When another driver causes a collision and leaves you injured, that driver’s choice of car insurance can determine how frustrating your accident claim experience will be. Unfortunately, when drivers carry coverage from a giant insurer like USAA, your insurance headaches could be just beginning. So, how long does it take USAA to pay an insurance claim?
As you recover from a serious injury, you’ll wonder how long you’ll wait on an insurance check to pay hospital bills and support you while you miss valuable time at work. The fact is, USAA is a giant company, and your case may be at the bottom of a pile of claims. And sadly, they may have your claim right in front of them and decide to keep you purposely waiting for weeks and months. It’s all part of the insurance game.
How Long Does It Take USAA to Pay an Insurance Claim?
A property damage-only accident may take just a few weeks to handle. Insurance claims involving car damage or replacement have become fairly standardized. However, an accident involving a severe injury complicates matters and can slow down the claims process. This delay is primarily due to the fact that insurance companies look to stall while trying to find ways to poke holes in your claim.
Although a quick resolution to your injury case may seem ideal, a fast settlement usually means that victims didn’t get everything they’ll need to fully recover and rebuild their lives. Unfortunately, an injury claim filed with USAA can take several months or, in some cases, even years to resolve. The timeline gets especially stretched out when USAA decides to deny fault or lowball a claim, and it becomes necessary to take them to court.
USAA Bad Faith Insurance Tactics
Starting the claims process yourself without the help of a personal injury lawyer leaves you at risk of damaging your chances of earning adequate support.
USAA will count on your lack of experience with personal injury law to save their company money. Representing yourself, you might not be able to recognize all of the damages that you could potentially claim in your settlement. Additionally, if you aren’t careful, you could hand them the ammunition they need to cast doubt on your claim and deny it outright.
These are just some of the pitfalls you can tumble into without the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer monitoring the actions of USAA adjusters:
- Long Response Time: When there’s strong evidence a USAA policyholder was to blame for your accident, don’t be surprised if they go silent for a while. USAA may delay responding to your claim to see whether you have a personal injury lawyer working on your case. USAA also hopes to push you closer to desperation as you wait and watch as medical expenses grow and your monthly bills like a car payment and mortgage go unpaid.
- Unfair Settlement Offer: USAA lets you reach the point of frustration and then floats out their first “lowball” settlement offer. This offer may only cover 50% of your losses after a crash and may not factor in the medical care you’ll need in the future. With your aggravation growing, especially if you are without a personal injury lawyer advocating on your behalf, you might end up desperate enough to sign off on this settlement. Sadly, you won’t be able to return to USAA for more support after you find out their settlement doesn’t cover all of your needs. Any cost of care needed in the years to come would then come out of your pocket.
- Insurance Blame Game: USAA can try to assign some blame to you for your accident, thereby reducing their financial responsibility. They can even go so far as to dig up a past claim in an attempt to discredit you. This can be seen as grasping at straws, but if you don’t have a personal injury attorney backing up your case with solid evidence and testimony, you can be intimidated into accepting all or some of the blame in your crash.
- Turning Your Statements Around on You: USAA can also use any recorded statements you’ve given them to refute your claim. They purposely ask you to make statements, hoping that they can confuse you and get you to say something damaging. That is why you should never give the at-fault driver’s insurance company a recorded statement. When you hire Steers and Associates to represent you, we can help protect your rights while building a strong case.
- Fail to Settle: Insurers can deny your claim on an unreasonable pretext or fail to offer fair and just compensation for your injuries when the claim should settle. Your attorney should present a settlement demand in the most effective manner possible and be ready to litigate the claim if necessary.
Filing a Claim and Possibly a Lawsuit Against the USAA Insured
When you work with an experienced Steers & Associates car accident lawyer, we can identify the appropriate time to file a claim, simplify the claims process and a lawsuit if necessary. California allows accident victims up to two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. If you wait until the deadline has passed, you likely won’t be able to successfully proceed absent certain exceptions such as tolling.
If you decide to file the claim on your own, you’ll need to notify USAA of the at-fault driver’s information, your information, and accident details such as the location and date of the incident.
Will an Insurance Claim against the USAA Insured Impact Your Insurance Rates?
In the state of California, it is illegal for your insurance company to increase your policy rates if you were involved in an accident that was not more than 50% your fault. When determining rates, insurance companies can look at your driving record, how many miles you drive per year, and your driving experience. However, accidents where you are not principally at fault cannot be factored in.
Gathering Evidence for Your USAA Personal Injury Claim
USAA can put your accident and your claim under intense scrutiny, and you’ll want to track down all of the evidence in your favor that you can. A lot of the best evidence is found right on the scene in the moments after an accident.
Law enforcement will collect some evidence, but you should gather as many details as you can if you are physically able.
- Give officers a complete account of what happened, including if you saw the USAA driver behaving carelessly or recklessly before the collision. Let paramedics document every complaint you have.
- Take photos and video of the scene. Show the damage to vehicles and take images of any visible injuries. Illustrate the paths the vehicles involved took and any traffic signals and signs that factor into what happened.
- Get information from any witnesses on the scene. Then, make sure your personal injury lawyer can contact them for official statements later.
- Scan the area for the possibility of security cameras that may have caught the accident. Nearby homes and businesses could have these cameras running 24/7.
- Schedule an appointment with your doctor. Get every pain documented on a medical chart. Note any new injuries that appear over the next few days after the initial shock of the accident has worn off.
If you are rushed to the hospital after an accident or don’t feel well enough to move about the scene, ask someone with you or a helpful witness to take photos and video for you.
This immediately available evidence will combine with your attorney’s own investigation into the accident to build a strong case that will prove difficult for USAA adjusters to question.
Contact a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer When Dealing with USAA
A frightening accident can leave you physically vulnerable and can also put you at significant financial risk. That’s especially true when the at-fault driver’s car insurance company begins delaying and denying support as you try to recover. After you or a loved one has been the victim of a careless driver, reach out to a personal injury attorney in LA before talking to any USAA representative.
Contact Personal Injury Attorney Allen Vaysberg and the Law Offices of Steers & Associates to take advantage of a free and confidential strategy session for your case. We are a family-owned law firm, and we treat victims and their families the way we’d want to be treated after going through such a traumatic event. We also strive to protect victims and their families from any “bad faith” practices that large insurance companies may engage in.
Allen Vaysberg practices personal injury law and works tirelessly to defeat the tactics of insurance companies and large corporations who try to deny justice and fair compensation to injured people.