After surviving an accident, the only thing you want is to heal physically, mentally, and emotionally. But the road to recovery will not be easy, and peace of mind comes with a price—quite literally. With everything that you have been through, it only makes sense that the other party compensates you for your losses.
However, the other party may not see it that way. They may even deny accountability and blame you. Being the victim, it is within your right to pursue a fair settlement. But if the worse comes to worst, you might have to go through a tedious and exhausting legal battle.
Should you decide to take this path, you must be aware of what you are getting yourself into, and the first thing you should do is hire a lawyer.
Why do I need a lawyer?
Getting a lawyer as soon as possible is crucial because of the statute of limitations. This law gives both parties involved in a motorcycle accident a certain amount of time to initiate legal proceedings from the date of the accident.
Depending on the state in which your accident happened, you will have two to four years to seek legal action before you run out of time.
Although the deadline might be extended due to some exceptions, most of the time, you cannot file a personal injury claim once the statute of limitations ends. This is why it is necessary to hire a lawyer immediately to ensure that you can file a claim within the given timeframe.
What to do next after getting a lawyer
Once you have a lawyer, the next step is to file a personal injury claim, especially if you believe that your injuries were directly caused by the recklessness of another person and want to be compensated for your losses.
After filing the claim, it is time to start gathering evidence and reach out to the other party and their insurance provider. This is to ensure that both sides have relevant information about the injuries you sustained and are aware of why you deserve just compensation.
Now that you have presented the facts and a demand letter elaborating the total compensation to the other party and their insurance provider, you should expect a settlement offer that will be resolved either by an injury settlement or an injury judgment.
An injury settlement is the mutual agreement of all parties involved in a motorcycle accident regarding the amount of compensation that will be paid to you.
This is the most common and most ideal course of action for people involved in motorcycle accidents because it does not involve the court system, therefore avoiding high court costs and trials that could take ages to finish.
Contrary to an injury settlement, an injury judgment will need the services of the court and includes a judge or a jury to resolve your personal injury claim.
There are instances when negotiations, mediators, and arbitrators are not enough to reach a final decision. In cases that lead to dead ends, settlement becomes impossible which can force you to turn negotiations into a full-blown legal battle.
What happens in a motorcycle accident trial?
If you think the insurance company is not offering you a fair settlement for all your losses, you may not have any other option but to go to trial.
Should this become your last resort, your lawyer will present your case in court, establish the guilt of the other party, and show proof of the injuries you sustained and the damages you incurred from the accident.
The trial usually has four stages: the presentation of your claim, the at-fault party’s rebuttal, the deliberations, and the conclusion.
• The presentation of your claim
During the trial, it is your responsibility to provide evidence that the other party caused the accident and that the accident caused severe injuries. This can be done through witness testimonies or the presentation of documents like police reports and hospital records.
• The at-fault party’s defense
Once your lawyer is done presenting your case, the at-fault party will do the same by presenting evidence of their own. In this stage, they may attempt to discredit your witnesses and documentary evidence, shift the blame to you, and argue that they should not pay you anything.
Now that both sides have been heard, the judge or jury will decide whether or not the defendant is at fault. If so, the judge or jury will determine the amount of compensation the liable party should pay you based on the evidence presented at trial.
The trial could take months or even years to finish depending on the facts of the case. This is why you should get an expert motorcycle accident lawyer who can assure you that you will get just compensation at the soonest time possible.
What factors affect the length of the trial?
Several factors can affect how long the trial of your motorcycle accident case is going to take. These include:
• Injuries sustained
One of the most common reasons why victims file motorcycle accident lawsuits is the severity of the injuries they sustained after their accidents. It is simply impossible to ignore a serious injury especially if it causes extreme pain and suffering, prevents you from being productive, and leaves you immobile for life.
The kind of injuries you sustain has a huge impact on how long the trial will take. In most cases, the more serious the injuries are, the longer the trial will be. This is because victims who are severely injured often have more medical expenses and take longer in getting well enough to know how much to ask in a personal injury claim.
This is also the reason why the best time to begin any legal proceeding is only when you are close to a full recovery. Not only does this help your physical health but it also makes computing total costs and predicting future medical expenses easier.
• Damages incurred
The damages you decide to pursue after a motorcycle accident can significantly affect your trial schedule. In most instances, lawsuits with higher damage demands take longer to resolve. While this is not always the case, it should come as no surprise because higher claim values do need more exhaustive inquiries.
These damages can include the following:
You may be eligible to recover the costs of past, present, and even expected future medical bills related to your motorcycle accident. Severe and long-term injuries translate to greater hospitalization costs, so a motorcycle accident lawsuit that involves these kinds of injuries will undoubtedly take more time.
Damage to property
If your body is not spared during the accident, your vehicle is likely to have sustained severe damage as well. Depending on how bad the accident was, your motorcycle may either need extensive repairs or be completely replaced.
Grave injuries can render you useless for a long time after your accident. Even if you fully recover, there is a chance that you may not be able to work in the same capacity again. However, the worst thing that could happen is not being able to do anything at all because the accident left you completely disabled.
Pain and suffering damages
When it comes to motorcycle accidents, damages are not only physical and financial. Mental and emotional suffering, while not quantifiable in bills and receipts, can be just as painful and stressful.
The trauma you experience after your accident can be as lasting as the injuries you sustained, and since there is no way to determine how much a person’s pain and suffering cost, these kinds of damages will greatly vary for each victim.
If the motorcycle accident left you permanently disabled, you can pursue damages to compensate for its impact on your life. While no amount could ever make up for a life-long disability, the justice system can work to provide you some monetary respite.