The circumstances of every accident vary, so your lawyer cannot predict how long it will take to settle your motorcycle accident claim. Motorcycle claims involve many elements, including who holds responsibility for causing the accident, the scope of damages, and the types and amounts of insurance coverage available.
While some victims receive a settlement for their motorcycle accident within weeks, other claims take years of fighting for just financial awards and sometimes result in a trial to resolve the issue. However, the sooner you contact a lawyer for assistance, the sooner you can get started on your claims process.
Factors That Contribute to a Motorcycle Accident Claim
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the interaction of human, vehicle, and environmental factors plays a role in the nature and outcome of a motorcycle accident. Over 80% of motorcycle collisions result in injuries or fatalities to the motorcycle passengers, particularly due to the lack of external safety features to protect them. In addition to the factors that cause the accident and the injuries that result, liability and insurance also factor into determining a settlement.
Establishment of Liability
Depending on where you live, your settlement process may involve establishing liability for the accident. This can help determine whose insurance policy will cover your damages as well as the amount you may receive. To prove the negligence of the other party, your lawyer must demonstrate that their actions in the accident meet four specific criteria.
- Duty of care: The driver had a responsibility to exercise reasonable caution to protect the safety of the victim.
- Breach of duty: The driver failed to abide by their duty of care.
- Causation: The driver’s breach of duty led to the injury of the victim.
- Damages: The victim’s injury resulted in significant damages.
Motorcycle accidents can be financially crippling, so you would want your settlement to cover all past, present, and future damages. For this reason, it is crucial to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible after the crash. Your attorney will evaluate your case and the provided evidence, assign a monetary value to all your economic and non-economic damages, build a case, and start the process.
Extent of Damages
A University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) article notes that the most common injuries include extremity fractures, such as broken arms and legs. They affected at least one-quarter of all motorcyclists studied, and older motorcyclists faced a greater risk of more long-term complications. Chest and head injuries account for most of the severe injuries suffered by motorcyclists.
When considering your losses, a lawyer will evaluate the financial cost of the injuries you suffered and the cost of other damages, such as your lost wages and, if you lost a loved one in the accident, the funeral and burial expenses. In some cases, you may also seek compensation for the physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering you experienced as a result of your accident. These factors can help provide you with an estimate of the total you may request in the settlement.
In certain situations, a lawyer will send a letter to the insurance company responsible for covering damages demanding a specific amount. If the insurance company accepts, the victim may receive their settlement within weeks. However, insurance companies and their legal teams typically try to negotiate a lower rate, and in the event that you cannot reach an agreement with them, the case may go to trial. A lawyer cannot tell you how long your motorcycle accident claim will take to settle from there, but they can help you avoid unnecessary delays and represent you in court.
The types of insurance policies held by the victim or the at-fault driver may play a role in the length and outcome of the settlement, as well. Some states either require or give drivers the option to carry no-fault coverage, which means that their insurance policies must pay for their damages regardless of who holds responsibility for the accident. The Insurance Information Institute (III) lists the minimum requirements for liability by state.
Other states use liability systems to determine whose insurance must pay for the victims’ injuries. In some states, the person who holds the primary fault for the collision must pay 100% of the damages. Other states use a shared liability system, which means that, if the victim holds partial accountability for the accident, they may receive a percentage of the total award amount.
Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC To Get Started on Your Claim
If you or a loved one suffered serious or fatal injuries as the result of someone else’s negligence in a motorcycle crash, a motorcycle accident attorney can help you gather the information you need, take the appropriate steps to pursue your claim, and represent you throughout the process. You should not concern yourself with your lawyer’s fees, as most motor vehicle lawyers work on a contingency basis.
At Ben Crump Law, PLLC, our lawyers will take on your goal of seeking justice and compensation for your injuries and help you fight for the financial recovery you deserve. Call us today at 800-959-1444 to discuss your free case evaluation with our legal team.