​How Long Does a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Take?

September 1, 2023 | David Abels
​How Long Does a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Take?

Each motorcycle accident lawsuit takes a different amount of time, as many variables can affect the timeline for resolving the legal process. One key question is whether the lawsuit settles or proceeds to trial, as trials can take longer to resolve.

The outcome can make the wait worthwhile regardless of how long your motorcycle accident lawsuit takes to conclude. Whether through a settlement or a jury verdict, a motorcycle accident lawsuit may deliver the compensation you need and deserve. Consulting with the Chicago motorcycle accident attorneys is crucial to getting that compensation.

Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit

What Factors Determine How Long a Motorcycle Accident Takes?

Motorcycle accident cases generally take somewhere between a few months to several years to resolve. Factors that may affect your case’s timeline include:

The Nature of Your Injuries

The injuries you suffer in a motorcycle accident can affect the duration of your case because:

  • Some injuries, like spinal cord injuries, may never heal, and it may take longer for an attorney to understand the complete toll of such injuries.
  • Some injuries require a long recovery time, in which case an attorney may need to monitor the client’s recovery and determine their future care needs.
  • Certain injuries may prove more costly, and an attorney may experience greater pushback from liable parties if they are seeking a large financial recovery.

A motorcycle accident victim’s injuries will always factor in how long the case takes to resolve.

How Quickly Your Injuries Heal

Attorneys can sometimes project their clients’ future care needs and may have to do so when the client suffers a disabling injury. However, it sometimes makes more sense for the attorney to let their client heal and monitor damages during the recovery process. This way, the lawyer doesn’t have to project any expenses—they will know for certain what damages the client has suffered.

If your injuries heal progressively, your lawyer may prolong negotiations. This can extend the time your motorcycle accident lawsuit takes.

Whether Liable Parties Negotiate in Good Faith (or Not)

Many civil lawsuits end with settlements. However, a settlement is only possible when both sides negotiate in good faith.

Someone who negotiates in good faith:

  • Admits to any wrongdoing that contributed to the motorcycle accident
  • Admits to the financial harm that they’ve caused through their negligent actions
  • Acknowledges the victim’s damages and accepts financial responsibility
  • Negotiates towards a settlement that covers the victim’s accident-related damages

If liable parties negotiate in good faith, a settlement may quickly materialize. However, there are many cases where insurers and civil defense attorneys negotiate in bad faith.

Bad-faith tactics can stall negotiations and may include:

  • Denying a motorcycle accident claim
  • Alleging that the victim's injuries existed before the accident
  • Undervaluing the victim’s accident-related damages
  • Offering a lowball settlement offer and pressuring the victim to accept

Liable parties may try to avoid paying for a motorcycle accident. The harder liable parties resist paying what they owe, the longer the motorcycle accident lawsuit may take.

Whether Your Case Goes to Court

If your case goes to court, this can significantly extend the timeline for completing the lawsuit. Your motorcycle accident lawyer will exhaust every opportunity to secure a fair settlement. However, sometimes taking a case to trial is the only way to pursue the compensation an accident victim deserves.

What Happens if a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Goes to Court?

The process of a civil trial includes:

Preparation and Discovery

Both sides may prepare evidence, witness lists, and a strategy for trial. Then, both sides must disclose their evidence and witnesses (generally upon request from the other side) in a process known as discovery.

This process allows each side to understand the strength of the other’s case and may motivate liable parties to offer a fair settlement.

Attempting to Resolve the Lawsuit One Last Time

Before a trial begins, a judge may encourage both parties to attempt to settle the case, which may be the final negotiation in a series of negotiations.

At this point, either side may agree to arbitration or medication, in which a third party attempts to help both sides reach a settlement. Or, one or both parties may elect to skip this process and proceed to trial.

The Trial

A trial involves several stages, including:

  • Opening arguments
  • Presentation of witnesses and evidence
  • Questioning and cross-examination of witnesses
  • Closing arguments
  • Jury or judge verdict
  • Trials also involve objections, motions, and many other moving parts that attorneys oversee. Following the resolution of the trial, the party responsible for issuing the verdict (generally a jury) will determine if the defendant injured the plaintiff. If the jury finds the defendant responsible, it will award the plaintiff an amount of damages it deems fair.

    What Is the Standard for Finding a Defendant Responsible in a Motorcycle Accident Trial?

    A jury may award damages based on the preponderance of evidence. Essentially, the jury must determine whether it is more likely than not that the defendant is responsible for the plaintiff’s damages. If the jury determines that the defendant most likely caused the plaintiff’s damages, it will determine how much compensation the plaintiff deserves.

    A Jury Will Consider Negligence

    Whenever a motorcycle accident lawyer tries a case, they aim to prove that the liable party was negligent. Negligence means that someone did not act as a reasonable person should have in the same circumstance. For instance, a reasonable person should obey the speed limit or stop for a red light, and failure to do so qualifies as negligence.

    To prove negligence, an attorney must:

    1. Establish the duty of care: A duty of care requires someone to act with regard for others and to avoid any action or inaction that might cause harm. Motorists, vehicle manufacturers, municipalities, and others who may cause a motorcycle accident have a duty of care.
    2. Prove the breach of duty of care: Your attorney will show how the defendant in the case breached their duty of care. Driving drunk, manufacturing a defective vehicle, and allowing road conditions to deteriorate are examples of breaches of the duty of care.
    3. Link the breach of duty of care and the motorcycle accident: A lawyer must establish the connection between the breach of duty of care and the motorcycle accident. Once they make this link, the lawyer will show that the defendant is responsible for the damages resulting from the motorcycle accident. 
    4. Prove damages from the motorcycle accident: Once they establish causation, the motorcycle accident lawyer will document the damages that the accident victim suffered.

    An attorney who successfully completes this process, either in settlement negotiations or court, positions their client for financial recovery.

    Should a Motorcycle Accident Victim Hire a Lawyer for Their Lawsuit?

    Motorcycle Accident Victim

    Should a Motorcycle Accident Victim Hire a Lawyer for Their Lawsuit?

    You may consider hiring an attorney if:

    • You suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident
    • Your loved one passed away from injuries they suffered in a motorcycle accident
    • Your loved one survived their accident but has injuries that prevent them from retaining an attorney on their own

    After each driver reports the accident to their respective insurers, the insurance companies will investigate. During its investigation, Motorcyclists suffer fatal injuries at a higher rate than motor vehicle occupants, as motorcycles lack the physical protections that other vehicles offer. Those with serious injuries are often unable or unwilling to accept the demands of a claim or lawsuit. They hire lawyers who can present a strong case while the accident victim heals.

    Primary Benefits of Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

    There are several benefits of hiring a lawyer after a motorcycle accident resulting in injury or death, including:

    • Total financial support: Law firms representing motorcycle accident victims provide financial support for the case. The firm covers the cost of filing the lawsuit, hiring experts, and compiling the case. The client only pays a fee if the firm wins, and the fee comes as part of the financial recovery.
    • Experience-based guidance: Lawyers offer experience that motorcycle accident victims don’t have. Understanding the process and challenges of completing a lawsuit (including those that involve trial is invaluable.
    • End-to-end legal service: When you hire a lawyer, the firm will represent you through the end of your case. This allows you to focus on your recovery without concerns about the legal process.

    Whether you suffered an injury or lost a loved one, your focus should be on your health and well-being. This can mean resting, receiving treatment, coming to terms with a disabling injury, or mourning the loss of a loved one.

    What Does a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Do?

    Attorneys fight for compensation. In motorcycle accident cases, that means fighting for compensation to cover medical expenses, motorcycle repairs, pain and suffering, and any other damages you’ve suffered.

    A motorcycle accident lawyer’s responsibilities may include:

    Securing Evidence Without Hesitation 

    Injury lawyers understand the urgency necessary to build a strong case.

    Securing evidence is one of the highest-priority requirements an attorney faces because:

    • Strong evidence can be the first step toward winning the motorcycle accident case.
    • Many forms of evidence, including video footage and witness accounts, are not available for long.
    • Securing evidence is one of the first steps in any claim or lawsuit, so your lawyer will complete this step as soon as possible.

    Witness accounts, a police report, video footage of the accident, expert reconstructions, and expert testimony are among the types of evidence a motorcycle accident lawyer may pursue. 

    Complete Pre-Trial Preparation

    Motorcycle accident lawyers will prepare their client’s case for trial if necessary. They may arrange for witnesses to testify, organize evidence, file motions, and prepare the client for any role they will have in the trial process.

    Complete the Trial

    If your case goes to court, your attorney will lead the trial process on your behalf, which may require them to:

    • Present and question witnesses whose testimony supports your case
    • Cross-examine witnesses who are supporting the defense
    • Present evidence that is favorable to your case
    • Poke holes in the defense's evidence 
    • Make opening and closing arguments
    • Make objections and file motions

    Your lawyer will make the strongest possible case for the jury (or judge in a bench trial) to award you fair compensation for your damages. 

    What Damages Can a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Seek Compensation For?

    Each motorcycle accident case involves different damages, but some of the common damage types include:

    Medical Expenses

    The medical cost of your motorcycle accident may reflect the severity of your injuries. You may need emergency care, several doctor visits, imaging, rehabilitation, and other medical services. Generally speaking, the more severe your injuries are, the more medical care you’ll need.

    Professional Damages

    Motorcycle accident victims often miss work and, as a result, lose:

    • Income (wages or salary)
    • Bonuses
    • Employer-matched retirement contributions
    • Benefits
    • Earning power
    • The enjoyment they receive from working

    These damages come at a cost. Your lawyer will determine what that cost is.

    Pain and Suffering

    The category of non-economic damages known as pain and suffering can include:

    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is a very possible outcome for those involved in a motorcycle accident
    • Lost quality of life
    • Physical pain

    An attorney will also seek compensation for any psychological or emotional treatment you seek, such as therapy.

    Property Damage

    A motorcycle accident can cause partial or complete damage to the motorcycle, which you deserve compensation for. Your lawyer will also consider any damage to electronics (such as your cell phone), clothing, and other personal property during the accident.

    A Wrongful Death

    Sadly, many motorcycle accident victims do not survive their collisions.

    In these cases, surviving loved ones often pursue financial recoveries for:

    • Funeral expenses
    • Their grief and other forms of pain and suffering
    • Loss of spousal companionship
    • Loss of a parent’s guidance
    • Lost financial support
    • Loss of the decedent’s contributions to the household

    Wrongful death cases are heartbreaking, and motorcycle accident lawyers handle these lawsuits so surviving loved ones don’t have to.

    Dave Abels Lawyer
    Motorcycle Accident Attorney, Dave Abels

    Locate an Attorney to Lead Your Motorcycle Accident Case Today

    You may have a brief window for filing your personal injury or wrongful death case, and missing a filing deadline can be catastrophic. Research motorcycle accident lawyers in your area, take advantage of free consultations and hire your attorney as soon as possible.

    David Abels Author Image

    David Abels


    David Abels has carved a niche for himself in the personal injury law sector, dedicating a substantial part of his career since 1997 to representing victims of various accidents. With a law practice that spans over two decades, his expertise has been consistently recognized within the legal community.

    Author's Bio

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