Being the victim of a motorcycle accident is a terrible experience. It can leave you and your loved ones struggling financially and mentally. If your medical bills are piling up and you’re unable to work, you may be concerned about how long it will take to get compensation from the person who caused your accident. So how long does a motorcycle accident lawsuit take?
A motorcycle accident lawsuit can take a few months to a few years to settle in California, depending on your individual circumstances. A California motorcycle injury lawyer can examine the facts of your case and give you the best idea of how long your claim is likely to take.
Factors That Affect How Long a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Takes
No two accidents are the same. Every motorcycle accident lawsuit has different facts that affect the time it takes to resolve. So how long can a lawsuit drag out for a motorcycle accident?
It depends on certain factors, including the following.
In some accidents, the person at fault is easy to identify. These cases tend to settle more quickly because the parties will not spend time arguing about who is responsible for the accident.
When an ancient is more complex, it may be difficult to determine which party is at fault. Both parties may be at fault, but the percentage of liability may be unclear.
California is a pure comparative negligence state. That means if you are partially at fault for the accident, it may reduce the value of your claim. If you disagree with the insurance company regarding how much fault—if any—should be allocated to you, it may take longer to resolve your claim.
A complex accident may take several months of negotiation to come to an agreement. And if the disputed issues require a trial, the case may take years.
Damages from some accidents may be easy to calculate. If there is no dispute over the extent of your injuries, you may be able to agree with the insurance company on an appropriate number.
But sometimes damages can be difficult to calculate, especially if there is psychological and emotional trauma or you need to estimate future medical costs. It can also be difficult to place a value on intangible losses like pain and suffering, disfigurement, and lost enjoyment of life. The insurance company may resist paying you what you believe these losses are worth, and that may delay the progression of your case.
How Long It Takes You to Recover from Your Injuries
Some injuries take longer to heal than others. A broken leg heals differently than a pierced lung. Some injuries will heal in a few weeks while others can take months or years. And you may never fully recover from some injuries.
Typically, you will want to wait until you fully recover from your injuries or know the extent of permanent damage before making your claim. This way, you will be able to make an accurate calculation of damages. But be sure to consult with an attorney to make sure you don’t miss important deadlines for filing your claim.
Steps of a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit in California
Despite different facts, the steps of a motorcycle accident lawsuit are the same. Each step impacts the overall time it takes to resolve your motorcycle accident claim. In many cases, you will be able to resolve your claim within a few months through negotiation, possibly without even filing a lawsuit. However, if you have to take your claim all the way to trial, it may take several years to resolve.
Investigating and Gathering Evidence
The next step involves investigating the accident and gathering evidence, such as
- Medical bills,
- Wage records,
- Police reports, and
- Witness statements.
This step is crucial because this evidence provides information on fault. It also assists in the calculation of damages.
Preparing a Demand Letter
After you have collected all the evidence, the next step is to build your claim. If you have an attorney, they will prepare a demand letter to send to the insurance company. In the demand letter, you will list the amount of damages you suffered and request payment. Damages in California include economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are quantifiable, such as medical expenses and lost wages. Noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering are subjective and more difficult to calculate.
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help you estimate all your damages and ensure that you ask for the full value of your losses.
Negotiating with the Insurance Company
Once the insurance company receives your demand letter, they will typically work to negotiate a settlement with you.
Know that insurance companies are notorious for offering less compensation than you deserve. Consult a lawyer to ensure the insurance company does not take advantage of you.
Negotiations with the insurance company can last from a couple months to over a year. It all depends on how complex the case is.
Filing a Lawsuit
The next stage of a motorcycle accident lawsuit is to file a personal injury claim in court. Accident victims take this step if negotiations with the insurance company fail. If you have not already, you should hire a motorcycle accident lawyer at this stage. They can defend your rights in court and ensure you get the highest available damages.
Always be aware of the motorcycle accident lawsuit time limit. You don’t have forever to bring a lawsuit in court. California law sets a two-year deadline on filing a personal injury action. The clock starts to tick on the date of the accident.
If you do not sue by the two-year deadline, you will likely be prohibited from bringing a personal injury claim in court and fail to recover any damages.
After you file your claim, you will have the opportunity to gather additional evidence through the discovery process. Discovery allows you to do the following:
- Require the other party to answer questions and produce documents,
- Obtain expert reports,
- Gather evidence, and
- Take depositions of potential witnesses.
The more evidence, witnesses, and experts are involved in the case, the longer the lawsuit will take.
If you cannot reach a settlement with the insurance company, you will need to take your case to trial. During the trial, both sides will present their case and be able to cross-examine the witnesses of the other side.
The length of time the trial takes depends on how complex the case is and the court’s schedule.
After both sides have told their story, a jury delivers the verdict.
Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Today
Our personal injury legal team will fight for the compensation you deserve. Founder Michael A. Beliz has over 17 years of legal experience. He never fails to serve his community and is dedicated to making it safer.
At The Beliz Law Firm, we are committed to treating each client with dignity and respect. Our experienced and compassionate team is ready to fight for justice.
You don’t have to face the aftermath of a motorcycle accident alone. For a free case review, contact The Beliz Law Firm to talk with a motorcycle accident lawyer today.