How Long Does a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Take?
Due to the small size and lack of protection provided by a motorcycle, injuries are often catastrophic when an accident occurs. If you’re struggling financially due to the costly medical bills and lost wages associated with a devastating motorcycle accident, it’s understandable that one of the first questions on your mind involves how long your motorcycle accident lawsuit will take. In most instances, patience will be required, as the process can often take a while to resolve.
On average, a motorcycle accident claim can take between six months to a year to resolve. Keep in mind that this is just a general average, and the specifics of your case will dictate the exact amount of time it takes to complete. There are a variety of factors which can cause your lawsuit to settle faster or take much longer to resolve. In situations where you have a complex case that goes to trial, it can potentially take several years to resolve.
Factors Impacting the Timeline of a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
The following factors may impact the length of your motorcycle accident case:
Severity of the Accident
If you suffer severe injuries, it will most likely increase the length of time to resolve your motorcycle accident case since you may require ongoing medical treatments and medical experts may be required to accurately assess the total costs of any future medical care required.
Complexity of the Case
Some motorcycle accident lawsuits are relatively straightforward. The facts are clear, and it is easy to determine who is at fault. In these situations, your case may move faster. However, if the facts are in dispute and fault is contested, it may extend the timeline of your case since extensive investigation and discovery may be required.
Number of Parties Involved
In general, the more parties involved in the lawsuit, the longer it will take. If you are only seeking compensation from one at fault driver, there are fewer schedules to coordinate. However, if several different drivers contributed to causing the accident, it means that there will be more lawyers involved in the case, and this will often make it more challenging to coordinate schedules for hearings, depositions, settlement negotiations, and trials.
Type of Damages You’re Seeking
If your injuries are relatively minor and the damages you’re seeking aren’t extensive, your case is more likely to resolve quickly than if your injuries are serious and you’re seeking significant damages to cover the costly expenses associated with your treatment.
Whether Your Case Goes to Trial
If a fair settlement is able to be negotiated with the at fault driver’s insurance company, your case is likely to be resolved faster. However, if you must pursue compensation in court, it will take much longer to resolve your case.
If your case goes to trial, the length of time for your case to be resolved will be dependent on the court’s schedule. If the court is backlogged with cases, it may take longer for you to receive a trial date.
How Does the Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Process Work?
In order to get a clearer understanding of how long your motorcycle accident case will take, it’s important to first understand all the steps involved in the process. While every case is unique, there are certain steps that must be completed in all cases.
Filing Your Complaint
The first step in the process involves filing your complaint with the court. This is a formal legal document which details the factual and legal basis for your motorcycle accident lawsuit. The complaint identifies the plaintiff (you), the defendant (the negligent driver who caused the accident), and the court you’re filing your lawsuit in. It also lists the factual evidence to demonstrate that your claim is valid and should proceed. Without this evidence, you risk having your case dismissed by the court.
In Colorado, you have two years from the date of your motorcycle accident to file your lawsuit. If you fail to meet this deadline, you may jeopardize your right to recover compensation. Therefore, if you’re injured in a motorcycle accident in the Denver area, it’s critical to speak to an attorney as soon as possible to ensure your case is filed by the appropriate deadline.
Once you file your complaint, the negligent party will be given the ability to respond. They may deny liability, which often increases the chances that your case may go to trial down the road. They may also file a motion to dismiss, either due to a technicality or because they claim your lawsuit fails to state a valid case. If a motion is filed, the court must take time to consider it before making a decision, and this process could potentially take several months.
After the response is made and any motions have been ruled on by the court, the case will move to the discovery phase. During discovery, each party will gather evidence to support their case. This is the most involved part of the lawsuit, as it involves extensive investigation. Evidence gathered in discovery may include information associated with treatment records, interviewing experts who may testify on your behalf, questioning witnesses, and gathering other information relevant to your case.
Once the discovery process has been completed, each side shares the information they gathered with the other party. In general, the length of the discovery phase will depend on the complexity of the case and volume of evidence to be gathered.
Negotiating a Settlement
After discovery has been completed, your lawyer will try to negotiate a settlement with the other driver’s insurance company. The insurance company’s goal is to minimize the amount they must pay on your claim. As a result, they will often try to make a low initial offer to see if you’re willing to take less money than your case may actually be worth. Therefore, the evidence presented as part of the discovery process will play an important role in these negotiations.
If the evidence clearly demonstrates that the other driver was at fault and your injuries are significant, it will help drive up the value of your settlement offer. In addition, it will increase the insurance company’s motivation to settle since they would risk paying a larger amount of money in the event that the case goes to trial. However, if the evidence doesn’t clearly demonstrate the other driver is at fault, these negotiations may become more contentious and time consuming.
In some instances, a neutral third-party mediator may be enlisted to facilitate these negotiations and help you reach a settlement. The role of a mediator is to help both sides work through any issues in dispute in order to reach consensus on the value of your case.
If a settlement agreement can be reached, you’ll receive your money, and your case will be resolved. But if these negotiations aren’t able to successfully reach a settlement agreement that is acceptable to both sides, the case will go to trial.
If your case goes to trial, it can potentially extend the duration of your case significantly. In fact, it’s common for cases that go to trial to take several years to resolve. While this isn’t ideal, it may be necessary if settlement negotiations aren’t able to result in an agreement that adequately compensates you for your damages.
During the trial, both sides will give opening arguments and then present their evidence to the jury. This will involve providing documents, photos, and other evidence supporting both sides’ version of what happened. It will also involve interrogating witnesses who can provide additional support for each side’s argument. This process can often take numerous court appearances to complete.
Once all evidence has been presented and closing arguments are given, the jury will review the facts of the case and reach a verdict. If the defendant is found liable, they will be ordered to pay any damages levied by the court and jury. If the defendant is found not liable, no compensation will be awarded.
In some instances, the jury verdict will resolve the case. However, if the party that loses the trial doesn’t agree with the verdict, they will have an opportunity to file an appeal. If this happens, it will extend the timeline of your case until the court is able to rule on the appeal.
Pushchak Law Can Help
While the motorcycle accident lawsuit process is lengthy and involved, it’s critical to remain patient. If you’re unable to receive a fair settlement offer, a trial may be necessary to ensure you recover the compensation you deserve. Due to the complexity of this process, you should always work with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident in the Denver area, Pushchak Law can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Brian Pushchak has made motorcycle accidents a primary focus of his practice. He understands the sophisticated nuances of these cases, and he knows how to accurately estimate the true value of your damages. This area of specialization will give you the edge you need when seeking to maximize the value of your compensation.
You’ll also benefit from Mr. Pushchak’s unique Informed Decisions™ Approach focused on helping you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. This approach arms you with all the information you need to understand your legal rights and options, and it keeps you in control of the case at all times.
Mr. Pushchak will listen carefully to you to understand your goals for the case, and he’ll answer any questions you may have. He’ll then recommend the ideal strategy to achieve your desired outcome. While he will only recommend a strategy that he believes is in your best interest, you will ultimately have final say on how your case proceeds.
At Pushchak Law, we will always strive to settle your case whenever possible to ensure you receive your compensation as soon as possible. We understand that you’re facing potentially crippling financial burdens, and a speedy resolution is desired to help alleviate them. However, Mr. Pushchak is committed to maximizing the value of your compensation, and he’s prepared to go to trial if a settlement isn’t in your best interests.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Pushchak Law serves clients in Denver and the surrounding areas of Colorado.
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