In Washington, insurance companies are required to respond to an accident victim within 10 days after they’ve been alerted to the accident. After a claim has been filed, the insurance company has 15 days to accept or reject the offer or request further time.
Dealing with Insurance Delays After a Spokane Accident
Suffering an injury like a broken leg in a car accident on Interstate 90 can leave you focused on little else but healing. It’s the same if you suffer a trip-and-fall injury in a Spokane supermarket and seriously hurt your knee.
Recovery from those injuries is the number one goal, but unfortunately, the cost of your medical care after a personal injury accident can also be a heavy burden. Insurance companies for the negligent parties that caused your accident can make earning an adequate settlement check difficult.
Getting insurance adjusters to do the right thing and provide you with fair support is often difficult. However, you also have basic rights after an accident and insurance companies should respect your rights. They involve how long an insurance company can wait to acknowledge your claim, and how long they make you wait for support.
Washington Insurance Deadlines After a Car Accident
The first deadline you may wonder about is how long you have to file an injury claim after a traffic accident or any other sort of Spokane Personal Injury Accident.
Washington allows accident victims up to three years from the date of the accident to file a claim. This applies to injury cases and property damage incidents. This allows time in case an injury doesn’t seem all that serious, but months down the road becomes a major issue. That injury could leave you paying for medical bills you can’t afford while you’re out of work trying to heal.
However, generally, you’ll want to begin the claims process as soon after your accident as possible. It’s important to turn your case over to a skilled Spokane personal injury lawyer while evidence is still fresh and witnesses can still be tracked down.
Deadlines for an Insurance Company to Contact You
Once you’ve filed a claim over your accident and injury, Washington law requires insurance companies to acknowledge the receipt of your claim within 10 days. This requirement is laid out in WAC 284-30-360 (Washington Administrative Code).
The Code also requires that this response also include every required form so that you, the “first party,” can fill out the proper paperwork. This paperwork informs the insurance adjuster of all the damages you’ve suffered. You are alerting the insurance company of how much in support you are asking for.
WAC 284-30-360 “Upon receiving notification of a claim, every insurer must promptly provide necessary claim forms, instructions, and reasonable assistance so that first party claimants can comply with the policy conditions and the insurer’s reasonable requirements.”
Insurance Deadlines Once You’ve Submitted Your Claim
Within 15 days after you’ve submitted your paperwork, the insurance company must inform you of their decision to accept or reject your claim. If they are rejecting the claim you must receive a full explanation of the reason for refusal.
Additional Time for the Insurance Company
Insurance companies often take much longer to respond to your claim, unfortunately. If this is the case, Washington law still sides with victims and holds insurance companies to deadlines. As the first party, you should receive notice whenever the insurance party won’t meet the deadlines.
WAC 284-30-380 “If the insurer needs more time to determine whether a first party claim should be accepted or denied, it must notify the first party claimant within fifteen working days after receipt of the proofs of loss giving the reasons more time is needed. If after that time the investigation remains incomplete, the insurer must notify the first party claimant in writing stating the reason or reasons additional time is needed for investigation. This notification must be sent within forty-five days after the date of the initial notification and, if needed, additional notice must be provided every thirty days after that date explaining why the claim remains unresolved.”
What to Do If an Insurance Company Fails to Meet Deadlines in Washington
The truth is that insurance companies fall short of these deadlines quite often and usually get away with it. They may be backed up and dealing with lots of claims at once. But they may also be purposely keeping victims waiting, knowing they’ll get more and more desperate as their bills pile up. At times this is an insurance tactic to get victims desperate enough to accept any settlement offer made.
You aren’t powerless though. When you feel an insurance company isn’t treating you fairly or is violating state code, you may report it to the Washington State Insurance Commissioner. You can begin the process to file an official complaint here.
To get immediate help when you’re having issues with an insurance provider, it’s always a good idea to speak with a legal professional like the attorneys at CCD Law Serving victims in Spokane, Eastern Washington, and Northern Idaho.
Skilled attorneys are used to dealing with the tactics insurance companies use on helpless victims. They know how to force insurance companies to treat victims fairly and call out insurance adjusters when they are violating state policy and/or acting unethically.
Contact CCD for a Free Consultation After a Washington Accident
If you or a loved one are facing unreasonable delays from insurance companies as you simply try to secure fair support, speak with a Spokane Personal Injury Lawyer.
You may also feel you are being unfairly blamed by an insurance company or being offered far less than what you need in a settlement. Don’t feel like you have to accept this treatment in silence.
Discuss what’s happening to you and your family in a free case consultation. There’s no risk in contacting CCD Law of Spokane for a free strategy session. It’s a confidential way to find out how much your case may really be worth and to hear about the benefits that are available.
If you feel you need help protecting your interests in an insurance claim, you won’t need any money to hire us. We don’t get paid unless we win your case and earn compensation for you.