After a motorcycle accident, one question people often have is how long it will take for the claim to settle. The duration of a motorcycle injury claim can vary depending on various factors, including the case’s complexity, the severity of the victim’s injuries, and the cooperation between the involved parties.
Most cases settle outside court within six months to a year. Understanding the claims process and factors affecting the settlement timeline is crucial for individuals seeking financial compensation for their medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other accident-related damages.
Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer today, or keep reading to learn more about the personal injury claims process.
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, per Georgia Code § 51-1-6. You will most likely file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company if you are not at fault for your accident. The negligent party is typically another motorist, so you’d file your claim with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance.
Filing a claim allows you to seek compensation for damages such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Permanent disability
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Wrongful death
Your settlement is the amount the insurance company agrees to pay you for your damages. Unfortunately, insurers do not like to pay large settlements for personal 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 adjuster responds to your claim, and other factors can impact the time your claim takes to settle.
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The Timeline for How Long a Motorcycle Accident Claim Takes To Settle
As mentioned previously, motorcycle collision claims typically settle within a year of the accident date. Most are resolved within a few months unless certain factors complicate the case or it goes to court. But, again, working with a qualified motorcycle accident lawyer will help ensure your case is on track at every stage.
Here’s how the claims process works and how each step impacts the settlement timeline:
Evidence Is Gathered To Support Your Claim
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 attorney can help you compile evidence of the accident, the at-fault person’s negligence, and your damages to include in the claim. The evidence you’ll need to support your claim includes the following:
- Doctor’s notes: Detailed reports of your injuries from your doctor can help prove the extent of your injuries.
- Rehabilitation therapy records: If your injuries require physical therapy or other types of rehabilitation, these records can help demonstrate the extent of your injuries and the cost of your medical care.
- Lost wages: If you had to miss work due to your injuries, document this loss with pay stubs or a letter from your employer. This could help you recoup these losses.
- Pain and suffering: This can be difficult to quantify, but maintaining a journal describing your physical and emotional suffering can provide compelling evidence.
- Police officer testimony: If possible, get a statement from the police officer who responded to the scene. This can lend additional credibility to your account of the accident.
- Dashcam or GoPro footage: If you or nearby vehicles had a dashcam or similar device installed, the footage could be invaluable in proving your case.
- GPS data: Some modern vehicles keep track of speed and direction, which could help corroborate your version of events.
Motorcycle crashes also tend to be more serious than other accident types since motorcycle riders are more vulnerable than those inside cars. Unfortunately, motorcycle accident victims often suffer serious injuries that take time to treat and heal.
Before filing your claim, you’ll need to wait until you know your total medical costs (and how your injuries have impacted other areas of your life, such as missed work time). This will be key in determining the value of your case. It will also impact how long it takes for your claim to settle.
Your Personal Injury Claim Is Filed
To have a valid claim after a motorcycle crash, you will need proof that:
- The at-fault party was negligent.
- Their negligence led to your accident.
- You suffered damages as a direct result of the incident.
According to Georgia Code § 51-1-2, ordinary negligence is defined as the lack of “ordinary diligence,” which is the degree of care an ordinarily prudent person would use under the same or similar circumstances.
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 personal injury claim, they must respond. If your evidence is compelling, the insurance company can approve your claim and pay the amount you demand. However, it’s common for insurance companies to fight injury claims, making it difficult 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 of 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 a motorcycle accident lawyer on your side, as they can communicate with the insurance company on your behalf and ensure they don’t take advantage of you. Do not accept money, give 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 maximum compensation to cover your past, present, and future damages.
You might wait 20–30 days before receiving the first settlement offer from the insurance company. After that, negotiation may take several more weeks, so this process typically takes 30 days to six weeks. The exact time it takes will depend on how the negotiation goes.
More complex cases will likely 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 get paid swiftly.
Accepting a Settlement Versus Filing a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
If your lawyer negotiates a fair settlement, the insurance company will have you sign a release. Signing this settlement agreement means accepting the offered amount and closing your case. As a result, you will not be able to pursue further legal action regarding this accident.
Most motorcycle accident claims settle this way. If you work with an experienced lawyer, chances are you can reach a settlement that adequately covers your damages. However, some cases are not as straightforward as others, and your lawyer might recommend filing a lawsuit.
While your attorney will guide you through the legal process, the timeline will be longer if you decide to take the at-fault party and their insurance company to court. Even after you decide to sue, there will be opportunities to settle on the trial date. Insurance companies will typically try to settle to avoid the costs associated with a trial.
Talk to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Free Today
In a nutshell, the amount of time your motorcycle accident claim will take to settle depends on the specifics of your case. That said, chances are good that you can settle within a year or two, depending on how long your injuries heal. For the best chance at recovering full compensation for your damages, contact John Foy & Associates today.
Our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers have been helping injured bikers for over 20 years. We know what it takes to win these cases and don’t charge a fee unless we get you money. So call us today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.