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Timeline for Arizona Auto Insurance Claims

After an event as traumatic as a car accident, it is normal to want the legal process to be over as quickly as possible. No crash victim wants the auto insurance claims process to drag on longer than is necessary. It is important, however, to take your time and not rush into a fast settlement. This can help you protect yourself from accepting an amount that is too low for your losses. Learn the average timeline for an auto insurance claim in Arizona so that you know what to expect.

Filing the Claim

After a car accident, you should call an insurance company as soon as possible to report the crash and begin the claims process. In Arizona, the insurance company that is responsible for paying for a car accident is the policy of the at-fault driver. You can call your own insurer to report the accident. Then, you can contact the other driver’s insurer to file your claim. Make sure you do so as soon as possible – within 24 hours – to avoid missing any deadlines that the insurer may have.

Decision Made Within 40 Days

Once a claim is filed, an insurance company will investigate. In Arizona, state law gives an insurer 40 days from the time that the company receives a claim to decide whether or not to accept it. These 40 days are broken down into the following sections:

  • 10 working days to send an initial response acknowledging the receipt of the claim and sending the policyholder claims paperwork.
  • 15 working days from the time it receives the completed paperwork and requested documentation (proof-of-loss forms) from the claimant.
  • 15 total days to send a claimant a payment for an accepted claim.

There is an exception to the rule if an insurance company needs more time to investigate. If the claim involves serious injuries or poor communication, for example, the investigative period may be longer. The insurance company needs to have a valid reason to extend the processing of your claim, however, or it may be a type of insurance bad faith.

Settlement Negotiations

If the car accident claim is accepted, the next stage is settlement negotiation. This can take varying amounts of time depending on the case. If the insurance company is making it difficult for a claimant to recover fair financial compensation, settlement negotiations may take several months to a year or longer. For a simpler case, the matter could be resolved in one to three months. Having an attorney negotiate for you can result in a faster process.

Denial Appeals Process

If the car accident claim is rejected, the claimant may need to go through an appeal. An appeal may require both internal and external reviews of how the insurance claims adjuster processed the claim to search for signs of a wrongful claim denial. In some cases, an appeal has to go all the way to trial, which can lengthen the auto insurance claim timeline.

Two Years to File a Lawsuit

Most car insurance cases achieve settlements. However, if an insurance company rejects your claim or refuses to offer an amount that is fair based on your losses, the case may proceed to court. In Arizona, the statute of limitations gives a car accident victim two years from the date of the crash to file a related civil lawsuit. Once the lawsuit is filed, a trial typically takes much longer than a settlement. The average car accident trial takes a year or longer. The case may end sooner, however, if the parties reach a settlement before the start of the trial.

Can You Speed Up an Auto Insurance Claim Settlement?

The best way to speed up the claims process without compromising your rights is by hiring an attorney to assist you. If you encounter insurance company tactics that appear designed to slow down your claim or convince you to settle for less than you deserve, contact an Arizona car insurance claim lawyer to help you go up against the insurer. Your attorney can help you demand a prompt and fair insurance process.