A motorcycle accident happens in the blink of an eye. One moment, you may feel confident atop your motorcycle, ready to enjoy the wind rushing by you as you proceed to your destination, and the next, you may have severe injuries that may impact you for the rest of your life. On the other hand, a motorcycle accident lawsuit often happens much more slowly. Each claim looks different, and the timeline for that claim may look different because your accident did not occur exactly like anyone else’s. Working with a motorcycle accident lawyer can give you a better idea of the timeline you should expect in your specific case, including how long it will take to settle your claim.
Average Motorcycle Accident Claim Timelines: Property Damage
If you suffered only property damage in your motorcycle accident, it might take a few weeks to settle your claim. You must take several critical steps to recover the compensation you deserve for your motorcycle.
Let the Insurance Representative Look at Your Motorcycle
Sometimes, insurance representatives may need to assess the motorcycle before you can even get an estimate for repairs. You may need to provide the representative with access to your motorcycle to provide a better idea of how much damage it sustained and what it will take to repair it. The representative may also look at other details related to your motorcycle accident, including where the damage occurred and how that damage lines up with the statements the company has about the accident.
Receive an Estimate for Your Motorcycle
After your motorcycle suffers damage in an accident, you will need to take it to a repair shop approved by the insurance company to get an estimate. Sometimes, you may have your motorcycle repaired by that shop. In other cases, however, you may get an estimate from an approved shop but choose to take your motorcycle to another location to have those repairs completed. As the owner of your motorcycle, you may choose where to repair your motorcycle, including whether to fit it yourself. However, the insurance company will base the amount it pays out on the estimate provided by a certified repair shop chosen by the company.
Negotiate, If Needed
Most of the time, negotiations regarding property damage, including motorcycle damage, go relatively smoothly. The insurance policy often clearly lays out the compensation you should receive for the damages to your bike. The liable driver’s policy should cover the full extent of the damages you sustained in the accident. In some cases, however, that negotiation may not go as planned. You may, for example, have sustained more damage to your bike than the liable driver’s policy covers. In Florida, for example, minimum liability insurance provides just $10,000 in coverage for damages to a vehicle, so if you suffer more damage to your motorcycle than that, you may need to talk to an attorney to learn more about your next steps. Once you have negotiated an acceptable settlement offer for your motorcycle accident damages, you will receive funds from the insurance company. If the insurance company sends it through a bank transfer, you may access those funds the same day as the agreement.
Average Motorcycle Accident Claim Timelines: Serious Injuries
If you suffer injuries in your motorcycle accident, you may find that the timeline looks very different. Injury claims often involve the need for substantially more compensation than the average property damage claim. Not only that, you may need time to fully evaluate the impact of your motorcycle accident on many areas of your life, including your physical health and wellbeing after the accident. Injury claims can settle within a few months, but it may take as much as two years or more for you to resolve some motorcycle accident cases. Several elements may contribute to the length of your motorcycle accident claim.
To learn more about your motorcycle accident timeline you should consider speaking with a motorcycle accident lawyer. Learn when you hire an attorney today
Motorcycle accidents can mean severe injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, substantial road rash, multiple broken bones, and spinal cord injuries. In some cases, recovery from those injuries progresses straightforwardly. You might suffer no additional complications, and you might recover exactly as much as your doctors expect you to recover following the accident. However, recovery does not always necessarily prove as straightforward as you would like. Complications can derail your recovery or lead to a more serious impact than you initially expected from your injuries, including making it difficult for you to move forward with your life, get back to work, or engage in your preferred hobbies and activities. Some injuries can prove very complex, and recovery may prove difficult to predict in the accident’s immediate aftermath. For example, some spinal cord injury victims, especially incomplete spinal cord injury victims, will regain a great deal of mobility, while others may struggle to move at all. Some patients with traumatic brain injury will recover their previous capability, while others may never fully regain their pre-accident capacity. Even recovery from broken bones can prove difficult to predict since some patients may ultimately recover much more strength and mobility than others. Even with a clear prediction from your doctors, you may have a hard time knowing exactly how much you will recover from your injuries, including what medical interventions you will need to reach that point. Because of the complexity of many medical recoveries, your lawyer may recommend that you wait until you know what your recovery will look like before you move forward with your motorcycle accident claim and even begin negotiating with the insurance company.
While you recover from your injuries, both your lawyer and the insurance company will launch an investigation into the accident. Following some motorcycle accidents, it may take a complicated investigation to determine who caused the accident or any others that may have contributed to it. Suppose, for example, that you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident with a commercial driver. In addition to determining the direct cause of the accident—including a driver who ignored the rules of the road or failed to check for your much smaller motorcycle before turning or changing lanes—your lawyer may want to pursue the company that employs that driver. Does the company have policies that might create a higher level of distraction on the road, like requiring employees to meet tight deadlines? Do company employees cause accidents regularly, often due to dangerous employer policies? What about the driver: Do they have a history of causing accidents regularly? Your lawyer will also want to look into the details of the vehicles to determine whether a mechanical defect in your motorcycle or the other driver’s vehicle contributed to the accident. Meanwhile, the insurance company may want to look into your medical records and the treatment you need for your injuries. In some cases, the insurance company may want to determine what treatments you have required and ensure that you actually sustained the severe injuries you claimed in the accident. Expect the insurance company to investigate you and your activities after your motorcycle accident. The insurance company may want to determine whether you have engaged in any activities that you should not have the ability to perform based on the injuries you claimed because of the accident. Your lawyer can provide you with advice about how to avoid mistakenly minimizing your motorcycle accident claim, including controlling what you post on social media or even what activities you may attempt to pursue during your recovery.
Negotiation over the details of your motorcycle accident claim may take longer than you expect.
An Initial Settlement Offer
Frequently, the insurance company will try to issue an early settlement offer, particularly if you plan to wait until you have a better idea of what your recovery will look like before you move forward with the injury claim from your motorcycle accident. That initial settlement offer may appear tempting on the surface, especially if you notice your medical bills and other expenses increasing immediately after the accident; however, that settlement offer likely does not include the total compensation you actually deserve for your injuries and losses related to the accident. Talk to a lawyer about that initial settlement offer and how it compares to the compensation you may deserve for your injuries. A lawyer can help you determine whether you should accept an initial offer or hold out longer, particularly in cases involving substantial injuries.
Your Demand Package
Your lawyer will help you put together a demand package that lays out the compensation you expect for your motorcycle accident injuries. In addition to displaying evidence of who caused the accident, which will help establish your right to compensation through that insurance policy, your demand package will break down the financial losses you sustained in the motorcycle accident:
- The medical costs you may have had to pay to receive treatment for your injuries
- The wages you have lost
- Any other expenses, including property damage, related to the motorcycle accident.
The demand package will also include the demand for damages for pain and suffering due to your injuries.
Back and Forth Negotiation
Once both sides lay out their initial settlement demands, the back and forth begins. Your lawyer will attempt to negotiate for compensation that covers all the damages you have sustained, plus compensation for the suffering you have faced due to the accident. At the same time, the insurance company may try to decrease the compensation it has to pay out as much as possible. You may go through several rounds of negotiation before arriving at a settlement offer that works for both parties. If you arrive at a settlement offer that fits your needs and the needs of the insurance company, most of the time, you will sign the offer, and your claim will end. Once you sign the offer, you will relieve the insurance company of any future financial obligation related to that accident, and you will receive a settlement check in the amount named in the agreement. However, if you cannot reach a reasonable agreement through negotiation, you may need to take further steps.
During mediation, you will have the opportunity to present your claim before a mediator. You, your lawyer, and insurance company representatives will offer insight into both sides of the claim: the compensation each side feels you deserve and why. Sometimes, a mediator can help you reach an agreement, even if you and the insurance company could not agree on your own. Mediation serves as a last step before you will have to go to court to resolve your claim.
You can expect your motorcycle accident claim to take time to resolve in court. You will need to wait for a court date, which can take some time, depending on the court system and the number of cases it needs to hear. You will then need to go to court to present your claim and argue for the compensation you deserve. After the court issues a verdict, you will receive a settlement check from the insurance company.
Contact a Lawyer After Your Motorcycle Accident
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, working with an attorney can help give you a better idea of how long it may take to settle your claim and help you get a full picture of the compensation you deserve. Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon after your accident as possible to learn more.