How Long Does a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Take?Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle crashes can end in devastation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists get into more traffic crashes across the country than people who drive cars, trucks, pedestrians, and bicyclists. In a recent year, 5,579 motorcyclists died in traffic crashes across the country.
If you suffered an injury or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to help you get the compensation you need to fully recover in peace.
How long does a motorcycle accident lawsuit take? After a motorcycle crash, you need the assistance of an experienced Charleston motorcycle accident lawyer. You will certainly have questions about the process, including how long the whole thing will take. While there is no timeline for settling a motorcycle accident claim, the following can give you an idea about the process and what goes into resolving a motorcycle accident case.
How Does it All Start?
Motorcycle accident claims begin with an attempt to settle your case with the insurance company. Your motorcycle accident attorney will handle the settlement negotiations. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and because of that, they focus on their bottom lines. Insurance companies make their money by avoiding paying out settlement claims. An insurance company will employ several tactics to avoid paying out claims to protect its profit margin.
Examples of tactics that insurance companies use include:
- Offering a lowball settlement that does not account for all the injuries that you suffered in the motorcycle accident.
- Denying your injuries. Insurance companies will argue that you either caused your injuries or you lied about your injuries.
- Claiming you caused the accident.
- You may get calls and letters that seem like the insurance company is threatening you into quickly settling your motorcycle accident claim.
- Insurance adjusters may delay responding to your claim to tire you out so that you drop your claim.
If you hire a motorcycle accident attorney, you will gain an advocate to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney knows the typical tactics of the insurance company and, more importantly, knows how to avoid them. Unrepresented motorcycle accident victims usually have a more challenging time getting the money they deserve after an accident than motorcycle accident victims with legal representation.
You want to put your best foot forward after a motorcycle accident. If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced attorney in your area immediately.
What Is the Motorcycle Accident Claim Process?
The motorcycle accident claim process can be challenging if you do not have a motorcycle accident attorney. You can ensure that you understand each step of the motorcycle accident claim process. The following is what takes place during a motorcycle claim process:
Hire a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
After getting medical treatment, the next step you must take is to hire an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. Motorcycle accident attorneys help their clients receive the money that they need to recover fully after a crash. Your motorcycle accident attorney will negotiate on your behalf or represent your interests at trial if you cannot reach a fair settlement offer with the insurance company.
You must present proof to the insurance company and at trial to recover for your injuries. To prove your claim, you must gather evidence. Your motorcycle accident attorney can help you gather the evidence you need to prove your case.
Examples of evidence you will need to recover from a motorcycle accident claim include:
- Medical bills and medical records can prove your physical injuries. If your doctor noted that you need future medical treatment in your records, you might have proof that you need compensation for future medical bills.
- Pictures of your injuries and property damage may paint a picture of what you have been through after a motorcycle accident.
- Copies of the police report. The police report contains an officer’s narrative about what happened based on their conversations with you, the other driver, and any witnesses present. Typically, the officer will write their initial finding of liability in the police report.
- Witness statements by your friends and family about how your personality has changed since the accident.
- Proof of missed time at work.
Continue Medical Treatment
You must complete medical treatment after a motorcycle accident. Failing to comply with your doctor’s orders or delaying medical treatment can cause your injuries to progress and can be detrimental to your case. You should always complete your medical treatment.
Settlement Negotiations and Trial
Your case will proceed to trial if the insurance company does not offer a reasonable settlement. Your motorcycle accident attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf. Filing a lawsuit can get complicated because you must follow many rules to protect your claim from dismissal.
As you get closer to trial, your attorney will begin to prepare you for what to expect. Trial preparation may include the discovery or investigation phase of the lawsuit, depositions, witness prep, and the trial. You can rely on your motorcycle accident attorney to assist you and ensure you thoroughly prepare for trial.
What Happens When I Accept a Settlement Offer?
After you accept a settlement offer, that is the end of the case. There is no going back after you agree to settlement terms. After you agree to a settlement, the insurance company will ask you to sign a release of liability. A release of liability contains terms that the insurance company presents for settlement. Typically, it will include the amount of money the claim is settling for and boilerplate language that states that you will not sue the company based on the facts of the motorcycle accident again. Before you sign a release of liability, you should always speak to a motorcycle accident attorney to discuss the terms of the release.
Typical Injuries from Motorcycle Accidents
Every motorcycle accident is unique. There is no way to predict what injuries you will suffer if you are involved in a motorcycle accident. You may suffer minor and temporary or severe and permanent physical injuries. You may be entitled to compensation no matter what harm you suffer after a motorcycle accident.
Contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in your area to learn more about your legal right to compensation after a motorcycle accident. Examples of typical injuries that happen in motorcycle accidents include:
Spinal Cord Injury
Motorcyclists risk spinal cord injury if they are in a traffic accident. Motorcyclists are at higher risk of severe injury than other travelers because there is no covering around their vehicles. So, if a motorcyclist’s spinal cord suffers harm in a crash, they can face a long road to recovery.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a common type of injury that motorcyclists face. TBIs happen when there is a sudden impact on the brain. Various symptoms indicate a TBI. Some symptoms include blurry vision, trouble concentrating, etc.
Some symptoms of a TBI may take time to manifest. You may want to wait to determine if you will develop TBI symptoms before you accept a settlement offer. However, waiting will make your case take longer to resolve. See a doctor immediately if you suspect you have suffered a TBI after a motorcycle accident.
A motorcyclist can break multiple bones if they are in a traffic accident. A motorcycle is different from other vehicles because it does not have a casing around the driver. Therefore, if a motorcyclist gets into a traffic accident, the likelihood of multiple bone injuries is greater than if they were driving a car or a truck. The extensive nature of your injuries may require a longer recovery period, which can extend the settlement process.
Road rash is an injury that is much more likely to occur when a motorcyclist gets into an accident. Road rash is a term that refers to a skin injury from direct contact between a person’s skin and the road. The effects of road rash include pus that drains from the wound, redness, and pain.
Internal injuries are only detectable by a physical examination. These kinds of injuries are dangerous if left untreated. You can suffer severe disability or death. Getting medical treatment should be a priority after a motorcycle accident to prevent the effects of internal injuries.
Damages That You Might Recover After a Motorcycle Accident
There are three major types of damages that you might recover from a motorcycle accident. The types of damages include special, general, and punitive damages. Continue reading to learn more about each category of damages.
Special damages are economic damages with a specific dollar amount attached to them. The victim can recoup them, and it is possible to put the victim back in the place they were before the motorcycle accident.
Examples of special damages include:
- Current and future medical bills
- Current and future lost wages
- Property Damage
- Lost earning capacity
- Funeral and burial expenses
General damages are intangible losses that a motorcycle accident victim suffers. It can be challenging for motorcycle accident victims to recover general damages because of their intangible nature, but general damages are just as devastating as economic damages. To prove your injuries, you need the help of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in your area.
Examples of general damages include:
- Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering damages are damages that a motorcycle accident victim may be entitled to for the inconvenience of getting into an accident. Pain and suffering damages are often hard to calculate and, thus, depend on a convincing legal argument for a victim to recover compensation.
- Mental and emotional trauma: The mental and emotional trauma you may have suffered from a motorcycle accident deserves compensation. Your motorcycle accident attorney will help you explain your mental and emotional trauma to an insurance company and the court if your case goes to trial. If you suffered mental and emotional trauma after a motorcycle accident, contact a motorcycle accident attorney in your area.
- Loss of consortium and companionship: A loss of consortium is a cause of action your spouse can pursue after you suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident. Your spouse may be entitled to the reasonable cost of household services and companionship that you typically provide.
- Reduced quality of life: To prove the quality of life, your attorney may want to discuss how your life has changed with you and your friends, family, and even coworkers.
Punitive damages are sometimes known as punishment damages because they are awarded only when the defendant acted outrageously. Whether you receive punitive damages as a part of your settlement depends on the facts of your case and the extent of the injury. Some states prohibit punitive damages, while others limit the punitive damages a plaintiff can recover.
What If I Cannot Afford an Attorney?
You can afford an attorney. Reputable motorcycle accident attorneys across the country work on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee is an agreement that the client will pay for the attorney’s services if they reach a settlement or they receive an award at trial. Contingency fee agreements help give people who cannot otherwise afford it access to the legal system.
This fee structure means you have nothing to lose by reaching out for legal help today.
Contact a Charleston personal injury lawyer for more information.
Nathan Hughey, an attorney and fourth-generation South Carolinian, founded Hughey Law Firm in 2007. Before that, he spent five years defending nursing homes and insurance companies. Leveraging his experience, he now advocates for those injured or wronged by such entities, securing over $220 million in verdicts and settlements.