In the aftermath of a motorcycle crash, your immediate focus is likely on the treatment of injuries. However, once emergency medical issues are treated, you may be wondering how you will pay for that medical care and other losses, especially if the wreck resulted in a loss of income from time off work. You have the right to file a lawsuit after a motorcycle crash caused by a negligent driver or defective vehicle. The length of time to settle a motorcycle accident lawsuit and receive damages can vary significantly. While you may want the case to resolve quickly, several factors affect how long it will take to receive compensation. Here, we’ll explore some of the key factors that can either shorten or lengthen the duration of motorcycle accident lawsuits.

Factors Influencing the Duration of Motorcycle Lawsuits

Clarity of Fault

One of the most significant factors in determining the speed of a motorcycle accident lawsuit is the clarity of fault. If fault is very clear and liability is clearly assigned to the other driver, the legal process can move more quickly. On the other hand, when fault is contested, it can greatly extend the duration of negotiations. Investigation of the crash, including gathering additional evidence, deposing witnesses, and hiring experts, could be required to establish liability, which can prolong the process.

Severity of Injuries

Cases involving minor injuries that require minimal medical treatment typically resolve faster. Insurance companies may be more willing to settle quickly when the medical costs are relatively low and the injuries are not long-lasting. However, in cases involving catastrophic Injuries such as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) or spinal cord injuries, more comprehensive medical assessments and damages will be involved. The need to assess the full extent of the injuries can significantly prolong the process.

Insurance Company’s Responsiveness

Some insurance companies are known for their prompt responses and willingness to negotiate. Unfortunately, other insurance companies employ delay tactics, such as lengthy investigations or frequent requests for additional documentation, which can drag out the lawsuit.

Complexity of the Case

Some motorcycle accident cases involve complex legal issues, such as multiple parties at fault, uninsured motorists, mechanical defects, or disputes over insurance coverage. These complexities can lead to a more extended legal process.

Legal Representation

Having an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can make a substantial difference in the outcome of the lawsuit. A skilled attorney knows how to navigate the legal process efficiently, negotiate effectively, and advocate for their client’s best interests. At Joye Law Firm we take a client-centric approach, meaning we put your best interest first. While an expedited case may seem like a good idea, we will work to maximize the value of your case, which may take more time.

Though each case and its expected duration will be different, here’s what you can generally expect when filing a claim for compensation after a motorcycle accident.

What Are the Steps in a Motorcycle Accident Claim?

A motorcycle accident lawyer can discuss your legal options and how long it will take to reach a settlement based on the unique factors of your case. The duration of your lawsuit and how long it takes to receive a payout from an insurance company, or a third party, depends on the specific elements of your accident.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Your Injuries

The doctor must first examine and treat your injuries before you finalize your claim. If you suffered severe injuries from your accident and required surgery, you may need more time to recover.

Save the receipts from every doctor’s visit, correspondence for taking time off work, and every payment related to the motorcycle accident. This evidence shows the extent of your injuries and how they affect your quality of life and financial situation. The more proof you have of expenses and hardship incurred, the higher your settlement amount may be.

Another factor to consider is the importance of reaching Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) before settling. MMI is a critical milestone in a personal injury case. It signifies that the injured party has recovered as much as possible or stabilized to the point where further medical improvement is unlikely. It’s crucial to wait until MMI is reached before settling, as settling too early could result in inadequate compensation for your future medical needs.

Proper assessment of the extent of your injuries, future medical needs, and the likely long-term impact on your life takes time. Once these are determined, there can be additional negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company. While it’s tempting to settle quickly, it’s critical to gain a clear understanding of the full extent of your damages first.

Evaluation of Your Damages

Your motorcycle accident lawyer can review evidence on top of your medical records such as the police report, surveillance footage, pictures and videos of the crash, and witness statements. Your attorney can also utilize subject matter experts to better assess your ongoing medical needs and earning capacity once you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement. This evidence can help your lawyer assess your damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.

The length of time required to gather evidence and evaluate your damages depends on the source of the evidence. The lawyer may need to work with you to obtain your medical records from your doctor. Your attorney may visit local businesses with security cameras to ask for the surveillance footage or submit a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain additional evidence from local police departments.

Filing a Claim

In South Carolina, you can only receive compensation for your injuries and property damage if you are less than 50% to blame for the accident. If you are 51% or more at fault, you cannot recover any damages. Since most cases in South Carolina have a three-year statute of limitations for filing your motorcycle accident claim, your attorney can help gather and preserve the evidence needed to file within the deadline.

Negotiations With the Insurance Company

After gathering all the evidence, your lawyer will send a formal demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company. An insurance adjuster may take their time examining the letter and supporting documentation before offering a settlement. The settlement process between your lawyer and the insurance company can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

An experienced motorcycle lawyer knows there is often room for negotiation if the insurance company offers you an inadequate settlement for your losses. Your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf, and help you fight to gain fair compensation for the value of your damages and the extent of your injuries.

Should You Take a Settlement or Go to Court?

Once you’ve received an offer, you must decide if the sum is sufficient. You and your personal injury attorney must carefully analyze the offer, considering your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. When you accept the offer, this means you’ve closed your case. You cannot take any further legal action in regard to this accident.

Otherwise, your lawyer may bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party and their insurance company. Remember that if you need to go to trial, the process takes longer than settling out-of-court.

A lawsuit involves many steps that may take weeks, months, or even years to complete. From filing a complaint, to discovery and depositions, to mediation with a third-party lawyer for negotiations, the litigation process can significantly extend the time it takes to receive compensation.

Talk to a Motorcycle Crash Attorney in South Carolina

The length of time it takes to resolve a motorcycle accident claim depends on the specific details of your case. How long it takes your injuries to heal, whether they affect your quality of life, and the amount of time you take off work for recovery all factor into the value of your claim and how long the proceedings take.

Again, an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can make all the difference in terms of streamlining the legal process. The best way to obtain fair compensation quickly is to work with a motorcycle crash attorney at Joye Law Firm. Call our law office today for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn how we can help you receive a just settlement as quickly as possible.

Since opening our doors in 1968, Joye Law Firm has helped tens of thousands of accident victims get the compensation they deserve. We have offices across South Carolina from the Lowcountry to the Upstate in Charleston, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, Summerville, and Clinton. A knowledgeable and compassionate member of our team is available to take your call 24/7 at 888-324-3100, Just Call Joye.

Originally published April 25, 2022. Updated March 14, 2024.

About the Author

Since 1968, the South Carolina personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys of Joye Law Firm have been committed to securing compensation for accident and injury victims. Our compassionate and dedicated lawyers have over 300 years of combined litigation experience, and many of them have been recognized as South Carolina Super Lawyers. For many years, our South Carolina personal injury law firm has been listed with an AV rating in the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell legal directory.

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