How Long Does an Insurance Adjuster have to Respond in North Carolina

As anyone who has dealt with a personal injury claim knows, insurance adjusters play a crucial role in the claims process. These professionals are responsible for investigating claims, determining liability, and ultimately deciding how much compensation should be awarded. At least, this is the role they believe they have. In reality, if an adjuster decides to deny a claim, or not offer adequate compensation, it’s more likely the injured person will hire an attorney.

Timely responses from insurance adjusters are essential for claimants to move forward with their lives and receive the full compensation that they deserve.

Legal Timeframes for Insurance Adjuster Responses in North Carolina

North Carolina regulations

Insurance adjuster response times can vary by state, with each state having its own set of regulations governing the claims process. In North Carolina, insurance companies are required to promptly acknowledge a claim and act reasonably, according to North Carolina General Statutes § 58-63-15(11). The law also says they must engage in a reasonable investigation, and promptly settle claims where liability is reasonably clear. In reality, these statutes, while sounding great, are essentially toothless.

Federal regulations

While state regulations play a significant role in determining insurance adjuster response times, federal regulations, such as the Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations, also provide guidelines for the industry. These regulations require insurance companies to acknowledge claims promptly, investigate claims thoroughly, and communicate with claimants throughout the process. I’ve never seen an adjuster get in trouble for violations of the fair claims settlement practices, so these rules are more aspirational than authoritative in reality.

Factors Affecting Response Times

How Long Does an Insurance Adjuster have to Respond in North Carolina

Type of claim

The complexity of a personal injury claim can have a significant impact on an adjuster’s response time. For example, a straightforward car accident claim may be resolved more quickly than a complex medical malpractice case, which may involve multiple parties and require expert opinions. Understanding the nature of your claim can help set realistic expectations for response times.

Car Accidents

Car accidents are among the most common types of personal injury claims. While many car accident claims can be relatively straightforward, some auto accident cases may involve multiple vehicles, disputed liability, or complex injuries. These factors can lengthen the adjuster’s investigation process and delay their response time. However, car accident claims generally have quicker response times compared to more complex claim types.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents often occur on commercial or private properties and can involve issues such as inadequate lighting, slippery surfaces, or uneven flooring. Proving liability in these cases can be challenging, as the property owner may dispute their responsibility for the accident. This can lead to a more in-depth investigation by the insurer or the adjuster, resulting in longer response times.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice claims involve injuries or damages resulting from the negligence of a healthcare professional. These cases can be highly complex, often requiring expert opinions, medical bills and detailed medical records to establish liability. As a result, the insurance adjuster’s investigation process may take longer, leading to extended response times and insurance settlements.

Product Liability

Product liability claims arise when a defective product causes injury or harm to a consumer. These cases can involve multiple parties, such as manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, adding layers of complexity to the claims process. The adjuster may need to consult with experts, review manufacturing records, or conduct extensive research, which can significantly impact response times.

Workplace Accidents

Workplace accidents can lead to personal injury claims involving workers’ compensation insurance. In these cases, the insurance adjuster must determine whether the personal injury case has occurred within the scope of employment and if the employer is liable. Workplace accident claims may involve reviewing safety records, conducting interviews, and determining if any legal violations occurred. These factors can result in longer response times from the adjuster.

Workload of the adjuster

Insurance adjusters often manage multiple claims simultaneously, which can impact their ability to respond promptly. The only way to become more important to the adjuster is to hire an attorney and file a claim in court. At that point, you will be moved out of the big stack of papers on the adjusters desk, and instead be dealing with an insurance defense attorney.

Communication and documentation

Clear and timely communication between parties is critical for expediting the claims process. Incomplete or missing documentation can delay an adjuster’s response, as they may need to request additional information before making a decision on a claim. Providing accurate and thorough documentation up front can help ensure a more efficient process.

Tips for Speeding Up the Response Process

How Long Does an Insurance Adjuster have to Respond in North Carolina

Be proactive

One of the best ways to ensure a timely response from an insurance adjuster is to gather all necessary documentation early in the process. This includes medical records, police reports, and any other pertinent information related to your claim. Additionally, maintaining regular contact with the adjuster can help keep your claim moving forward.

Hire a personal injury attorney

Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate the claims process more efficiently. An attorney will not only be familiar with the specific regulations in North Carolina but can also communicate effectively with insurance adjusters on your behalf. Having legal representation can increase the likelihood of a timely response and a more fair compensation or settlement.

Keep detailed records

Maintaining organized records is essential for speeding up the response process. Keep track of all communication with the adjuster, including emails, phone calls, and written correspondence. Having a well-organized file can make it easier for the adjuster to review your case, ultimately leading to a more prompt response.

Understanding the Insurance Adjuster’s Investigation Process

An insurance adjuster’s investigation of car accident case typically includes reviewing the details of the accident, assessing damages, determining liability, and evaluating the extent of the injuries sustained. This process may involve obtaining statements from witnesses, consulting with experts, and reviewing documentation. The length of the investigation can impact the adjuster’s response time, so it’s crucial to understand that thorough investigations may take time to ensure a fair outcome.

The Settlement Negotiation Process

Once the insurance adjuster has completed their investigation, they will generally present your lawyer with an initial settlement offer. It’s important to remember that this offer of money is often negotiable. You or your attorney can counter the offer and negotiate a fair settlement. Keep in mind that the negotiation process can impact response times, as the adjuster may need to consult with their supervisors or conduct additional research before agreeing to a new settlement amount.

The Role of a Public Adjuster

A public adjuster is an independent professional who specializes in representing policyholders during the claims process. They work on your behalf to ensure that your claim is accurately evaluated and that you receive a fair settlement. In some cases, hiring a public adjuster can be beneficial, particularly when dealing with complex claims or disputes with the insurance company.

Public adjusters are generally more helpful in property damage cases as opposed to personal injury, such as fire loss claims. They do not have a real role in personal injury claims.

What to Do If the Adjuster Doesn’t Respond Within the Legal Timeframe in North Carolina

How Long Does an Insurance Adjuster have to Respond in North Carolina

Reach out to the adjuster

If the insurance adjuster hasn’t responded within the legally required timeframe, it’s essential to follow up with them to inquire about the status of your claim. Sometimes, a simple reminder can help expedite the process.

Escalate the issue

If the adjuster still doesn’t respond or provide a satisfactory explanation for the delay in pay, you may need to escalate the issue within the insurance company. In North Carolina, the Department of Insurance can assist in resolving disputes between policyholders and insurance companies.

Consult with an attorney

If all else fails, seeking legal advice from a personal injury attorney may be necessary. An attorney can advise you on your rights and the best course of action for your specific situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I ensure that my claim is handled promptly?

Providing thorough documentation and maintaining clear communication with the insurance company’s claims adjuster, can help ensure a more efficient claims process. Additionally, staying proactive and organized can contribute to a more timely resolution.

Can I negotiate with the adjuster if I disagree with their initial offer?

Yes, you can negotiate with the adjuster if you believe their initial offer is too low. It’s essential to present a well-reasoned counteroffer, backed by evidence, to support your position. An attorney can be especially helpful during this process.

What if an insurance company denies my claim?

If the insurance company denies your claim, you have options available to you. First, consider discussing the denial with the insurance agent or adjuster to understand their reasoning. If you believe the denial is unjust, you can appeal the decision by providing additional evidence and documentation to own insurance company to support your case. If your appeal is unsuccessful, consulting with a personal injury attorney can help you determine if legal action is necessary to pursue your claim further.


Understanding the timeframes involved in insurance adjuster responses and the factors that may impact these timeframes is essential for North Carolina residents dealing with personal injury claims. By staying informed, proactive, and organized, you can help ensure a smoother claims process and a more timely resolution. Remember that hiring a personal injury attorney or public adjuster can provide additional support and guidance in navigating the complex world of insurance claims.

Get Your Free
Case Evaluation Today!

Contact Information


Verdict Report

$3.025 Million settlement by Mark R. Melrose and co-counsel in a medical malpractice case for 40 year old man who suffered a devastating stroke after his surgeon failed to diagnose the cause of his bowel infarction. The doctor failed to read the echocardiogram which had clear evidence of a blood clot. This clot then broke apart and caused the stroke.

Review Us