How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Investigate a Claim in Indiana?
While the amount of time an insurance company has to pay an auto insurance claim varies depending on the state, they have an obligation to ensure each and every claim is dealt with in an efficient and fair manner.
In most cases, insurance companies are encouraged to investigate claims and make a decision as quickly as possible. However, it's important to note that once the first has decided to cover the insurance claim, they need to make the payment within a reasonable time period. Now, how long is this timeframe?
In some states, this is governed by law; however, others don't, making the answer quite unclear.
Are There Time Limits on the Insurance Claims Process in Indiana?
How long does an insurance company have to investigate a claim in Indiana? There is no specific or stipulated timeframe under the state's laws.
However, there are specific provisions relating to time frames and deadlines:
In terms of Ind. Code § 27-4-1-4.5(2) - (12), insurance companies are required to acknowledge and act promptly relating to communications regarding insurance policy claims.
Furthermore, they are required to adopt and implement reasonable standards related to the prompt investigation of claims arising under insurance policies.
Within a reasonable amount of time, the insurance company must inform the claimant if their claim has been approved or rejected.
After the insured has completed and submitted the necessary evidence of loss requirements (e.g. medical bills and lost wages) as per the policy, the insurer must confirm or deny coverage of claims within a reasonable amount of time.
An insurer is required to make a good faith effort to settle disputes with reasonable certainty of culpability quickly, fairly, and equitably in terms of Ind. Code 27-4-1-4.5(6).
Furthermore, the insurance company is prohibited from delaying the investigation or settlement of claims by requesting that an insured, a claimant, or the treating physician to submit a preliminary report and a formal proof of loss form, which essentially contain the same information.
The Insured Party Has a Right to Sue
The insurance information in the policy often contains a deadline for bringing legal action in connection with a claim. To identify that deadline, inspect the policy for a "suit against us" or similarly phrased language. Usually, it's 12 months from the date of the loss or the day the insurer officially ends the claim process. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also provide insight on who's at fault in rear-end truck accidents.
To prevent losing legal rights and the leverage those rights offer the insured party to obtain a just settlement on a claim, it is best to consult with an experienced Indiana state attorney about the state's regulations regarding litigation deadlines, which may extend the time frame specified in the policy.
What to Do if an Insurance Adjuster Delays the Claim in Indiana
Insurance companies have a reputation for making it challenging for accident victims in Indiana to obtain the compensation they deserve. The insurance industry's "delay, deny, defend" technique has been extensively covered in the media and even in books.
This is a strategy when insurers first attempt to unnecessarily prolong the claims process, then deny the claim or fail to offer a reasonable claim settlement, and lastly, choose to fight the case in court even though there's no reason to do so.
These strategies are illegal in some cases. Like many other states, Indiana state laws have a law against unfair claims settlement practices, which is found in Indiana Code 27-4-1-4.5. This law mandates that insurers respond to communications about claims in a reasonable amount of time, promptly examine claims, and refrain from refusing to pay claims before making a reasonable investigation.
Once liability is reasonably evident to the insurer, it is expected to make a good faith effort to make a fast, fair, and equitable settlement of the victim's claim.
Victims may have legal recourse directly against their own insurer for a breach of its duty of fair dealing and good faith if it fails to comply with this law. Although individuals cannot sue the other party's insurance agent directly if they act unfairly, there are ways to report them to the Indiana Insurance Commissioner, who may levy civil fines on the insurer.
Keep detailed documents of all the costs and medical records, and be persistent if the at-fault party's insurance company refuses to pay or is dragging its feet on the accident claim. This is why hiring a personal injury Indianapolis vehicle accident attorney is one of the best courses of action.
Most of the time, a lawyer can follow up with an insurance provider, insist that they comply with the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act's standards, and take legal action against them if they don't.
How to Help Speed up the Insurance Claim Process
While insurance companies are known for causing unnecessary delays, a few ways victims can ensure they get an efficient investigation include:
Contact the police straight after the accident occurs and obtain a copy of the police report.
Obtaining and keeping receipts of all hospital bills and providing them to the insurance company.
Carry on receiving the required medical treatment resulting from the accident.
Contact a Reliable Personal Injury Lawyer to Handle Difficult Insurance Companies
Anyone who has been involved in a car accident needs to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to ensure they increase their chances of receiving a fair settlement. An attorney will work tirelessly to make sure their clients fully understand the value of their accident-related losses and expenses, which will prevent victims from accepting low settlement offers. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also advise on questions like, "Who pays for medical bills in a car accident in Indiana?"
At Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, our compassionate and dedicated lawyers are willing to go to war with insurance companies so that our clients recover the damages they deserve. While insurance agents are required to investigate claims timeously, this isn't always the case. Fortunately, victims can contact us at (833) 692-5038 to ensure the same doesn't apply to their personal injury case.