Most motorcycle accident victims have (thankfully) never had to deal with the insurance claim process before. This can make the whole situation stressful, especially if you’re not sure when it’ll all end. It helps to know what to expect and how the typical motorcycle accident claim timeline looks.
Although every case is different (and the exact time to settlement can vary widely), many claims will follow the outline below. And how each step goes can determine how long the whole process takes.
Filing the Motorcycle Accident Claim
If you are making a claim for damages after a motorcycle accident, there are two main things you’ll need to prove:
- That the other driver caused your accident and damages
- And how much those damages are worth.
This means you’ll need to build a strong insurance claim to file against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the other driver is found to be completely at fault, they and their insurer are responsible for all damages you’ve faced.
Most motorcycle accident claims are resolved in this stage. If there is clear evidence that the other driver was at fault and that your damages are valid, the insurance company may approve your claim and pay the full amount.
This can happen if you have minor injuries without pre-existing injuries, there’s no dispute about who was at fault, and the at-fault driver had insurance coverage. It also requires investigation and physical evidence like:
- Pictures of the accident scene, injuries, and damage to your motorcycle
- Proof of medical expenses
- Medical reports from doctors
- Proof of lost wages
- Receipts or estimates for repairs on your motorcycle
- Statements from eyewitnesses
However, it’s very common for the insurance company to make things more difficult.
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Negotiation and Settlement of a Motorcycle Accident Claim
Insurers are always looking for ways to pay out less for a claim, so they may deny it, try to offer you a lowball settlement instead, or try to blame you for your motorcycle accident. (For example, if you were riding without a helmet in Georgia or they suspect you were, the insurer can say you are responsible for at least part of your damages.)
The more complex your accident case is, the greater the likelihood you’ll face pushback from the insurer. This is where a motorcycle accident lawyer can help by strengthening your claim and negotiating with the insurance company for a fair settlement.
Settlement typically takes anywhere from 30 days to six weeks after the accident, although it varies depending on the case. You may wait 20-30 days to get the first settlement offer from the insurance adjuster. Then, your lawyer will discuss the offer with you and negotiate if it’s too low. This process usually moves quickly.
Accepting a Settlement
If you and your lawyer are able to reach a fair settlement with the insurance company, you’ll be asked to sign a release settling your claim. This means you’re giving up the right to sue the at-fault party and agreeing to receive the settlement amount.
And thankfully, this is where most personal injury cases end and the claimant (you) will soon receive your money. It usually takes the insurance adjuster around five to seven days to send the settlement check. If you were working with a personal injury lawyer, they typically receive the check, subtract their fees and any other relevant payments from the legal process, then send the final amount to you.
Going to Trial in a Motorcycle Accident Case
If you aren’t able to reach a fair agreement with the insurance company, you and your lawyer may decide to take the case to court—meaning a personal injury lawsuit can begin. Before the trial stages, there are a few phases you’ll go through
The first phase of a motorcycle accident case, after a lawsuit has been filed, is the discovery phase. This is where each party exchanges information like pertinent documents, witness statements, testimonies, and more.
Both sides get very clear on the nature of the accident and the extent of your injuries. If there is any question about who was negligent in the accident (for example, if the other driver is claiming you were lane-splitting before the accident happened), those details will be examined too.
Discovery typically takes between six and 12 months after the lawsuit has been filed. The case can be settled at any point during discovery as details become more clear.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
After discovery is done, most cases involve alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which refers to mediation or arbitration. This phase involves a neutral third party that provides an understanding of how a judge or jury might see the case. The purpose of ADR is to encourage a resolution before moving on to trial.
Mediation in a motorcycle accident case can take between a few hours and a few days after it begins. If both parties come to a resolution, the lawsuit can be dismissed and the accident claim resolved.
Very few motorcycle accident cases make it all the way to trial. That’s because going to trial takes a lot of time and money—and if you lose in court, you’ll lose your chance at a settlement. For this reason, a good lawyer will only recommend going to trial if they are very confident in your chances of winning. This typically only happens after very severe motorcycle accidents.
If you do proceed to trial, it can take as long as two years or more for the case to get seen in court.
So, What is the Total Time it Takes to Settle a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
Most motorcycle accident claims are resolved in less than a couple of months unless the case is really complicated and/or both parties cannot come to a fair agreement. Either way, it helps to have a motorcycle accident lawyer on your side. Research has shown claimants get higher settlements and resolve their claims faster when they have the help of an experienced attorney.
If you are wondering how long your motorcycle accident claim will take and want to speed up the settlement process, give John Foy & Associates a call. We’ll start with a FREE consultation to discuss the details. To get started, call 404-400-4000 or fill out the form for your free consultation.