How Long Should I Wait to Call the Insurance Company?

by Tammy

My husband was burned by grease while working in the kitchen of a restaurant. He alerted managers and all employees that he would be working on a fryer. That consisted of him being on the floor under the unit. It was pulled out about 3 feet from the wall.

When an employee took a basket of fries out of the grease, instead of draining the basket in the drain pan and dumping them, he proceeded to turn around with the basket of fries to talk to, (well cut up with) another employee dripping the 350 oil on my husband's neck, and face.

Even though the doctor stated they were only 1st degree burns, you could imagine the pain of that dripping on your neck and face and the immediate adrenaline rush and panic.

A claim has been made and they determined the other person was negligent. We were told we would get a call by Monday or Tuesday to discuss a settlement. It is Thursday and we still haven't received a call. How long should we wait to call the insurance company before they call us?

I also want to know what we should expect as a settlement, if you can? Ballpark figure will be fine as we'd just like to get an idea. Thanks.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "How Long Should I Wait to Call the Insurance Company?":


There is no legal time limit within which an insurance company has to contact you or respond to your inquiries. If you are uncomfortable with the length of time which has passed, there is nothing wrong with picking up the telephone to call them. Doing so will not affect any claim you may have.

There is one matter you should be seriously aware of. In Missouri there exists what is legally referred to as a “Statute of Limitations”. This is a time period within which an injured party must either settle their case or file a lawsuit. Missing the date may result in your preclusion from recovering any money from your husband's employer.

In the State of Missouri the limitations period is 2 years. From the facts you present it seems your husband’s injury occurred recently. Whether it did or not, it is imperative you not allow 2 years to pass before finally disposing of your husband’s case.

The Federal Worker’s Compensation Act requires an employer of 5 or more people to have Workers Compensation insurance. From the facts you present it is unclear whether the insurance adjuster you are talking about is one through your employer's Workers Compensation insurance carrier, or through a private insurance company.

When talking about Workers Compensation insurance the amount of settlement is normally not negotiable.

If it is a private insurance company the amount is negotiable. The amount of settlement is first defined by the actual damages your husband suffered. Actual damages include the amount of medical bills sustained, his out of pocket expenses (doctors’ office parking lot fees, gasoline used for transport to doctors, bandages, prescriptions, and other reasonable costs related to his injury).

After actual damages come “Pain and Suffering”. Pain and Suffering includes an additional amount of money meant to cover not only the pain and suffering your husband endured, but any future actual damages and pain and suffering.

To estimate your settlement will be difficult without seeing photographs of your husbands’ burns, doctors’ charts, and more.

We can tell you there is a tried and true formula for reaching a settlement amount. Take the actual damages we talked about above and multiply them by 3. Out of pocket expenses are not part of the amount to be included in the actual damages. When you arrive at a total amount of 3 times actual damages you will then know the appropriate amount to ask for a settlement.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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