You can file for settlement of a motorcycle accident claim if the accident was not caused by you. The timeline of your accident claim depends on your motorcycle accident attorney.
Every case is different and distinct. However, many motorcycle accident claims have a similar process. The average timeline of a claim will be discussed below.
Safety Precautions After a Motorcycle Accident
If the injury sustained after an accident is minor, you must focus on yourself and your safety.
These precautions include:
- Not moving far from the accident scene and calling for emergency services. This helps you with police reports compiled by the first responders. Obtaining this report will help your case.
- Take pictures of the accident scene. Pictorial evidence of the extent of the damage caused corroborates your story. If you are unable to take pictures yourself, ask someone to do so.
- Collect contact details of witnesses and the other party. That is their full name, insurance information, phone number, and house address. The details of the police officer or the first responder should also be collected.
- Go to the hospital to get medical care. There are some injuries only visible to medical personnel. The medical expenditure is also needed to calculate your settlement claim.
- Do not accept liability at the accident scene. This will potentially make you lose your compensation as liability is placed on you. Be careful with your choice of words when talking to the insurance company representatives at the accident scene. It is best to tell them you would rather speak to your motorcycle accident attorney.
- Contact your attorney immediately. You need to contact an attorney who is an expert in motorcycle accident claim as soon as possible. The chances to incur liability for the accident will be reduced. You are also protected from saying things that can damage your case.
How to file a Motorcycle Accident Claim
You are to prove the following if you are claiming damages from a motorcycle accident:
- The accident and damage are caused by the other person.
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- The extent of the damage done.
When it is established that the other party’s at fault, an insurance claim can be filed. The party at fault and their insurer are responsible for paying all damages.
The insurance company can approve your claim if there is evidence that the other party’s at fault. It is at this stage when most motorcycle accident claims are resolved. Especially if there are no major injuries and disputes about who caused the accident.
The insurance company investigates to verify your claim. The insurance company can request any of the following pieces of evidence:
- Proof of damage (pictorial evidence)
- Medical Reports
- Medical expenses receipts
- An estimate of any repairs done with the corresponding receipts
- Eyewitness testimony
Factors That Influence the Payout for a Motorcycle Accident
Injuries sustained during a motorcycle accident can lead to exorbitant medical bills. Every motorcycle accident case is unique.
Thus, estimating a motorcycle accident settlement claim is difficult. The average settlement ranges from $9000 to $80,000.
Some factors affect the quantum of settlement. Thus, it is important to get advice from an expert motorcycle accident lawyer. A motorcycle accident lawyer, based on an examination of your case, can give an estimate of the amount to recover.
Some of the factors to consider include:
- The liable party
The liable party determines how you get compensation for your injury. Thus, you must prove the actions of the other party caused the accident. The inability to provide evidence limits your chances of getting compensation.
- The insurance policies of the parties
You must find out if the party at fault has insurance coverage. This determines if your claim can be covered. If the other party has no insurance coverage, you should ask your insurance company about it. Your motorcycle accident attorney can advise you on the next course of action too.
- Driving recklessly
If there is evidence showing you were a reckless driver, it reduces your chances of getting compensation. This also extends to driving under the influence.
- Extent of damage
If the injury sustained as a result of the accident is minor and requires little medical attention, it reduces the quantum of compensation. In calculating the compensation, present and future medical expenditures will be put into consideration.
Additionally, economic factors will be used in assessing the value of the compensation. These include damage to the motorcycle, lost earning capacity, and out-of-pocket expenses. Bigger compensation requires big losses. Other non-economic factors not calculated using bills are:
- Pain such as emotional pain, dealing with anxiety, and trauma.
- The death of the victim entitles their family to receive compensation.
- Riding a Motorcycle without a helmet
Riding a motorcycle without a helmet is one of the ways to reduce your chances of getting compensated. Most insurance companies look for ways to pay less for your claim. They resort to blaming you for being partly responsible for the accident. As a result, you are responsible for part of the damages that need to be paid.
The complexity of your case is also a contributing factor to the insurer’s resistance to paying.
A motorcycle accident attorney is at this stage your best option to help strengthen your case. The motorcycle accident attorney can negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company. This helps you get a good and favorable settlement.
The duration of the settlement process could take a month to six weeks. This depends on the uniqueness and complexity of your case. Your motorcycle accident attorney can help negotiate the timeline ensuring it is fast.
When you settle on a fair settlement with the insurance company, you are to sign a release. This is a release for the settlement of your claim. The implication of this is that you no longer have the right to sue the party at fault. You are agreeing to give up that right by receiving the settlement payment.
It is at this stage that the motorcycle accident case ends and you receive your money from the insurer.
A Motorcycle Accident Case Lawsuit
If you cannot reach a favorable agreement you can file a personal injury lawsuit. There are a few stages involved when you decide to go to trial.
- Discovery Phase
This is the initial stage after filing your suit. At this stage, parties exchange documents important to the trial. Such documents include witness statements and evidence.
Examination of the nature of the accident and the extent of the damage is done at this stage.
This phase takes six to twelve months after filing the lawsuit. The parties can settle at any time during this phase.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
Parties are encouraged after the discovery phase to involve alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
This phase facilitates resolution without proceeding to trial.
This process takes a few days to complete. If there is a resolution at this stage, the lawsuit will not proceed.
Proceeding to take a motorcycle accident claim to trial costs time and money. A good motor accident attorney only recommends a case to trial if there are high chances of success. The trial can take as long as two years in court.
It helps to have a motorcycle accident attorney for the process. There is a higher chance of getting settlements and resolving claims faster with the help of an experienced attorney.
Deadline within which to file a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
You have two years to file a lawsuit immediately after the motorcycle accident. The following are examples of the different time frames involved in various scenarios:
- Personal injuries
You must file a lawsuit within 2 years for personal injuries suffered.
If a family member dies from a motorcycle accident, the lawsuit must be filed within 2 years. You will file for wrongful death. The start date is from the day of death, not the accident date.
- Government Institution
If the party at fault is a government institution, you must file your lawsuit within six months. The start date is the day of the accident.
A minor can only sue within two years from the day of their 18th birthday. An adult guardian and litem can sue on their behalf before they are 18 years.
The Repercussions of Missing the Deadline to Sue
The judge can dismiss your case if the opposing party files a motion based on filing a statute-barred suit.
You will not be able to receive a settlement from the insurance company if this happens. It is best to file your lawsuit within the required time.
Hiring an experienced motorcycle accident attorney should not be delayed. It can harm your case. You should hire an attorney immediately after the motorcycle accident.
It gives your motorcycle accident attorney ample time to retrieve evidence before it is damaged or lost. Your attorney is also able to file your lawsuit before the deadline.
With this detailed process, you can claim your settlement and receive damages for your injury.
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