After a car accident or other injury incident in Georgia, you may be facing thousands of dollars in medical bills, property damages, and lost wages. Filing an insurance claim and winning a settlement, however, is just the beginning. You will not receive your settlement check immediately. In fact, some insurance companies may wait as long as possible to release the settlement – right up to the state’s deadline.
Georgia’s Time Limits for Paying Out Insurance Claims
Not all states have rules that regulate how soon an insurance company must acknowledge and process a claim. Some states have specific deadlines, while others ask insurance companies to release payments within a reasonable time period. In Georgia, however, insurance companies have strict deadlines by which they must act on claims.
- 15 days to acknowledge a claim. Insurance companies in Georgia must acknowledge that they have received first-party claims within 15 days of the individual filing the claim.
- 15 days to provide proper forms. Insurance companies also have 15 days after the initial filing of the claim to send the claimant proof of loss forms, along with instructions for filling them out.
- 15 days to accept or deny the claim. An insurance carrier must either accept or deny a claim within 15 days of receiving the claimant’s proof of loss forms. If the carrier did not require proof forms, it has 30 days from the initial claim filing.
- 60 days for a final decision. The maximum amount of time an insurance company has to accept or deny a claim is 60 days from the notice of the claim. This is the maximum if the insurer requests additional time. Otherwise, the insurer must inform the claimant of a decision within five days of the applicable time period expiration.
- 10 days from decision to pay a claim. Finally, an insurance company has just 10 days from the date of notifying the claimant of an acceptance to pay out benefits.
An insurance provider’s failure to meet any of these deadlines could constitute unfair claims practice or insurance bad faith. If you received a notice of claim acceptance from an insurance company, expect the carrier to release your settlement check within 10 days of notifying you of its decision. If you do not receive notice of a pending payout, something may be wrong. A Gwinnett county car crash attorney can help you identify insurance bad faith.
What to Do About Delayed Payments
Although each case is unique, insurance companies must treat each claimant with respect and according to accepted standards of care. Insurers must make timely decisions and payouts. They must also give a reason if they issue claim denials. Denials of valid insurance claims or unfair payment delays could give the claimant the right to take the insurance company to court.
According to Georgia Code Section 33-6-34, an insurance company that engages in unfair settlement practices – such as delaying a claimant’s claim payment – may be guilty of bad faith insurance. This means the company is breaking the state’s insurance payment regulations, and may face charges, fines, and/or penalties. A claimant may have the right to file a bad faith insurance claim against the provider if it fails to pay a settlement within 10 days of the agreement.
A bad faith claim could result not only in payment of the original settlement amount, but also of additional compensation for the trouble. The Georgia courts may require the insurance company to pay the claimant interest, damages, and court costs if it finds the provider guilty of unfair settlement practices. It is worthwhile to speak to an attorney about your case if you believe an insurance company should have paid you by now. You have rights as a claimant in Georgia.