The harm caused to a motorcycle rider in a collision is usually severe and even life threatening. These types of injuries not only take a long amount of time to heal, the cost of treating them coupled with the loss of work can be financially devastating. Receiving compensation as quickly as possible to cover these costs motivates many victims to accept settlements that are well below what the accident is worth.
In the vast majority of cases, a claim can take as little as a few months to settle, but as long as five years if the case has to be taken to trial.
Above all else, after being hurt you should see to it that your medical needs are taken care of. Even if only minor. This is to ensure your over-all well-being, but from a legal standpoint it also serves a purpose. This is your evidence that the collision caused you personal injury. If you are to seek compensation from the other driver later on, this will be an important element to your case.
It is vital that a victim of a motorcycle collision also seek the help of an attorney as soon after the accident as possible. The claim may not be made right away, but you will want to have an attorney ready to handle inquiries from the insurance company. It is during this time that they may try and make an offer for a settlement that is not fair to you under the circumstances. You should direct any questions that they have or other correspondence to your attorney.
Even though your medical bills may be piling up, it is important that you wait until you have reached maximum recovery before beginning the reimbursement process. Otherwise you will not be giving an accurate view of all of the medical damages you are suffering as a result of the collision. Attorneys can speak with your creditors on your behalf and work out arrangements for payments to be made after an incident has been settled.
What Can Be Reimbursed?
If the accident was not your fault, the law allows for you to be compensated for all of your medical care, plus it will make special provisions for pain and suffering. In a California court you may hear these referred to as general or non-economic damages and can include being inconvenienced, your mental anxiety and distress as a result of the collision, plus your loss of companionship. These types of losses are calculated on a case by case basis.
You are also allowed to be reimbursed for the cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle and any wages you lost by not being able to work.
One thing that many accident victims don't realize they can claim is the probable cost of future medical care. This is an important aspect to consider, especially with the severity of injuries that is often seen with motorcycle accident victims. It is for this reason that you want to have completed your medical treatment before filing. Once you accept an offer you will not be able to go back and try to get more money.
Filing the Claim
The insurance adjustor is going to need all copies of all of the documentation you have available regarding the accident. This will include your medical records and bills, damage to the motorcycle, your lost time and wages from work, and police reports. On their own they may also investigate any witness statements and collision reports.
Under California law an insurance company has 40 days to respond after you file. This can be extended if they notify your lawyer in writing, and may be done if they need additional time for their investigation.
Once they have investigated your claim for compensation, they will make an offer for a settlement. This initial offer will almost always be lower than what you and your attorney had decided on accepting. From this point he will begin to negotiate a better offer on your behalf. Depending on the evidence your lawyer has in your favor, this could take months to accomplish. If they are unable to come to what would be a reasonable agreement, your attorney may advise you to take them to court. At this point, it could take over a year before it is resolved.
Statistically, insurance claim cases are usually settled before ever making it to a courtroom. The expense for both parties is greater if the case goes to trial, not to mention the time. Your lawyer will make every effort to avoid this by trying the best he can to negotiate a settlement that is fair for your specific circumstance.
Overall, how long it takes to resolve a motorcycle accident insurance claim depends on the length of time it takes you to heal, and the insurance company you are dealing with. The best way you can expedite the process and begin rebuilding your life is by hiring an attorney to represent you. This will help ensure that the process is as quick as possible and that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
Those in need of skilled representation in California can call (800) 838-6644 to speak with a California motorcycle accident lawyer for free with no hassles. Our attorneys have helped secure over $1 Billion on behalf of our past clients and can help get you on the right track.