Insurance companies pay out two different kinds of damages, and they are paid at different times, in general.
Property damages is the first category. This involves usual vehicles which either need to be repaired or have been totaled. This can take a couple of weeks, but generally happens pretty early in your case. Basically, as soon as the insurance company knows what the damage is and has an estimate of the costs.
Damages for injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering, and disability are entirely different, and they take much longer. Although the insurance company may make some payments on medical bills along the way, they will not make a final settlement until they know all of your damage claims. This often involves waiting for treatment to finish. Chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, and surgeries all take time. After that treatment is over, the full billing records need to be obtained to determine the final costs.
In fact, if an insurance company offers you a settlement on this portion of your case at an early time, it is usually because they want to limit their liability, and are offering you a smaller sum than you could obtain in the end by offering you some money now in exchange for a full release of all your claims. The amounts offered usually do not include anything for your lost wages, for pain and suffering, or for any permanent disability or deterioration to your physical condition which may have occurred.
Although it is tempting to settle the injury portion of your case early, it is very important to make sure that you know the full extent of your injuries and the full cost of treatment before you make a final decision.
DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.
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