A motorcycle accident lawsuit can take time to complete. The wheels of the civil justice system move slowly—too slowly, 69 percent of surveyed attorneys feel. Despite reform efforts, the time it takes to resolve civil cases has not decreased.
Many accident victims settle their cases and move forward with their lives after a long wait. A motorcycle accident lawyer can resolve your case in a way that achieves the best possible outcome for you.
Why Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits Can Take a Long Time
Lawmakers have attempted to reduce the time it takes to resolve civil cases, requiring authorities to document civil cases that take more than three years. However, avoidable and unavoidable case delays continue to frustrate plaintiffs and motorcycle accident lawyers. Such delays might happen because of:
A Backlog in the Courts
Many civil courts face a constant backlog of cases, meaning that your case may take several months (or longer) to get started. This backlog also means that courts may be processing several cases simultaneously, increasing the timeline for completing each case.
Requested Delays by Either Side
Sides involved in a lawsuit can request a delay or file a motion that requires the judge’s review. When a judge grants a stay of proceedings, they essentially place the trial on pause.
Though stays are often temporary, a judge may grant multiple stays or issue an indefinite stay.
A side can request a stay because:
- There is other ongoing litigation that may affect the outcome of the lawsuit
- Attorneys need to locate witnesses or evidence
- Attorneys need to calculate or document damages but cannot do so immediately
Whatever the reason for a stay, it will delay the lawsuit’s resolution.
Defendants Seeking to Avoid Justice
When a defendant intentionally delays the completion of a trial, it is often a strategic decision. Some judges are willing to grant stay after stay and require little proof that a stay is necessary. In these cases, defendants may hope that the plaintiff runs out of money for legal fees, tires of the legal process, and either accepts a settlement or abandons the case altogether.
Most Motorcycle Accident Victims Settle Rather Than Enduring a Lengthy Trial
Delays are a major reason why most civil cases (including motorcycle accident cases) settle rather than go to trial.
When you settle, you avoid:
- The high legal fees that lawyers incur during a trial (though you will avoid this with a motorcycle accident attorney)
- The long wait for a trial to conclude
- The uncertainty that arises from an open-ended trial process
- The stress of having to show up to trial proceedings only to face more delays
- The possibility of losing your case at trial
Motorcycle accident victims often need money as soon as possible. However, you need to recover all of the compensation you deserve, and you may need to take your case to trial to obtain a fair financial recovery.
Your Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Should Be Willing to Fight Your Case at Trial
Even though trials are statistically rare (and less predictable than settling), every motorcycle accident lawyer should take a case to trial when necessary.
Accident victims do not always receive fair settlement offers from insurance companies or other liable parties. A law firm should generally take the legal fight to court when a large gulf exists between the best settlement offer and the victim’s damages.
The Difficult Realities Motorcyclists Often Face After an Accident
Motorcycle collisions are often life-changing events for several reasons, which may include:
- The physical toll of injuries: A motorcycle accident may limit the victim’s physical abilities, such as exercising or walking. The victim may also suffer chronic pain and other physical conditions that diminish their quality of life.
- The psychological and emotional toll of the accident: Accident victims often suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, severe pain, and other conditions that take a psychological and emotional toll. Such problems can lead to substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, and other serious issues.
- Direct and indirect financial pressures: A motorcycle accident can leave the victim or their family facing several unexpected bills. The victim may also be unable to work, causing secondary financial harm that may be even more costly than the cost of the accident.
- Significant life changes for those affected by the accident: A motorcycle accident victim may find their life changed radically in a matter of seconds. Their loved ones, who may have to stop working to care for the victim (or take on more work to cover the victim’s lost income), may suffer immensely.
Someone may even pass away because of a motorcycle accident, the most tragic outcome. Surviving loved ones may not recognize their lives after a fatal collision, having lost the economic and non-economic benefits the accident victim provided.
Recoverable Damages in Motorcycle Accident Cases
Your motorcycle accident lawyer will need to itemize your damages into specific categories. They will illustrate the motorcycle collision’s total cost, including economic and non-economic losses.
Losses can look significantly different based on whether the motorcyclist survived the accident.
Damages When a Motorcyclist Survives Their Collision
If a motorcyclist suffers non-fatal injuries during an accident, their damages may include:
- Healthcare expenses: The cost of a traffic accident increases when serious injuries occur. Therefore, the serious nature of motorcycle accidents means that victims often face large medical bills. Your attorney will argue that liable parties should pay these bills.
- Pain and suffering: Those who suffer acute or chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, nightmares, sleep problems, and similar problems can seek compensation for their pain and suffering. Your lawyer will know how to accurately value your accident-related pain and suffering.
- Lost income (temporary or permanent): If a motorcycle accident survivor has to miss work, they may lose income, salary, paid time off benefits, or other forms of income. If the victim suffers disabling injuries, these damages may affect the remainder of their life (through retirement age). Motorcycle accident lawyers often work with economists to calculate the cost of their clients’ lost income.
- Other professional damages: Injuries from a motorcycle accident may also cause the victim to lose work-related benefits, opportunities for promotions, performance bonuses, and other perks that come with employment. Your attorney will factor such damages into your lawsuit or claim.
- Motorcycle repairs: If the motorcyclist needs to repair or replace their damaged bike, their attorney will determine the cost of repairs and demand that liable parties cover them.
- Other property costs: If an accident victim’s clothing, cell phone, or other personal property becomes damaged during the accident, their lawyer will seek compensation for the repair or replacement of the property.
Each accident is different, and each victim has a unique story. Motorcycle accident lawyers assess their clients’ damages on a case-by-case basis, accounting for both current and future damages their clients will suffer.
Damages When a Motorcyclist Passes Away from Accident-Related Injuries
When motorcycle accidents claim a victim’s life, surviving loved ones often face medical bills, motorcycle repair expenses, and the loss of the decedent’s income.
Fatal traffic accident cases can also involve:
- Funeral costs
- Burial or cremation expenses
- Loss of a spouse’s companionship
- Loss of a parent’s guidance
- Loss of the decedent’s household contributions
- Grief, depression, and other types of pain and suffering are common when a loved one passes away
- Grief counseling, medication, and other treatment for pain and suffering
Motorcycle accident lawyers understand the emotional and financial cost of wrongful deaths. Your attorney will compassionately investigate the harm you suffered from a fatal motorcycle accident. You can focus on grieving while your lawyer seeks justice for your loss.
Should I File a Lawsuit After a Motorcycle Accident?
You may need to file a lawsuit after a motorcycle accident, and a lawyer can advise whether a lawsuit is the right decision.
You may need to pursue compensation through a lawsuit if:
- The party or parties responsible for the accident do not have insurance
- Your accident-related damages cost more than coverage limits insurance policies impose
- Liable insurance companies do not offer a fair settlement
Your lawyer may need to calculate your damages, evaluate insurance policies, and negotiate a settlement with insurers. Then, your lawyer can inform you whether you need to file a lawsuit to recover what you deserve.
Why Do Motorcycle Accident Victims Hire Injury Attorneys?
Motorcycle accident victims often hire lawyers for several reasons, which include:
Lawyers’ Experience and Track Record
Many injury lawyers have long track records representing motorcycle accident victims. This experience allows the lawyer to understand legal procedures, negotiate confidently, and foresee the challenges they might encounter during your case.
Some law firms also have an impressive track record of case results. These results are proof that the firm can secure compensation for those affected by motorcycle collisions.
Law Firms’ Financial Support
Motorcycle accident lawyers know that their clients are often facing intense financial hardship. Faced with severe injuries and accident-related costs, clients need financial support from their lawyer—and they receive it.
Motorcycle accident lawyers typically:
- Ask for no upfront fee from clients
- Cover the cost of completing their client’s case
- Spare no expense in creating the strongest possible case
- Receive their fee as a percentage of the client’s settlement or judgment
- Only receive the fee if they win for their client
This is a contingency fee arrangement because the fee is contingent (dependent) upon the law firm winning for the motorcycle accident victim. In other words, the law firm bears the entire financial burden of the lawsuit or claim, minimizing risk to the client.
Accident Victims’ Inexperience, Physical Injuries, and Psychological Limitations
Many victims affected by fatal and non-fatal motorcycle collisions simply can’t handle the demands of a claim or lawsuit.
These victims often:
- Have no substantial experience resolving insurance claims (let alone lawsuits)
- Have little time to dedicate to a case (let alone the time necessary to build a strong case)
- Have never negotiated a settlement
- Must rest and receive medical treatment
- Have orders from a doctor to avoid stress
Stress is part of handling a claim or lawsuit. Therefore, if you choose not to hire a lawyer, you expose yourself to stress that can worsen your injuries and mental state.
What Do Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Do?
Motorcycle accident lawyers manage every detail of their client’s cases, from the initial consultation until the settlement negotiation or reading of a verdict.
Some of a lawyer’s most notable duties include:
- Gathering all evidence of negligence
- Documenting the client’s damages
- Calculating the cost of the client’s damages
- Leading settlement negotiations on the client’s behalf
- Taking the case to court, if necessary
An attorney oversees all paperwork and communications, too. Your lawyer will let you know if you need to do anything related to your case.
Find Your Motorcycle Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible
You may not have much time to file your case, and you need to hire a skilled personal injury lawyer. Don’t wait to find the right motorcycle accident firm to lead your case. The sooner you hire the right legal professional, the sooner you might receive your complete compensation.