If you must file a claim for compensation with an insurance company, you expect that your claim will be paid promptly. This is especially true when your claim is with your own insurance company who you have most likely paid premiums to faithfully for years without making a claim. Unfortunately, this often does not happen. How quickly are insurance companies required to resolve and pay claims in Georgia?
Does an Insurance Company Have a Time Limit to Pay a Claim After a Car Accident?
An insurance company is required to pay or deny a claim within a reasonable period of time. If the claim is being denied, the insurance company should provide a reason for this. There is no set definition of what is a reasonable time. It will be based on the facts in an individual car accident case, the legitimate areas of dispute, and the speed in which the victim provides the documentation requested by the insurance adjuster. If the insurance company for the negligent driver is not paying your claim or making a decision on it within a reasonable amount of time, your remedy is to sue the negligent driver within the statute of limitations to do so.
However, if you filed a claim under your collision, MedPay, or uninsured or underinsured coverages on your own insurance policy, you could have a claim against your insurance company for failing to resolve your claim within a reasonable period of time. Your insurance company has a duty to you to act in good faith when processing your claim. However, Georgia does not allow you to file a tort action for bad faith. Instead, you may have these statutory remedies:
- An insurance company who fails to pay a first-party claim in bad faith could be liable for the amount of the loss and additional damages of not more than 50 percent of the amount of the loss, not to exceed $5,000, and reasonable attorney fees. Bad faith is defined as “frivolous and unfounded refusal to pay a claim.”
- An insurance company usually pays an uninsured motorist claim 60 days after it is filed. If the refusal to pay is in bad faith, the insurance company could be liable for up to 25 percent of the claim amount and reasonable attorney fees.
- The accident victim must comply with specific requirements for making a first-party and uninsured motorist claim and give his insurance company notice to be entitled to compensation under these laws.
Unless you are only filing a claim for minor property damage to your vehicle, you will want to consult with an attorney—even if your claim is just for repairs or to total your vehicle. At Brauns Law, we assist our clients with both the property damage and personal injury portions of their claims. If you were involved in a car accident, call our office today to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation and your legal remedies.