My husban was in an accident in Feb 2012. The other person was at fault, but the insurance company still has not settled with us. Is there a dead line for them to settle this? Can we also file a medical claim from our auto insurance.
The insurance company will likely not settle with you until you agree to accept an amount far lower than you are entitled to. As long as the insurance company delays paying you they will accrue interest on money that otherwise will be paid out much later. Insurance companies have no financial interest in paying claims, justified or not. I would recommend contacting a personal injury attorney who is experienced in dealing with automobile accidents and negotiating with insurance companies.
Additionally, if you are seeking medical treatment and lack health insurance, you will want to receive medical treatment on a lien basis. There are many doctors who will not treat on a lien because they are, justifiably, concerned about being paid. However, I work with many doctors in Savannah that will treat my clients and wait to be paid until the case has either settled or gone to verdict. If you would like to discuss your case please feel free to contact me on my toll free number below. Good luck.
Aaron Marks, Esq.
The Marks Law Group, LLC
103 W. Dearborn Circle
Decatur, GA 30030
As an initial matter, if you are represented by an attorney, you should direct these questions to him/her. However, I assume since you have submitted your question here that you do not have an attorney. I also assume you are asking about a personal injury claim rather than damage to your vehicle.
With those assumptions in mind, I am sorry to say that there is no hard and fast deadline by which an insurance company MUST settle with you. In fact, they do not have to settle with your husband ever. This is true even when basic fairness says they should, and even if you make a settlement demand and give them a deadline. All too often insurance companies "deny, delay, and defend" instead of acting reasonably.
Do not count on the other driver's insurance company to look out for your interests, particularly if you are not represented by an attorney.
Please also be aware that while the insurance company does not have a deadline to settle your claim, you do have a deadline to preserve your claim. In Georgia, you must file a lawsuit within 2 years of the date of the incident that caused the bodily injury. While there are some small exceptions that can extend that time, the smartest approach for you to take is to make sure you follow the 2 year rule.
As for your second question, your husband may be able to file a claim with your own car insurance company if there is medical payments coverage on your policy. Call your insurance company or check with your agent to see if you have that type of coverage and, if so, how he can pursue that claim. Even if you have that coverage, you still have the right to pursue your claim against the other driver's insurance company.
Finally, the best advice anyone can give you is to seek out an attorney to represent you on this claim. Studies show that insurance companies will place a significantly higher value on your claim if you have a lawyer, and it is usually not a good idea to handle things by yourself. Good luck.
There is no deadline within which an insurer is legally required to pay your husband's claim. There is, however, a restrictive timeline in which you have to file your claim via a lawsuit or risk having it time barred. In Georgia, most injury claims must be filed within 2 years of the date of the incident. Many insurance companies train their adjusters to continually put off paying a claim until you are up against this statute of limitations, then try to convince you to take a much smaller sum than the case is actually worth. I highly recommend you speak with an injury attorney sooner rather than later to pressure the insurer to pay you now or file suit if they do not.
To answer your second question, your medical bills may be paid by your auto insurer if you have medical payments coverage. This is a no-fault type coverage and is also referred to as medpay. Depending on your coverage, it may pay up to the first $1,000, $5,000, or more in medical expenses incurred. However, the liability carrier is still responsible for paying the full value of your claim and is not entitled to a setoff for any medical expenses paid by medpay or your health insurer. Again, I highly encourage you to speak with an injury attorney about this case quickly to discuss how you should proceed.
You have some good responses from the other attorneys. Keep in mind the insurance company knows if they are dealing with you directly they have the upper hand. They know what is legally required of them and what is not. They know you likely have had only a few accidents and little experience in this arena. They on the other hand have hundreds of cases with each a adjuster.
They also know if they either do not offer you money or offer you a low amount you will likely not take them on in court without hiring an attorney, and if you do, they will have a well qualified attorney to defend them someone with a great deal of experience.
So as long as they are speaking with you and not your attorney they are content to let time tick away in hopes that eventually you will give up frustrated or try to take them on without the help of an attorney.
On the other hand they also know if you have an attorney, he will provide them with case law and support to motivate them to pay for the wrongdoings of their insured or hold them accountable for potential bad faith claim. They know if an attorney goes to court or not. So hiring someone who does not go to court is no better than handling it yourself.
However if you hire someone who is willing to try a case and the insurance company knows that, you are likely to get results. Obviously your results will be based upon many factors such as type of medical treatment, type of injury, delays or gaps in medical treatment (depending upon injury), severity of the collision and many other factors.
Your claim is with the at-fault driver. You may have a claim against the insurance company but before you reach that point you have to pursue the at-fault driver.
You should speak soon with a personal injury attorney. At the very least call my office 770-948-5454 and request a copy of my book for people injured in car wreck claims.
Insurers will stonewall anyone who does not have a lawyer. If they do pay anything it will likely be far less than if you get counsel. You really needed a lawyer way back in February, and bear in mind each time you talk to an insurer without counsel you probably decrease the value of your claim. I'd be glad to offer a free consultation. 404-768-3509.
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