Motorcycle accident litigation, like any legal process, follows a series of steps. Each has its own time frame. Below, you’ll find an estimated timeline for a motorcycle accident lawsuit from start to finish.
Accident occurrence and immediate aftermath (Days 1-30)
Immediately after a motorcycle accident, your focus should be on getting medical treatment and gathering initial evidence. If you’re able to, take pictures of motorcycle damage, the vehicle(s) involved, and any visible injuries.
You’ll also need to exchange contact and insurance information with the parties involved and report the motorcycle accident to the police. Also, report the accident to your insurance company and provide only basic information.
Hiring an attorney (Days 15-60)
Once you’ve completed the initial steps, you’ll need to hire an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to handle your claim. There is a statute of limitations to filing your claim, which ranges from one to six years, depending on which state you’re in. However, the sooner an attorney is involved, the better they build and strengthen your claim.
When hiring an attorney, make sure they have a good reputation and a track reFcord of success. They should also be able to communicate the details and progress of your case, so you’re always informed.
Investigation and filing a claim (1-6 Months)
After the initial consultation, your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation into your motorcycle accident. This includes collecting medical records, police reports, and witness statements.
An attorney may also check the at-fault driver’s cellphone records if distracted driving was believed to be the cause of the crash. Additionally, they may call on crash reconstruction experts to create a timeline of events that indicate how the crash likely occurred.
Once the initial investigation is complete, a claim is filed against the responsible party.
Discovery phase (3-12 Months)
The discovery phase is a critical stage in a motorcycle accident lawsuit where both parties exchange information and evidence. During this period, your lawyer will gather testimonies, documents, and other relevant data to build your case.
This process involves methods such as depositions, interrogatories, and requests for documents. Discovery aims to clarify the facts, narrow down the issues, and facilitate a fair trial or settlement.
Mediation and negotiation (6-18 Months)
Mediation and negotiation involves discussions between the involved parties to reach a settlement outside of court. A neutral third party, known as a mediator, facilitates these discussions to help find a mutually agreeable solution.
During this phase, both sides present their views and evidence. They aim to negotiate terms that satisfy everyone involved. If successful, this phase results in an agreement that avoids the need for a trial. This saves time and resources for both your attorney and the insurance company involved.
Trial preparation (1-2 Years)
If a settlement can’t be reached between your attorney and the at-fault driver’s insurance company, your case will likely go to trial. During the trial preparation phase, your attorney will gather and organize evidence to present before a judge and jury. That includes medical records, accident reports, and witness testimonies.
Attorneys on both sides develop legal strategies, file necessary motions, and prepare arguments for the court. Your attorney may conduct depositions and gather expert testimonies to strengthen your case.
Finally, both parties engage in pre-trial conferences to discuss settlement possibilities and outline their approaches before presenting the case in court.
Trial and verdict (1-2 Years)
The trial and verdict begins when both parties present their cases to a judge or jury. Witnesses testify, and attorneys introduce evidence and make their arguments. After hearing all the evidence and arguments, the judge or jury deliberates to reach a verdict.
The verdict determines the defendant's liability and the compensation you should receive. This compensation would be in the form of a court award.
Post-trial motions and appeals (1-3 Years)
Post-trial motions and appeals can challenge the trial's outcome. During this phase, the losing party often files post-trial motions. They seek to alter the verdict or request a new trial.
If these motions fail, they may appeal the decision to a higher court, arguing legal errors affected the trial's outcome. This phase involves careful legal analysis and can significantly extend the duration of the legal process.