How Long Will My Car Accident Case Take To Settle In New York?

New York’s auto insurance system is no-fault. For residents of New York, this can be a good thing, as insurers can more easily settle car accident claims when they do not need to determine fault.

New York’s No-Fault System

After a car accident in New York, regardless of who was at fault, you can file a claim with your insurer for injuries and property damage. In other words, each driver involved in a car accident in New York will work with their own insurer, and the issue of fault will generally not affect anyone unless one of the parties involved in the accident sustains losses in excess of $50,000.

The fundamental economic losses stemming from an automobile accident include medical expenses and lost wages. If your economic loss is less than $50,000, only your insurance company will be involved.

Expected Time Frames To Settle a No-Fault Claim

In New York, settling a no-fault claim should be relatively simple. The insurer does not need to determine fault, which should expedite the settlement or denial of the claim.

New York establishes a stringent deadline for insurers to settle claims:

  • After a claim is filed, the insurer has 15 days to request any additional information it may need to investigate the claim.
  • The insurer will have 15 days to accept or reject the claim after receiving your response with the additional information.

In an ideal scenario, you would receive a decision from the insurer approximately 30 days after filing a claim. In addition, you would receive any insurance settlement check approximately five days after the decision.

What if a Claim Is Denied or Requires Further Investigation?

New York’s regulations contain a substantial loophole for insurers. If the insurer requires additional time to investigate the claim, the company can send you a letter detailing the reasons for the delay. This letter grants the insurer a 90-day deadline extension.

Among the reasons an insurer might extend a deadline or deny a claim are the following:

  • The driver at the time of the collision was not covered by your policy.
  • The involved vehicle was not listed on your insurance policy.
  • Your injuries were not caused by the automobile collision.
  • Your medical care was not reasonably required to treat your injuries.

If the insurer chooses not to pay the claim or requires you to wait while it investigates the claim, you may need to negotiate with the insurer to receive payment. This negotiation may be challenging and time consuming. If you receive a letter denying your claim or extending the investigation period, it is impossible to predict when your claim will be settled.

Hiring a personal injury attorney can aid in pressuring your insurer to settle. An attorney can provide the necessary evidence to satisfy the insurance company’s concerns, end their investigation, or overturn a denial. Your attorney could even threaten arbitration or court action against the insurer.

Exiting the No-Fault System

Suppose your insurer decides to pay your claim, but you have exhausted your no-fault benefits and still have unpaid bills. Under your auto insurance policy, your insurer will not pay more than $50,000 in benefits. If your medical expenses and lost wages exceed $50,000, however, you will require additional compensation.

You may opt out of New York’s no-fault system and file a claim against the at-fault driver if:

  • Either your economic loss exceeds $50,000 or you suffer a “serious injury.”

If either of these conditions is met, you may file a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. Every driver in New York is required to carry liability insurance. This liability insurance covers bodily injury damages resulting from an accident caused by the policyholder.

Estimated Time Frames To Settle an At-Fault Claim

Insurers have the same settlement deadlines for both at-fault and no-fault claims. After you submit a claim, the insurer has 15 days to request additional information. Following receipt of the requested information, the insurer has 15 days to accept or deny the claim.

In this scenario, the insurer must determine who was at fault for the accident. An insurer might need more time to investigate the claim. However, if the police reports and witness statements conclusively establish that their insured driver caused the accident, the insurer will need to submit a settlement offer before the deadline.

Litigating the Claim

If the at-fault driver’s insurer denies the claim or fails to make a reasonable settlement offer, you may be required to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The driver’s insurer will defend the driver in court and will be responsible for any damages awarded up to the policy limits.

If you need to file a lawsuit, the length of time it will take to reach a settlement may vary significantly. If the insurer believes that the policyholder is liable, a settlement could be reached quickly. Insurance companies avoid dragging out a losing case. However, even in contested cases, the case will likely be resolved at some point. Approximately 3% of personal injury cases ever make it to court.

Nobody can predict when a lawsuit will be resolved. Due to insurers’ desire to minimise legal fees, many cases are settled shortly after a lawsuit is filed. Some lawsuits proceed through the discovery phase until there is sufficient evidence to push for a settlement. Once the insurer observes the jury’s reaction to its defence during a trial, a number of cases are resolved.

Shortening the Time Frame To Reach Settlement

There are several ways to expedite the resolution of a case, including:

  • Completely documenting your claim so that your insurer cannot request additional information and cause delays.
  • Having reasonable expectations of what you will receive through settlement.
  • Employing a personal injury attorney to negotiate on your behalf and exert pressure on the insurer to reach a settlement

Proactively anticipating the insurer’s moves can help you stay ahead of them and expeditiously and fairly resolve your claim.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm

Contact Abrams Law Group for a free consultation if you’ve been hurt in an accident and require legal assistance.

Abrams Law Group
104-70 Queens Boulevard, Suite 502
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 997-9797

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