The time it takes to resolve a motorcycle accident claim or lawsuit depends upon various factors, including the circumstances surrounding the crash, the injuries the accident victim suffers, and the insurance company the accident victim is dealing with.
One of the most important steps you can take to streamline your motorcycle accident claim or lawsuit is to retain experienced legal counsel to assist you with every step of the process. In general, the sooner you retain a lawyer to represent you in your case, the more likely you are to recover favourable monetary damages for your injuries.
As soon as you retain counsel to represent you, your lawyer can start investigating your motorcycle accident circumstances and gathering the documents necessary to prove your case. Your lawyer can also help you file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company and reach a favourable settlement with the handling adjuster. If that is not possible, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and resolve your motorcycle accident case through litigation.
Discuss an expected time frame for your injury claim with a motorcycle accident lawyer today.
How Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
Motorcycle crashes frequently occur when other drivers violate traffic laws, engage in distracted driving, exhibit road rage, or drive while intoxicated. A driver’s actions or inactions constitute negligence when they are unreasonable under the circumstances.
One common cause of motorcycle crashes is traffic law violations. Motorcycle accidents are prevalent when other drivers violate speed limits, tailgate cyclists, and fail to yield the right-of-way to cyclists when appropriate.
Road rage causes many other motorcycle crashes. Drivers exhibit road rage when they speed, aggressively weave around heavy traffic, aggressively honk their horns, and tailgate other vehicles, including motorcycles. When a driver exhibits road rage, they may not slow down or stop in time to avoid hitting a motorcycle. Some road-raging drivers might even run a motorcycle off the road, threaten a rider while driving, or crash into them on purpose.
Next, some motorcycle accidents happen when people drive while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. When it comes to driving under the influence or DUI, a driver is legally intoxicated if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) rises to 0.08 percent or more. However, commercial and minor drivers under 21 must not have alcohol in their system, as measured by a breathalyzer device.
When a judge or jury finds a driver guilty of DUI, the convicted driver might have to pay monetary fines or spend time in jail. If the intoxicated driver negligently causes an accident that leads to injuries, their criminal financial penalties may increase. The drunken driver might also have to pay civil damages through their insurance company if they caused a motorcycle crash that led to physical injuries and other losses.
Motorcycle collisions may also happen when a driver operates their vehicle while distracted. For example, they might be looking at a GPS navigation system or texting instead of watching the road. Adjusting the volume on a car stereo or even heated conversations with passengers may also be distracting for some drivers.
Since motorcycles are low to the ground, they can be difficult for other drivers to spot. Therefore, even a minimal distraction may prevent a driver from seeing a motorcyclist in the vicinity, causing an accident.
In some situations, motorcycle accidents do not result from another driver’s negligence. Instead, they result from roadway defects, such as grooved pavement, deep cracks, and potholes in the road. When a cyclist hits a deep pothole or deformation at a high speed, that movement may be sufficient to knock them off their motorcycle and cause them to strike the ground, resulting in serious injuries.
Construction companies and municipalities, including cities and counties, are responsible for maintaining roadways safely and reasonably. When they fail to make the necessary repairs within a reasonable timeframe, they can be liable for any motorcycle crashes that result.
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident that resulted from another individual or entity’s negligence, you should talk with an experienced lawyer in your area right away about your options. Your lawyer can thoroughly investigate your accident circumstances, determine your options, and help you pursue the compensation you need through a favourable settlement or litigation result.
Potential Motorcycle Crash Injuries
Unlike car and truck occupants, motorcyclists are extremely disadvantaged in accidents. Since they experience direct exposure to the ground, as well as to their surrounding environment, they stand to suffer permanent and sometimes fatal injuries in a severe crash. The force of a motorcycle collision often knocks cyclists to the ground, causing severe injuries.
Every motorcycle crash scenario is different. Therefore, not all motorcyclists will suffer the same injuries in an accident. Factors that influence the size and scope of a motorcyclist’s injuries include the vehicle’s speeds, the collision’s overall force, whether the accident victim strikes the ground during the collision, and how they land on the ground following the crash.
Motorcyclists may suffer:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Full and partial paralysis that limits feeling, sensation, and movement in various parts of their body
- Loss of the ability to use a specific body part
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Traumatic head injuries and brain damage
- Internal organ damage
- Shoulder injuries
- Soft tissue neck and back injuries
- Hip fractures
- Knee injuries
- Road rash
If you suffered any of these injuries in your recent motorcycle accident, you should receive ongoing medical treatment. That way, you decrease your chances of suffering potentially lifelong complications. An emergency room medical provider can recommend ongoing medical care for you, depending on the nature and extent of your injuries. For example, you can follow up with an orthopedist, neurologist, or another specialist for ongoing medical treatment.
While you attend medical appointments, a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer in your area can start advocating for you by preparing the necessary claim documents on your behalf.
Legal Elements of Proof in a Motorcycle Accident Claim or Lawsuit
To recover monetary compensation as part of a motorcycle accident claim or lawsuit, an accident victim must satisfy their legal burden of proof. In fact, in a personal injury claim or lawsuit dealing with a motorcycle crash, the injured cyclist has the sole legal burden in the case. The at-fault party does not need to prove anything or satisfy any legal burden in the claim or lawsuit.
First, the injured cyclist must establish that the responsible party owed them a legal duty of care they violated. For example, another driver might have broken a traffic law or engaged in DUI, causing a motorcycle crash.
Next, the injured cyclist must show that as a direct result of the other driver’s negligence, their motorcycle crash occurred, and they suffered at least one physical injury.
Insurance companies do not make it easy for accident victims to prove the various legal elements of their motorcycle accident claim. In fact, the insurance company is your direct adversary when it comes to recovering the monetary damages you deserve.
A knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer can retain an expert to testify in your case and help you satisfy your legal burden of proof. For example, your lawyer may introduce the testimony of an accident reconstructionist if the insurance company is disputing fault for your accident. Your lawyer can also present favourable medical testimony in your case to causally relate your injuries to the motorcycle crash.
For example, a treating medical provider can testify, based on a reasonable degree of medical probability, that specific injuries share a direct relationship with your motorcycle crash.
What Happens During Motorcycle Accident Litigation?
Before filing a lawsuit arising from a motorcycle accident, most accident victims will attempt to resolve their claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. However, insurance companies and their adjusters are notoriously difficult (and cheap), and the parties may be unable to reach a consensus on a settlement amount. When that happens, a motorcycle accident lawyer can file a lawsuit in court, beginning the litigation stage of your case.
During motorcycle accident litigation, the parties will first engage information in a process called discovery. During this time, the parties will exchange relevant documents with one another and answer written questions called interrogatories. The defence lawyer in the case may also take the accident victim’s deposition and ask them questions about the accident, how it occurred, the injuries they suffered, and the overall consequences of the accident on their life.
Most cases resolve at some point during the litigation stage of a case. Insurance companies often want to avoid the uncertainty of a civil jury trial result. However, if the case does not settle, the parties will usually take their case to a jury trial, allowing jury members to decide the case outcome. A jury will then resolve all issues in dispute, including the issue of monetary compensation and damages.
Instead of taking a motorcycle crash case to a jury trial, the parties may agree on alternative dispute resolution, like binding arbitration or mediation. Your lawyer can help you decide which option best suits the circumstances of your case, as well as your overall goals.
Factors That Affect the Length of a Typical Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
Various factors may affect a typical motorcycle accident lawsuit’s length. One of the best ways to streamline your lawsuit is to retain experienced legal counsel to represent you throughout the entire process.
Since every motorcycle accident case is different, the length of time it takes to settle or litigate a case may vary considerably.
Factors that influence these timeframes include:
- The overall novelty and complexity of the motorcycle accident case
- The need for an investigation
- The cooperation (or lack thereof) by insurance companies and their settlement adjusters
- The specific insurance company and adjuster with whom you are working
- The injuries you suffered following your accident and the length of time it takes you to treat for your injuries
- The amount of time it takes to obtain medical records and income loss documentation
- The court where your lawsuit is pending
Your motorcycle accident lawyer will do everything they can to streamline your case and help you obtain a favourable and efficient result.
Monetary Damages You May Recover Following a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
Victims of motorcycle crashes may be eligible to receive various types and amounts of monetary damages. The overall monetary award that a crash victim recovers will depend upon the extent of the accident victim’s injuries, the nature of their pain and suffering, and the total of their lost earnings, if any.
Compensable monetary damages following a motorcycle crash may include compensation for:
- Lost earnings
- Loss of earning capacity
- Permanent inability to use a body part
- Humiliation from visible scarring
- Permanent disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of spousal companionship
- Emotional anguish and mental distress
A skilled motorcycle accident lawyer in your area can handle all settlement negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf and help you maximize your total monetary damages as much as possible. If that does not happen during the settlement negotiation process, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and help you maximize your monetary compensation through litigation.
Speak With a Knowledgeable Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Near You Today
If you recently suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash, time is of the essence. Accident victims must file a motorcycle accident lawsuit within two years of their accident date. Otherwise, the courts will prevent accident victims from recovering any monetary compensation.
As soon as you retain a knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer to represent you, they can start advocating for your legal interests. A lawyer will guide you through every step of the case, including the settlement and litigation processes.
If your case must go to court or to a binding arbitration hearing, your lawyer will aggressively fight for your legal rights by introducing favourable evidence on your behalf and making convincing arguments in pursuit of fair monetary compensation. Your personal injury attorney in Edmonton can do this for you while you focus on recovering from your injuries.