lawyer in your case is always a good idea. A lawyer can discuss with you the legal options you have and whether it might be a good idea to file a lawsuit. Even if you have filed a lawsuit, the insurance provider might be scared into settling with you if they realize that they will otherwise end up in court.
Bad Faith Tactics
When you are injured, you should expect the insurance provider to be contacting you immediately. Silence is always a warning sign that you may need to be involving an auto accident attorney in your case.
Even if the insurance provider is responsive, they might use stalling tactics such as requesting documents that are not necessary for your case. For this reason, you'll want to ask your attorney about whether the documents they are requesting are typical of what insurance providers request. You may be able to take legal action against the insurance provider for these bad faith tactics and the courts might choose to award punitive damages. Reach out to an auto accident lawyer to learn more.