Motorcycle accidents can be devastating, both physically and emotionally. Understanding how do most motorcycle accidents happen and knowing how to avoid motorcycle accidents can help lessen the chance of being involved in one.
However, if you or a loved one was recently involved in a motorcycle accident caused by another motorist—especially a crash that resulted in bodily injury or property damage—you have the right to file a personal injury claim for a settlement or compensation.
But how long does a motorcycle accident lawsuit take? What does that process look like? And what are the factors that can impact your motorcycle accident case?
Read on as we dive into the resolution process.
What’s the Average Motorcycle Accident Timeline?
A motorcycle accident claim can take anywhere from 6 months to a year from the date of the incident. That said, the length of the lawsuit could be shorter or longer for a number of reasons, including:
- The severity of the accident – If the motorcycle accident resulted in death or serious injury, it will likely take longer to resolve the case, seeing as there will probably be more expert testimony and medical evidence. And, if it goes to trial, it may take longer for a jury to reach a verdict.
- The complexity of the case – Some cases are relatively straightforward. If the facts aren’t in dispute and the evidence clearly points to fault, it may move faster through the system than a car accident case that involves extensive discovery and investigation.
- The type of damages being sought – Similarly, if the damages sought are relatively minor, the personal injury case will resolve more quickly than if the plaintiff seeks significant damages.
- The number of parties involved – Generally speaking, the more parties involved in the process, the longer it will take. Each personal injury lawyer from both sides will need to coordinate schedules for depositions, hearings, trials, and so on.
- Courts schedule and jurisdiction – The trial timeline and processes are beholden to the court’s existing docket. If they’re backlogged, it will likely take longer for the case to be heard. Similarly, the location of the court will impact timelines, seeing as different states have varying laws and processes regarding motorcycle lawsuits.
- Parties' willingness to settle – Is the opposing party’s insurance company willing to settle? Or do they want to go to trial? A trial will take much longer than a motorcycle accident settlement.
- The legal team's experience and skill – Experienced motorcycle accident lawyers can likely help move the case along through the legal system at a faster clip while ushering it toward a favorable outcome.
What Does the Lawsuit Process Look Like?
Let’s say a lawsuit takes much longer than the average 6–12 months and extends to the two-year mark (which is possible). What’s happening during all this time? What are the various steps involved in a motorcycle accident lawsuit?
Although each case is unique, the typical lawsuit will involve the following steps:
Filing the complaint
The first action you and your legal team will take involves filing a complaint with the court.
Depending on your state, you’ll have a specific window to file this personal injury claim, also known as the statute of limitations. For example, in California, you have a two-year window for an injury. Or, if the injury was not discovered immediately after the motorcycle accident, a year from that discovery date.1
This complaint will detail the specifics of the accident, which includes the parties involved and the specific injuries and damages sustained.
After the complaint has been lodged, the defendant will have the opportunity to respond. If they deny liability, the car accident case will likely proceed to trial.
Should the defendant fight the car accident claim, they will file their response, and the discovery process will begin.
This involves both sides gathering evidence to support their case. Naturally, this will extend the length of the process, seeing as parties will need to gather evidence and medical treatment records, hire experts, depose witnesses, and prepare to make their case.
How long this part of the process will take depends on the case’s complexity.
The average payout for a motorcycle accident will depend on the outcome of the settlement. Once discovery is complete, the parties can opt to enter into settlement negotiations. If a speedy personal injury lawsuit process is your end-goal, it’s better to settle than to go to trial.
But both sides need to reach an agreement. If they’re able to do that, the motorcycle accident case will be resolved and the case will be closed.
However, if the parties are unable to find a satisfactory resolution to negotiations, the motorcycle accident case will then proceed to trial.
As mentioned, the trial process could take months, if not years. It depends on factors like the complexity of the case, the court’s schedule, and the legal jurisdiction.
During the trial period, both the plaintiff's and defendant’s legal teams will present their evidence and witnesses. And this may take dozens of court appearances.
After all the evidence has been presented and the cases made, the jury will deliberate and reach a verdict.
Should the defendant be found guilty, they’ll be ordered to pay restitution to the plaintiff and abide by any legal repercussions levied by the court.
Finding Your Trusted Legal Team
The average motorcycle accident suit will take approximately 6 to 12 months to complete. But it could go faster or longer depending on the specifics of the case, the parties involved, and your legal team.
That last point is of special importance. The right legal team could help expedite the process, bringing it to a speedy and satisfactory conclusion.
If you or a loved one has been in a recent accident, head over to Mighty's Motorcycle Accident Attorney Directory to find a trusted attorney in your area today.
- California Courts. Statute of Limitations. https://www.courts.ca.gov/9618.htm?rdeLocaleAttr=en
Written ByLuke Krolak
Client Operations Lead
About the author
Luke is a warm-hearted and highly skilled legal operations expert with an impressive 8-year track record in the personal injury field. As the Client Operations Lead at Mighty, he is dedicated to providing exceptional support, transparent communication, and genuine empathy to clients during their challenging journey. His expertise in streamlining processes and implementing cutting-edge technology makes him an indispensable ally for clients, case managers, and attorneys in their pursuit of justice.
About the reviewer