If you suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident, you are probably feeling impatient to get compensation from the insurance company. Why does it take so long for the insurance company to pay after a motorcycle accident? How long does it take to get a motorcycle accident settlement? Do I have to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit to get compensation?
The Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyers at Cousin Benny answer all of these questions and more in this comprehensive article about how long motorcycle accident settlements and motorcycle accident lawsuits take in PA.
You’ve been hurt, and as frustrating as the motorcycle accident claim process is, you should focus on resting and healing from your injuries. Call Cousin Benny today for help getting maximum compensation for your PA motorcycle accident case. Find out how much your motorcycle accident case is worth – free of charge!
The Purpose of Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim
If you were 50% or less at fault for causing the motorcycle accident, you are entitled to compensation from the other driver or drivers for your injuries and property damage. To get compensation for your damages, you file a claim with their insurance companies.
When fault is clear and the injuries are minor, insurance companies may pay motorcycle accident claims in a matter of days or weeks. However, when there is a dispute over the cause of the accident, or injuries are severe, or both, claims take much longer to settle and may have to be tried in court.
If you’ve suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident, do not accept the first settlement offer you get until you speak with a motorcycle accident attorney, as tempting as it may be to just accept and get the situation over with. Insurance companies are notorious for making initial low-ball offers hoping you will be tempted to take the money and make the matter go away. This is not in your best interests. Often, injuries take more time to heal and the impact on your life and the lives of your family members is greater than can be assessed initially.
Timeline for How Long Your Motorcycle Accident Claim Could Take to Settle
- Another party in the accident or you file an insurance claim.
- The insurance company responds to your claim, usually within 30 days.
- Depending upon the response, you submit more information or documents, accept a settlement offer, negotiate for a higher settlement, or litigate your claim.
While this is the general timeline, a great deal depends upon the complexity of your motorcycle accident claim. Again, motorcycle accidents causing minor injuries or where fault is apparent tend to settle within a matter of weeks. Lawsuits can take years depending upon the number and complexity of issues.
The following factors delay compensation for motorcycle accidents.
Medical Diagnosis and Treatment
If injuries from a motorcycle accident are serious, they may take time to heal. Any settlement must include the present and future treatment, medications, and therapies needed to heal as well as lost wages if you must miss work.
Some motorcycle accident injuries may not heal at all, in the case of loss of limb or other body function, disfigurement, or paralysis.
Gathering Evidence of Damages
You can use any of the following, among other things, as evidence of your damages:
- Medical bills
- Appraisal of damage to your motorcycle and riding gear
- Lost wages, if you miss work due to your injuries
- Any personal assistive devices you need, such as a walker or wheelchair
- Any alterations to home or vehicle needed due to your injuries
- Medical expert testimony about the future medical treatment you need
- Forensic accountant testimony about your loss of future earning capacity
- Testimony from your family as to how your injuries have affected your relationships
- Your testimony about how your injuries affect your quality of life
Assessing Liability for the Motorcycle Accident
In Pennsylvania, liability for motor vehicle accidents is hotly contested because the amount of compensation you are due is reduced by the percentage you are at fault for the accident. If the insurance company shows you were more at fault than not, you may be entitled to nothing. However, if you can show the other party or parties were more than half responsible for causing the accident, you are entitled to damages.
Your motorcycle attorney will investigate the accident and amass evidence showing how the accident occurred. Ultimately, your goal is to show you were not at all at fault or only a small percentage at fault for causing the accident in order to maximize your compensation.
Negotiations with the Insurance Company
Insurers only make money if they collect premiums and underpay or deny claims. Their interests are directly adverse to yours and they have teams of lawyers to help them advance those interests.
For this reason, you need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney on your side to gather evidence of your damages and liability and show the insurance company the compensation you deserve.
Insurance companies are notorious for delaying payment or trying to underpay claims that are clearly valid. Some of the ways they stall paying you include:
- Offering a low-ball initial settlement with a quick deadline to accept
- Trying to intimidate you into taking that initial settlement
- Taking as long as legally possible (or longer!) to respond to your claim
- Trying to blame you for partially causing or causing the accident
- Submitting multiple requests for verification of your injuries and treatment
Your motorcycle accident attorney will use the evidence they’ve gathered to negotiate for a higher settlement. This process can take several weeks to a few months, again, depending upon the complexity of your case.
If the Claim Goes to Trial
If the insurance company refuses to offer an adequate settlement, your motorcycle accident lawyer will sue all at-fault parties, whether they are individuals, companies, or government agencies, using the evidence they’ve gathered regarding liability and your damages.
Lawsuits can take years to reach judgment, however, considering the cost of trying a case in court, often an insurance company will weigh their options and offer a fair settlement once they’ve been served with a complaint.
If you accept a settlement offer, be advised the insurance company or companies will require you to sign a release that prevents you from seeking any additional compensation or suing for your motorcycle accident.
Statute of Limitations for Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits
In PA, you have two years from the date of the motorcycle accident to sue those responsible for causing or contributing to the accident.
This may seem like a long time, however, it takes time to investigate and gather evidence to prove your claim for damages. Talk with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as you can after your motorcycle accident so they can get the process started for you so that you do not risk blowing the statute of limitations and giving up your right to compensation.
Speak with a Philadelphia Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Free Today
Find out how much your PA motorcycle accident case is worth and get the process started today – free of charge! Call Cousin Benny today to discuss your case. At Cousin Benny, we treat you like family.