Generally, it can take insurance companies up to around three months to settle a claim in Nevada, depending on how long it takes the company to acknowledge the claim, process the claim, and pay the settlement.
If you’re wondering exactly how long does an insurance company have to settle a claim in Nevada, the following guide will review the process and what you can expect when filing a claim following an accident. With the right approach to your claim, you may also be able to accelerate the claims process and reach a favorable settlement faster.
It’s also important to understand how insurance bad faith might hurt your case, and you should know how to potentially file a case against insurance companies when they engage in bad faith practices.
Nevada Insurance Claim Timeline
In Nevada, insurers have 80 days, or about three months, to settle insurance claims they receive from claimants. They will specifically have 20 to 30 days to complete different phases of the claims process, from initially acknowledging the claim to paying the settlement to claimants if they approve the claim.
The timeline you can expect when filing an insurance claim in Nevada will be as follows:
Insurers Acknowledge the Claim
The first step in the claims process would entail filing a claim with an insurance company. Once you file this claim, insurance companies have a total of 20 days to acknowledge the claim. Not only must they acknowledge the claim, but they must then provide the claimant with the necessary paperwork to help complete the claim.
Among the documents that policyholders will receive is a proof-of-loss form. Claimants must complete this form to detail the nature of their claim, including information about the accident and the resulting injuries and other damages. This formal statement will serve as an important piece of evidence in the claim, but you may benefit from consulting with an attorney before submitting any type of formal statement to insurers.
Insurers Make a Decision About the Claim
After the insurer acknowledges the claim and the claimant completes all necessary paperwork, the company will have 30 days to decide either to approve or deny the claim. If the insurer chooses to deny the claim, the claimant won’t be able to pursue compensation for their accident, but the claims process will move forward if the insurer approves it.
To maximize your chances of having insurers approve your claim, you should include as many details as possible about the accident and damages in your proof-of-loss form.
Reasons That an Insurance Company Might Delay Approving a Claim
If you’ve submitted an insurance claim in Nevada, there are multiple reasons the insurer might delay the approval of your claim. While some reasons might come down to bad faith, potentially warranting an insurance bad faith claim, there are several valid reasons a company might not approve a claim soon after the claimant submits it.
A Large Caseload
Adjusters may take a while to approve or deny a claim due to their caseload. Adjusters often need to handle a variety of claims, all of which can take some time to get through as the adjuster attempts to give each claim the attention it needs.
In some cases, insurers may also take a while to assign a claim to a corresponding adjuster. Insurance companies must assign claims to adjusters with the necessary qualifications to handle them properly. In addition to ample experience, adjusters must have a schedule that grants them sufficient time to review, investigate, and provide a response to each claim.
The Complexity of the Claim
If a claim is complex and involves many elements, it will take adjusters and insurers longer to complete the claims process, as they need to spend more time investigating it and making a decision. If a claim is particularly complex, it could also warrant the involvement of coverage counsel or another type of expert to help settle the claim.
Also, keep in mind that if a claim is complex, insurance companies may place it toward the bottom of their list of priorities as they seek to settle simpler claims first.
A Lengthy Approval Process
Even once insurers investigate a claim, it can take some time for it to go through the entire approval process. Multiple supervising individuals may need to review and approve the claim, sending it down the line to several people before it reaches final approval.
Disorganization of Documents
The claims process may also experience delays because of the disorganized information that claimants provide. Policyholders may pile all information together without formatting it in a way that adjusters can easily understand and explore.
Some documents may also require conversion from hard copies to digital documentation before the adjuster can submit them for investigation and further review.
How to Speed Up the Claims Process as a Policyholder
If you want to settle your claim faster, there are some steps you can take that might help accelerate the claims process. These steps include the following:
Take Action if Insurers Don’t
Based on the timelines discussed above, you can keep track of how long it takes for insurers to acknowledge, investigate, and make a decision regarding your claim. If insurers wait too long to complete the process, you can follow up with them. You may also be able to take action to ensure the insurer continues to process the claim if state administrative responses don’t work.
Organize All Documents as Much as Possible
When submitting all necessary paperwork and documentation, you can make things easier for the adjuster by properly organizing these items. For example, you can include all necessary details about the claim in a format that’s easy to read and understand. You can include a summary of all the documentation you’re submitting to ensure everything is accounted for upon submission. You may also be able to submit electronic copies of your documents.
Follow Up Regularly
If you find that your case is taking longer than expected, it could be due to some of the reasons for potential delays discussed above. To help ensure your claim continues to move along, you can send reminders to insurers. However, you should avoid any hostile or aggressive communications, as this can only serve to hurt your claim. Friendly reminders may help prevent insurers and adjusters from letting your case fall too far behind.
Work With an Attorney
Sometimes working with legal counsel to assist with the claims process may help move things along more quickly. Attorneys may be able to prepare statements and negotiate settlements with insurers to reach a fair settlement, all while helping prevent the case from taking longer than it should to settle.
When Bad Faith Delays a Claim
While there are legitimate reasons why insurers may delay or reject claims, sometimes they may engage in insurance bad faith that aims to protect the insurer’s bottom line. Insurers want to avoid making large payouts on claims, leading some to treat claims unfairly in multiple ways to delay the process or avoid settling entirely.
To better understand insurance bad faith, it’s important to first define bad faith. When an insurer practices bad faith insurance, the insurer attempts to avoid settling a claim when there’s no valid reason to delay or deny the claim. Insurers that behave unfairly in this way could be subject to certain repercussions as a result of these actions.
If any of these instances occur, you may be able to file an insurance bad faith claim under the Unfair Claims Settlement Act. An attorney may help you with understanding the Unfair Claims Settlement Act and build a successful claim against fraudulent insurers.
What Constitutes Bad Faith Insurance?
There are several types of bad faith insurance that insurers could engage in, with some of the most common including:
- Improperly completing an investigation into a claim
- Ignoring claims after filing
- Failing to fairly and adequately investigate valid claims
- Undervaluing claims and making lowball settlements
- Acting against the best interests of the policyholder
- Requiring unnecessary paperwork and evidence from policyholders
Other instances of bad faith may involve misrepresenting policy limits and provisions, neglecting to communicate or avoid communication with policyholders, and working to prevent policyholders from filing third-party liability claims when these claims are valid.
What Are the Damages in Bad Faith Insurance Claims Denials?
If you are the victim of bad faith insurance, you may be able to file an insurance bad faith claim against the insurance companies responsible for multiple damages. The impact of untimely payment could include a combination of economic and non-economic damages resulting from the bad faith practices.
Economic damages in these cases would involve the financial losses that victims endured because of these practices. Examples of these types of damages may include the amount of the settlement the insurance company should have paid, medical expenses for treating injuries sustained in an accident, lost income resulting from recovery or disability, lost earning potential, and the costs of working with an attorney to recover a fair settlement.
Meanwhile, you may also be able to recover some non-economic damages pertaining to your case, including pain and suffering you experienced because of your injuries and psychological distress resulting from the insurer’s bad faith practices.
In addition to these compensatory damages, you may be able to recover punitive damages if your case goes to trial. Keep in mind that only the court can award these damages, requiring a trial process to warrant them. While compensatory economic and non-economic damages aim to compensate victims of bad faith insurance, punitive damages have the goal of punishing defendants in these cases and preventing insurers from engaging in the same behavior. These damages only come into play if insurers acted with gross negligence or malicious intent, and there’s no limit to these damages in Nevada.
How to Identify Whether a Claim Is Treated Fairly
If you believe that an insurer has engaged in bad faith in your case, you may be able to find out if the insurer treated your claim unfairly based on the nature of the denial or delay.
According to Nevada law, there are certain unfair practices that insurers must never engage in at any point when handling insurance claims. These include the failure to reasonably respond to or acknowledge claims, make a decision on the claim in a reasonable time, develop or adhere to reasonable standards for investigations, or reach a fair settlement when claimants submit sufficient proof of loss and liability isn’t unclear.
One of the potential issues with identifying unfair claim treatment is defining “reasonable” when it comes to fair treatment of insurance claims. This vagueness may enable insurers to get around the issue of unfair treatment if they provide a reason that state law considers valid.
However, it’s important to remember that insurers aren’t invulnerable. If they have engaged in bad faith practices and treated a claim unfairly, they may face certain consequences and need to pay compensation to claimants with sufficient proof.
If you need some assistance with proving that an insurer treated your claim unfairly, an experienced bad faith insurance lawyer may be able to help.
What to Look for When Hiring a Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer
In the event an insurer has unfairly delayed or denied your claim and coverage, you may be able to build an insurance bad faith claim with the help of a qualified attorney.
When considering hiring a bad faith insurance attorney, there are some qualities to look for that may help you find the right representation. The following are some of the specific qualities to consider as you search for the ideal lawyer:
Knowledge Around Bad Faith Insurance
The first item to consider is knowledge around bad faith insurance law, especially in the state where you’re filing your claim. For instance, if you’re working with Nevada’s insurance claim timeline and laws, you should seek an attorney with experience and knowledge around this specific state.
Another element to consider is communication. Is the attorney you’re considering hiring someone who seems eager and capable of regular communication with you? Your lawyer should be easy to contact when you have any questions or concerns about your case, and you should never remain in the dark about the status of your case as it pends completion.
You should also consider the reputation of the law firm. Check out online reviews and testimonials from past clients to see what kinds of results they received in their cases. A good attorney will display testimonials on his or her website, but you can also check other locations such as the state bar association, Google reviews, and elsewhere to see what people are saying.
A Good Track Record
In addition to reviews and testimonials from others, check the attorney’s website for specific case results. The attorney should be able to provide examples of cases he or she has won in the past.
During a consultation, you should also learn about the specific types of strategies and approaches the attorney implements in cases similar to yours. The right lawyer will be able to detail what steps he or she would take to help you determine whether bad faith occurred and prove it in an insurance bad faith claim.
Transparency Around Costs
The prospective attorney you’re interviewing should be transparent regarding the fees he or she would charge to represent you. Ask about potential legal fees and other expenses. In response, you should receive a clear answer regarding potential costs and when you’ll need to pay them.
Clarity About Whom Will Handle Your Case
While the attorney you meet with in your consultation may be the one primarily handling your case in a smaller law firm, larger law firms often deal with many cases across a range of clients. As a result, these firms often hire many staff members, including paralegals and assistant attorneys, to help handle these large caseloads. As such, you might not work directly with the attorney you consult with, in which case he or she should let you know who to contact about your case and who will specifically help handle it.
Be Aware of the Timeline of Your Insurance Claim
When filing an insurance claim of any kind in Nevada, it’s best to know how long you can expect the case to take from start to finish. With a good understanding of how long does an insurance company have to settle a claim, and the potential timeline, you can gauge whether an insurer is taking too long and may be engaging in bad faith by delaying denying your claim without a valid reason.