Motorcycle accidents can leave your life in ruins. While Mississippi law allows you to sue the party who caused your injuries, you may be nervous about what that entails. Your injuries have left you in pain, and the accident has left you with mounting bills. So you’re wondering, how long does a motorcycle accident lawsuit take?
The answer is it depends. It can take a few months, or it can take a few years. The exact timing of a lawsuit will turn on the facts of each case.
What Is the Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Timeline?
The length of time a lawsuit takes depends on the facts and circumstances of each case. The reason for this is that every case is different. Most cases are settled by negotiation, which generally can take a few months to a year. If cases go to trial, on the other hand, your case may take a few years.
Most personal injury cases, however, have the same general sequence of events.
Step 1: Hire a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
The first step in pursuing a motorcycle accident is to hire an attorney. Although not required, having an attorney will greatly benefit you. Attorneys are especially needed during negotiations with insurance companies.
At Harris Law Firm, we have over four decades of experience pursuing personal injury cases. We know the laws of Mississippi and how insurance companies operate.
Step 2: Investigate and Gather Evidence
After hiring a lawyer, the next step is determining how the accident happened. To do this, your lawyer will need to collect as much evidence as possible. This can be in the form of photographs of the accident scene, video surveillance, witness statements, car repair shop invoices, the police report of the accident, and the testimony of expert witnesses.
Step 3: Calculate Damages
The next step is to calculate the damages you suffered. To do this, you must collect all medical expenses caused by the accident in addition to the other costs you have incurred because of the accident. This includes invoices for the following:
- Emergency room visits,
- Hospital stays,
- Laboratory tests,
- Doctor visits,
- Property Damage, and
- Lost income.
Your lawyer will also help to calculate any pain and suffering you endured as a result of your injuries. If you are pursuing a property damage claim, any motorcycle repair shop invoices from the accident will also need to be included.
Step 4: Negotiate a Settlement with the Insurance Company
Your lawyer will prepare a demand letter for the insurance company outlining the damages you are requesting. Upon receiving the demand letter, insurance companies will most likely try to settle your case by offering you a small amount of compensation. This offer is generally on the lower side and does not reflect the actual value of your claim.
Negotiations will continue back and forth. Once the parties reach a settlement, the insurance company pays you the agreed amount in exchange for being released from any further liability for the accident. From finding a lawyer to the negotiation stage, a few months have likely passed. It may be longer or shorter, depending on each case. No matter how long it takes, Harris Law Firm won’t stop until the compensation they offer is what you deserve.
Step 5: File a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Court
Most personal injury cases are settled during the negotiation stage. In only a small percentage of cases do negotiations fail, and the parties are forced to proceed to litigation.
After you file your lawsuit in court, parties begin to share evidence, conduct depositions, and ask each other questions during discovery. Negotiations continue through this stage. If the parties again cannot reach a settlement, the case proceeds to trial, where a judge or jury will hear the facts of your case and render a verdict.
The time a court proceeding takes depends on different factors, such as the court’s docket schedule and the extensions parties ask for. Court proceedings can take years.
Factors That Affect the Length of a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
Different factors can affect the length of your motorcycle accident lawsuit, though some are more common than others.
To be successful in your motorcycle accident lawsuit, you must prove that the other party was negligent. Insurance companies may try to refute their negligence and paint you as the party responsible for the accident.
Mississippi is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that negligence on the part of the plaintiff does not prohibit recovery. However, negligence does reduce the amount of recoverable damages by the proportion of negligence. So, the more an insurance company pushes the blame on you, the less they pay. Disputes over liability are more likely to lead to lengthy negotiations and possibly trial.
Severity of Your Injuries
Some injuries are minor, and victims make a complete recovery. But other injuries can seriously impact your health and life. You may find it hard to take part in daily life. You may not be able to perform the duties of your job.
It can be challenging to determine the outlook of complicated injuries. A doctor can help highlight an expected outcome, but it is still just their best guess. Sometimes, it is better to wait to see the long-term effects of an injury before putting a value on damages. Further, the more complex an injury is, the harder it will be for your lawyer to calculate your damages. These issues can lengthen the time a lawsuit takes.
Complexity of the Case
The more complex a case is, the longer the investigation will take. For example, an accident with multiple parties will take longer to investigate and determine liability. Similarly, interviews and depositions would take longer if there were several witnesses to an accident.
Contact Our Experienced Lawyers Today
The length of time your motorcycle accident will take depends on the facts of your case. At Harris Law Firm, we know time is of the essence. Our award-winning attorneys will diligently work to recover compensation for you and your family.
We are available to talk to you 24/7. Contact us now for a free case review.