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December 22, 2023

How Long Does a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Take in California?

Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz, JD, MBA

Short answer: Most California motorcycle accident lawsuits take approximately 2-6 months to resolve. In more complex motorcycle accident lawsuits, it can take well over a year to settle your claim. When a lawsuit take longer, this generally means a case goes to trial while shorter cases most often settle outside of it.

Average Timelines for California Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits

Severity of Accident Time to Settlement
Minor Approximately: 2 – 6 months
Moderate Approximately: 6 – 12 months
Severe Approximately: 12 – 24 months+

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Factors That Can Cause Motorcycle Accidents to Take Longer in California

Complexity of the Case

Motorcycle accident lawsuits can take longer when cases are complex. Factors such as multiple parties involved, intricate legal issues, or challenges in determining liability can contribute to a lengthier legal process.

Severity of Injuries

The extent of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident can impact the duration of the lawsuit. Severe injuries may require extensive medical assessments, ongoing treatment, and expert opinions, which can extend the overall legal timeline.

Disputes over Liability

Disagreements regarding who is at fault for the accident can prolong the lawsuit. Resolving liability disputes often involves thorough investigation, gathering evidence, and negotiation between parties, which may take time.

Insurance Company Delays

If insurance companies are involved, delays in processing claims or disputes over coverage can extend the duration of the lawsuit. Negotiations with insurance adjusters may require additional time for a fair resolution.

Need for Expert Witnesses

Cases involving complex technical aspects or medical issues may require the testimony of expert witnesses. Scheduling, obtaining reports, and coordinating expert testimony can contribute to a lengthier legal process.

Court Dockets and Scheduling

The availability of court dates and the overall court docket can impact the timeline of a motorcycle accident lawsuit. Courts may experience backlogs, leading to delays in setting trial dates or hearings.

Settlement Negotiations

While settlements can expedite the resolution, negotiations between parties may take time, especially if there are significant differences in settlement amounts or terms. Finding common ground may require extended discussions.

Legal Procedures and Pre-Trial Motions

Various legal procedures, including pre-trial motions and hearings, can add time to the lawsuit process. Resolving these procedural matters is necessary before advancing to trial or settlement discussions.

Changes in Legal Representation

If either party changes legal representation during the course of the lawsuit, it can introduce delays. New attorneys may need time to familiarize themselves with the case and may request extensions for various legal proceedings.

Factors That Can Help Your Lawsuit Move Quicker

Clear Liability and Evidence

When liability is straightforward, and there is ample evidence supporting the claims, lawsuits are more likely to progress quickly. Clear documentation, witness statements, and a straightforward narrative can facilitate a faster resolution.

Prompt Medical Treatment

Swift medical treatment and a well-documented record of injuries after a motorcycle accident can expedite the legal process. This helps establish the connection between the accident and the injuries, making it easier to assess damages.

Efficient Communication

Open and efficient communication between parties, attorneys, and insurance companies can help resolve issues promptly. Timely responses to inquiries, sharing necessary information, and collaboration contribute to a smoother legal process.

Willingness to Settle

If both parties are open to negotiation and reaching a settlement, the lawsuit can move more quickly. A cooperative approach, with a focus on finding common ground, may lead to a resolution without the need for a lengthy trial.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Opting for alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or arbitration, can significantly shorten the legal timeline. These processes often allow for a quicker resolution compared to the formal court proceedings.

Streamlined Legal Procedures

Efficient handling of legal procedures, such as pre-trial motions and discovery, can contribute to a faster lawsuit. Parties can work collaboratively to streamline processes and avoid unnecessary delays.

Experienced Legal Representation

Having experienced and skilled attorneys who are familiar with the legal process can expedite the case. They can navigate complexities, anticipate potential issues, and efficiently handle legal matters.

Preparation for Trial

If a trial becomes necessary, thorough pre-trial preparation by both parties can expedite proceedings. Well-prepared arguments, organized presentation of evidence, and a clear legal strategy contribute to a more efficient trial.

Agreed-upon Facts

When parties agree on certain facts of the case, it eliminates the need for lengthy disputes and investigations. This agreement on essential elements can facilitate a quicker resolution.

Proactive Case Management

Effective case management by the court can also speed up the legal process. Courts that actively manage their dockets, set realistic deadlines, and minimize unnecessary delays contribute to a more efficient resolution.

Why Might an Insurance Company Want to Slow Your Lawsuit Down?

Risk Mitigation

Insurance companies may want to slow down the claim process to thoroughly assess the risk associated with the case. Taking time allows them to investigate the details, evaluate potential liabilities, and strategize on minimizing the settlement amount.

Reducing Payouts

By delaying the claim process, the other party’s insurance may aim to pressure the claimant into accepting a lower settlement. The hope is that the claimant, facing prolonged legal proceedings, might be more inclined to settle for a lesser amount to expedite resolution.

Evidence Gathering

Slowing down the process allows the insurance company more time to gather evidence that could weaken the claimant’s case. This could involve seeking additional information, conducting further investigations, or waiting for circumstances that may favor the insurer.

Minimizing Damages

Delaying the claim process enables the insurance company to challenge the extent of damages the claimant is seeking. They may dispute medical assessments, question the necessity of certain treatments, or seek alternative opinions to minimize the overall payout.

Preserving Resources

Insurance companies may intentionally slow down the process to preserve their financial resources. By delaying settlements, they can maintain higher cash reserves and potentially negotiate more favorable terms with claimants.

Encouraging Settlement at a Lower Value

A prolonged claims process can put financial strain on the claimant, making them more willing to settle quickly even if it means accepting a lower compensation amount. Insurance companies may use this as a negotiation tactic.

Legal and Procedural Maneuvering

The insurer may engage in legal maneuvers and procedural delays to complicate the case. This could involve filing motions, seeking continuances, or introducing complexities that necessitate more time for resolution.

Leveraging Policy Terms

Insurers may exploit certain terms and conditions within their policies that allow them to extend the claims process. This could include invoking specific investigation clauses, requiring additional documentation, or demanding more comprehensive proof of loss.

Discouraging Legal Action

By dragging out the process, the insurance company may attempt to discourage the claimant from pursuing legal action. The hope is that the claimant will become frustrated or financially strained, leading them to abandon or settle the claim on less favorable terms.

Assessing the Claimant’s Persistence

Insurance companies may intentionally delay to assess the claimant’s persistence and determination. If the claimant shows resilience and is unwilling to settle for less, the insurer may eventually reevaluate their strategy.

Can an Attorney Help Settle Your Case Faster?

Yes, hiring an attorney can often expedite the settlement process. Attorneys bring legal expertise, negotiation skills, and an understanding of the complexities involved.

They can streamline communication, navigate legal procedures efficiently, and help calculate what your settlement could be. Additionally, the presence of legal representation signals to the opposing party that the claimant is serious about their case, potentially encouraging a faster and more favorable resolution.

Can I Hire an Attorney if I Started the Claim Process Myself?

Yes, you can hire an attorney even if you initiated the claim process yourself. Many individuals begin the process independently but choose to seek legal assistance later for various reasons. An attorney can step in, assess your case, make sure you’re filing within the statute of limitations, and potentially enhance your chances of a favorable outcome. Whether at the outset or during the process, obtaining legal representation is your right and can significantly benefit your case.

Get Connected With an Attorney

Looking to get help with your motorcycle accident? Contact LawLinq today to connect with some of the best motorcycle accident attorneys in the state. All initial consultations are free and they can answer any question you may have.

About the Author

Jessica Anvar

California Consumer Litigation Attorney Jessica Anvar, Esq. is the Founder and Managing Partner of Lemon Law Experts California’s leading lemon law firm. She has multiple years’ worth of experience working with both state and federal lemon laws. Her practice focuses exclusively on consumer protection cases. Ms. Anvar received her J.D. from Loyola Law School. She also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Loyola Marymount University. Jessica is very active in her local legal community and has helped thousands of clients across the state of California. She has an outstanding record as a true advocate for consumers.

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