Riding a motorcycle can be exhilarating, but it can also leave you vulnerable to mishaps on the road. For 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that motorcycle riders in motorcycle accidents were four times more likely to suffer injury and 28 times more likely to die than crash victims in passenger vehicles. If you were in a motorcycle accident, you could take legal action to make sure the at-fault parties pay for your losses.
At Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., we are prepared and equipped to fight for every penny you deserve. Our attorneys can make sure you receive proper medical attention and adequate compensation after your motorcycle accident. Contact us today.
The Timeline of a Motorcycle Crash Lawsuit
How long does a motorcycle accident lawsuit take in Colorado? Sometimes resolving a lawsuit can take several months or more than a year. It depends on the specific details of your case. There are many stages to initiating and resolving motorcycle accident cases. The following timeline can help you know what to expect at each stage.
Part One: Seek Medical Attention, Gather Information, and File a Police Report
Immediately after a motorcycle accident, there are a few steps you need to take to protect your health and rights. You need to:
- Seek medical attention, no matter how minor your injuries seem;
- File a police report;
- Gather witness information; and
- Exchange information with the other involved parties.
These steps help you identify and fix accident-related problems and increase your chances of receiving the compensation you need.
Your lawsuit will likely be a fight against an at-fault driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies look for ways to diminish your financial needs and their driver’s fault.
Insurers can use delays in seeking medical treatment against you. They could claim that your injuries are not serious or result from another incident that happened before you went to the doctor. And delays in filing a police report can diminish the credibility of your account of the accident. By seeking treatment and filing reports immediately, you give the insurance less opportunity and time to deny liability.
Part Two: Hire an Attorney, File an Insurance Claim, Gather Evidence, and Do Not Let the Insurance Company Rush You
After you seek initial medical treatment and file your report, you need to speak to an experienced attorney. An attorney can help you file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance and gather the evidence necessary to win your case.
Navigating an insurance claim
When you file an insurance claim, the insurance company investigates fault and attempts to formulate a settlement offer. Damages you could receive include:
- Compensation for your past, present, and future healthcare needs;
- Compensation for your other past, present, and future accident-related financial losses;
- Compensation for your pain and suffering; and
- Exemplary damages that seek to punish an at-fault driver who exhibited exceptionally bad behavior.
But an insurance claim has many stages and moving parts—so having an experienced lawyer can make a tremendous difference in what you ultimately receive.
Avoiding a hasty settlement
The insurance company might try to diminish your settlement by pressuring you to settle your case fast. Do not let them do this. It is rarely wise to accept an early settlement because you have not had enough time to properly assess your damages.
A large part of motorcycle accident settlements is compensation for your past, present, and future medical needs. When you settle your case, you sign paperwork that bars you from going back and requesting more if your expenses exceed your compensation. So once you sign the paperwork—you can never go back for more, no matter how much more expenses you face.
You need to take enough time to understand all of your present and future medical needs before settling. A common motorcycle injury such as soft tissue damage can take several months to heal. And if you suffer orthopedic injuries that need surgical intervention, your recovery time could take up to a year or more.
Often, the best time to settle or litigate an accident lawsuit is when you have reached or are nearing maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI does not mean you are cured; it means that there is no further medical intervention available to make your condition(s) better. Your doctor tells you when you reach MMI, and they give your future treatment recommendations to keep you at MMI.
While the insurance investigates, you should be gathering your own evidence. Medical records, wage records, police reports, job history, receipts, invoices, and witness testimony can all prove what you are entitled to recover. Also, Colorado law reduces your damages by your percentage of fault, so take every opportunity to maximize your damages. Hiring a skilled attorney is your best chance to maximize your damages.
And be careful to refrain from giving harmful evidence to the other side. It’s best not to use social media during your case because insurance companies often watch your posts and public behavior to find something that contradicts your injury claim.
Part Three: Settle Your Case or File a Lawsuit
If you cannot reach a fair settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company, it is time to move ahead with litigation. You need to make sure you file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations, which gives you three years to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit. If you fail to meet this deadline, your right to recover or settle could be barred forever.
While awaiting trial, the insurance company might choose to offer you a good settlement instead of fighting in court. If you receive what you think is a good offer, have an attorney review it before accepting. Settlements can contain many confusing waivers and admissions that will significantly affect your rights in the future.
Speak to an Attorney Right Away
After an accident, do not let a bad or negligent driver take anything else from you. You can do this by hiring an experienced attorney and exercising your right to compensation.
At Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., our Denver attorneys have over 75 years of combined experience. And Attorney Eric Steiner, M.D. is also a doctor who can help ensure you receive the right medical attention and compensation for your injuries. We are exceptionally and uniquely prepared to protect your interests in a motorcycle accident case. If you need help, we hope you will contact us.