How long does a motorcycle accident lawsuit take?
When you are a victim of an unfortunate motorcycle accident, the whole ordeal can not only be physically and emotionally tiring, but financially draining as well. In situations like this, having the capability to pay for the medical bills, treatment, and other costs is a priority for you to heal and rehabilitate.
Unfortunately, a motorcycle accident lawsuit may last for a long time. In some cases, it may be difficult to guess when you can receive compensation especially if the bike accident that took place is complex. At times, proving liability can even take years.
Accepting a low settlement offer from the insurance company may be tempting, but doing so will be extremely unfair on your part, especially if it doesn’t suffice to pay for your medical bills. To help you with this situation, here is a guide on the things you can expect regarding your Florida motorcycle accident claim.
Why is it necessary to file a motorcycle accident claim?
Every year, thousands of individuals in the state of Florida and the United States are involved in motorcycle accidents. Unfortunately, the injuries they sustain may be severe, as “motorcyclists and their passengers are more vulnerable to the hazards of weather and road conditions than drivers in closed vehicles.” (1)
So why is it necessary to file a motorcycle accident claim? Being in an accident is expensive. Because of this, your savings alone may not be enough to pay for the costs. Plus, if you are not at fault, it is your right to get compensation for the injuries, pain, and suffering the liable party owes you. If you want to receive financial support from the liable individuals, the only way to do so is by settling or filing an accident claim.
You should file a motorcycle accident claim if:
You were injured in the bike accident
Did the crash result in a physical ailment or catastrophic injury on your part? Do you require treatment for your injuries? Will you need rehabilitation? In this case, you should absolutely file a claim.
Make sure that you keep all the detailed records of your check-ups and treatment. This will help you get compensated later on.
Common injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident include:
- Whiplash, head and neck injuries
- Bruises, cuts, and scrapes
- Brain and spinal cord injuries
- Limb injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Broken bones
- Nerve damage
- Catastrophic injury
Your personal property was damaged in the accident
Did your vehicle and valuables get damaged as a result of the crash? Depending on the situation and policy, you may also be compensated for your broken valuables.
You lost your wages as a result of the accident
If you were unable to work for a period of time due to the accident, filing a claim will help you recover your wages. Since the liable party caused you to lose income, you are eligible for compensation.
Your mental health is affected due to the accident
Pain and suffering, mental anguish, and other unquantifiable losses will also be considered in your claim. If you are experiencing loss of enjoyment in your daily life, are anxious on roads, or are depressed after the accident, you deserve the chance to heal and may also be factored into your payout.
The timeline to motorcycle accident claims
How long does a motorcycle accident lawsuit take in Florida? What are the things you should know about when making your claim? Is there an average timeline or process to expect when filing your claim?
Accident cases can be very complex. Depending on the situation, it is not unheard of how lawsuits may last for years. Every case is special and unique when it comes to accident claims. Since there are a lot of things to consider, you should know that there are two paths in which your claim may end: settling with your insurance company or going to court.
Which one is better? It depends on your case. Here are the things you should know about the two processes.
What happens when you settle?
When you settle, this would often mean that you’re able to get financial support faster. As a result, you can pay for your hospital bills, treatment, and other costs you need to take care of for you to heal.
Sadly, what this entails is that you may not get the amount that is fair for your unfortunate experience. Since many insurance providers operate from a business perspective, they would often not want to pay loads of money to victims and will try to negotiate a lower amount than you would normally get.
When you are on your own, it is much easier for these insurance companies to minimize your claim. They may say that the accident is partially your fault, or they may make your injuries feel like minor inconveniences. This is the main reason why hiring a motorcycle accident attorney will help you. When you have a legal representative, your chances of getting fair settlement money will be more plausible. Plus, you can rest easy knowing that you have a partner that will look out for your best interests.
How long will settling take?
As mentioned earlier, there is no doubt that settling will be much faster compared to taking your claim to the court. On average, the settlement process may last from 30 days to 2 months. Of course, there are exceptions, especially if you and the insurance company are still in the process of negotiating.
The process of motorcycle accident settlements
After getting a diagnosis of your injuries and condition through a comprehensive check-up, you and your attorney can assess the costs of your treatment. The best thing you will do is get the opinion of a medical professional that details the future treatment you will need, plus an assessment of how much it would cost.
Next, your lawyer will assist you with the documentation of both your financial and emotional losses. These are what we call economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are the losses that are easy to put a value on. This is because they have a set price. For example, this can be your past and future medical costs, the wages you lost after suffering the accident, and loss of income potential.
On the other hand, in the State of Florida,non-economic damages are the losses that do not have a set value. Also known as pain and suffering, this includes your mental anguish, suffering, loss of enjoyment, and other emotional losses that resulted from the accident.
Once your lawyer has concluded the amount of settlement you need and has gathered the necessary evidence, they will issue a demand letter to the insurance provider. This is where the negotiations begin. The insurance carrier will have an opportunity to review your demands and may issue a counteroffer, to which you may accept or decline. The process will continue until you both agree to settle to an amount that will be fair on both sides. If all goes well, you will then receive your settlement check a week after the finalized agreement.
What happens when you take your case to court?
When you and the insurance company are unable to reach an agreement, you have the opportunity to take your case to court. This is where your lawsuit starts.
How long will a lawsuit take?
On average, motorcycle accident lawsuits can take months and years. This is exactly why many claims get settled before it goes to court, as it can be financially exhausting for both parties.
The process of motorcycle accident lawsuits
Once your lawyer files the lawsuit, the discovery phase will commence. This is the part where both parties, plaintiff and defendant, exchange information and pieces of evidence.
In this stage, it is important to determine who the liable party is in the motorcycle accident. In some cases, there may be a mediation in an effort to stop the case from going to trial. If there is a mutual agreement, both parties may agree to dismiss the case, as long as they arrive at a fair compensation amount.
In the situation where the plaintiff and defendant are not willing to resolve the issue, the trial will start. If you and your lawyer are successful and win the lawsuit, you will be awarded a settlement amount that will work in your favor. However, if you lose, you may not receive any settlement money.
Florida’s Statute of Limitations
Healing from your injuries will take time. Unfortunately, you need to know that there is a time limit as to when you are eligible to file a lawsuit for your injuries.
In Florida, you should file your claim within four years after the accident. Hence, you should make sure that you will be ready to dedicate your energy and resources within this time period. Once the limit expires, the court can refuse to hear your case, and it will be difficult to receive compensation for your losses.
Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer in Florida today
"Law is will to justice." - Gustav Radbruch
Every motorcycle accident has its own story. However, it is not a secret that insurance companies may do everything they can to pay the least amount of money to save on costs. Sadly, if you have lost a lot in the accident, it is easy to be on the losing side of the stick without a legal representative.
BC Law personal injury attorneys are here to assist you. With our experience and training, you can be assured that your case will be treated with utmost priority, empathy, and fairness. Schedule a consultation with our experts for professional assistance.
To learn more about motorcycle injuries:
Facts + Statistics: Motorcycle crashes | Insurance Information Institute