After a motorcycle accident, you have the right to file a personal injury claim for a settlement if you did not cause the accident. How long this motorcycle accident claim actually takes to settle—meaning you get paid for your damages and the case closes—depends on certain factors. Here’s what you can expect based on the average timeline for a motorcycle accident claim.
Why File a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
After an injury accident like a motorcycle crash, the injured party has a right to seek compensation from the negligent party (Georgia Code § 51-1-6). If you were not at fault for your accident, you can file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. The negligent party is typically another driver, so you’d file your claim with their auto insurance.
Filing a claim allows you to seek compensation for your damages like:
- Medical bills and medications
- Lost wages
- Property damage and
- Pain and suffering
Your settlement is the amount of money the insurance company agrees to pay you for your damages. Insurance companies do not like to pay out much for injury claims, so you will likely need to negotiate to settle for a higher amount.
The strength of your case, your legal representation, how the insurance company responds to your claim, and other factors can impact how long your claim actually takes to settle.
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The Timeline for How Long a Motorcycle Accident Claim Takes to Settle
The actual time it takes to settle a motorcycle accident claim is typically anywhere from six months to a year from the date of the accident. Most are resolved within a couple of months unless certain factors make the case really complicated or you end up going to court.
To make sure your case is on track at every stage, it’s best to work with a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as you can.
Here’s how the claims process works and how each step impacts the time it takes to settle.
Evidence of Damages is Gathered
You can file a motorcycle accident claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. If they are completely at fault, they are responsible for all of your damages resulting from the accident. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you compile evidence of the accident, the at-fault person’s negligence, and your damages to include in the claim.
Evidence you’ll need to support your claim includes:
- Copies of the police report from the accident
- Pictures from the accident scene of your injuries and vehicle damage
- Medical bills and prescription medications receipts
- Receipts or quotes from vehicle repairs
- Anything else that helps show what happened, such as traffic surveillance footage or eyewitness statements
Motorcycle accidents also tend to be more serious than other types of accidents. The victim often suffers serious injuries that take time to get treated and heal.
You’ll need to wait until you have a good idea of your total medical costs (and how your injuries have impacted other areas of your life, such as missed work time) before filing your claim. This will be key to determining the value of your case. It will also impact how long it takes your claim to settle.
Your Motorcycle Accident Claim is Filed
To have a valid claim after a motorcycle accident, you will need to have proof that:
- The at-fault party was negligent and
- Their negligence led to your accident and your damages
According to Georgia Code § 51-1-2, ordinary negligence is defined as the lack of “ordinary diligence,” which is the degree of care that an ordinarily prudent person would use under the same or similar type of circumstance.
The at-fault party in a motorcycle accident is usually another driver who was careless and caused the crash. However, the at-fault party can sometimes be a company or government entity.
The Insurance Company Responds to Your Claim
After the insurance company receives your injury claim, they must respond. If your evidence is valid and strong, the insurance company can approve your claim and pay the amount you’re requesting. However, it’s very common for insurance companies to fight injury claims and make it difficult for you to get the full amount you deserve.
The insurance company might use tactics like:
- Taking as long as possible to respond to your claim
- Blaming you for a portion or all of the accident
- Questioning your injuries or other damages
- Intimidating you or encouraging you to settle quickly
- Offering you a lowball settlement and hoping you’ll take it
You’ll want to have a motorcycle accident lawyer on your side at this point, as they can communicate with the insurance company for you and make sure they don’t take advantage of you. Do not accept any money, give any recorded statements, or sign anything from the insurance company without consulting an attorney first.
Negotiation and Settlement
If the insurance company offers you a lowball settlement, denies your claim, or drags things out in some other way, your lawyer will work to negotiate with them. The goal is to get the fairest compensation possible to help cover all of your damages.
You might wait 20-30 days before receiving the first settlement offer from the insurance company. Negotiation may take several more weeks, which is why this process typically takes from 30 days to six weeks. The amount of time it takes will depend on how the negotiation goes.
More complex cases are more likely to encounter issues and take longer to settle. Your lawyer will work to strengthen your claim as much as possible so there’s little for the insurance company to contest. If all goes well, the actual settlement should proceed swiftly.
Accepting a Settlement Versus Filing a Lawsuit
If your lawyer is able to negotiate a settlement that works for you, the insurance company will have to sign a release form. This means you’re accepting the settlement amount and closing your case. You will not be able to pursue further legal action regarding this accident.
Most motorcycle accident claims settle at this point. If you work with an experienced lawyer, chances are good that you can reach a settlement that helps cover your damages. However, some cases are not so straightforward and your lawyer might discuss filing a lawsuit.
If you decide to take the at-fault party and their insurance company to court, the timeline will be longer. Even after you decide to sue, there will be opportunities to reach a settlement before the actual trial date. Insurance companies will typically try to settle to avoid the costs of a trial.
Talk to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Free Today
How long your motorcycle accident claim will take to settle depends on the exact details of your case. That being said, chances are good that you can reach a settlement within a year or two, depending on how long it takes your injuries to heal. To have the best chance at full compensation for your damages, reach out to John Foy & Associates today.
Our motorcycle accident lawyers have been helping injured bikers for over 20 years. We know what it takes to win cases, and we don’t charge a fee unless we win you money. Call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to schedule a FREE consultation today.