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Demand Letter Response Time: How To Handle The Insurance Companies

February 26, 2021 Personal Injury Blog

Writing a “demand letter” is one of the initial steps taken in the personal injury claims process. The demand letter is a document sent to the at-fault party’s insurance company, explaining your side of the story, the losses you have incurred, and the total amount you are requesting as a settlement. Once this letter is sent to the insurer, there are several potential outcomes. 

How Long Does it Take for an Insurance Company to Respond? 

Unfortunately, there is no way to know how long an insurance company will take to respond to a demand letter since there is no deadline by law. The insurer can take as long as they want, and in general, that can be anywhere between a week to eight months. However, that doesn’t mean that you must continue waiting if the insurance company is taking an inordinate amount of time to respond, and you or your attorney believes you have a strong case. 

In the demand letter, you have the option of setting a time limit, specifying the amount of time they have to respond to you before you pursue a claim in court. Settlement agreements don’t happen overnight, so you may want to give the insurance company between two weeks to 30 days. They must do their own investigation, prepare their own estimates, and follow procedure. If you do include a deadline, be very specific and do not waiver from what you demand.  

Factors that Influence an Insurance Company’s Response Time

The following factors can influence how quickly or slowly an insurance company will respond to your demand letter: 

  • If there have been earlier communications regarding your injuries and medical bills.
  • The number of medical bills in comparison to the at-fault party’s policy limits.
  • The amount and complexity of the medical records and bills
  • Whether or not you have had any previous accidents and/or treatment.
  • Internal circumstances, such as the size of the insurance company, or the adjuster’s caseload.
  • The size of the insurance policy, as the larger the insurance policy, the greater risk of financial liability for the insurer. 

Common Responses to a Demand Letter 

Insurance companies are not required to respond to demand letters, so they will either ignore it, or send a response. Three of the most common responses sent by insurance companies are: 

  • Rejection: it’s often in the best interests of an insurance company to settle a claim before courts get involved; but, valid claims are routinely rejected in bad faith, to deter individuals from pursuing compensation. 
  • Counter Offer: the insurer may come back to you with a settlement offer of their own, often for a significantly less amount than originally requested. You can either accept it, counter it, or file a lawsuit in response. 
  • Acceptance: it is rare, but the insurance company might accept your offer. 

Speak to an Experienced San Diego Personal Injury Attorney 

If you are pursuing a personal injury claim, hiring a lawyer who is experienced in going up against insurance companies is crucial. At CaseyGerry, our San Diego Personal Injury Attorney will negotiate on your behalf to achieve the best possible settlement for your claim and if necessary, will fiercely represent you in court. Call (619) 238-1811 to set up your free consultation today.