Illinois is a fault car accident state, meaning that collision victims have the right to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the drivers responsible for their injuries. A typical car accident can result in thousands of dollars in losses, from medical expenses and lost wages to property damage and pain and suffering.
If you are injured in a car accident, you may be anxious to receive a settlement as soon as possible after your collision. However, it could take months for the insurance company to resolve your case. The length of time that you can expect to receive compensation will vary based on the circumstances surrounding your case.
The Illinois Insurance Code does not specify when an insurance company must approve or deny a claim. Illinois insurers must issue a decision in your case within a reasonable time after you submit your documents. This timeframe can be as short as a few weeks to as long as a few months.
State law does specify, however, the amount of time the insurance company has to acknowledge your claim and pay out your settlement. Insurance companies have 15 days from receiving your initial claim to acknowledge the claim and send instructions and paperwork, such as proof-of-loss forms. If the company approves your claim, it has 30 days from the date of approval to make the final payment.
In most cases, car accident claims usually settle within one month. However, if your case involves complicated or unusual factors, the insurance company may need more time to investigate your case. If your case involves lack of evidence, requests for non-economic damages, multiple liable parties, or a policyholder who claims that you are responsible for the accident, your claim will likely take longer than 30 days.
One key reason as to why an insurance claim may take longer than usual involves maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI refers to the point where you have recovered as much as you can from your injury. You are unable to understand the full extent of your injuries and damages, such as long-term care costs, until you reach this stage.
As a result, it is not in your best interest to accept a settlement before you reach MMI and can accurately calculate your compensation. Any settlement offer that you receive at this stage may be insufficient to meet your needs, leading to hardship later on. If you sustain very severe injuries that require extensive medical care, your insurance claim will likely take longer to resolve.
After your car accident, there are certain steps you can take to support your future claim. Seek medical attention as soon as possible and save all records related to your injuries. Call 911 and report the accident to law enforcement. If you are able, collect evidence at the scene such as witness contact information, photographs, and insurance, license, and contact details from the at-fault driver.
If you are filing a car accident lawsuit or insurance claim in Illinois, you may need help to secure the compensation you deserve. In these situations, a Chicago car accident lawyer can guide you through the claims process and advocate aggressively for your right to recovery. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to discuss your case and legal options.