Motorcycles are exciting to ride, and because they are smaller and more maneuverable than other motor vehicles, they are great for navigating traffic. However, this size difference also makes them vulnerable to accidental collisions. Other drivers often experience difficulty seeing motorcycles, and accidents that involve a motorcycle continue to trend high.
In California, more than 13,000 injuries or fatalities involving motorcyclists were reported in 2021. Of these, Los Angeles County experienced the greatest number of collisions and motorcycle accident claims.
When a motorcycle accident occurs, the driver may file a claim to recover damages. However, this process may take longer than the operator is expecting, and properly setting expectations ensures that the involved parties can properly plan for their recovery and financial future.
Here is the most important information about how long a California motorcycle accident claim takes to settle, including a general timeline as well as factors that can influence the final settlement amount.
How Long a California Motorcycle Accident Claim Takes to Settle
The length of time required to properly settle a motorcycle accident claim will depend on various factors. The most impactful element is how many parties were involved in the accident.
If only one party is responsible for the event, the process is more simplified and can be resolved more quickly than if professionals must liaise between multiple people, their insurance, and potentially their legal teams.
What drivers can know for certain is that in California, insurance companies must respond within 15 days when a claim is made. This response does not necessarily need to include a decision, but some contact must be made within this time.
The insurance company has 40 days to come to a determination on the claim once the information has been filed by a legal team. If the party or parties involved agree with the determination, the process ends after just these few weeks.
However, if an attorney must negotiate for a more fair or more comprehensive settlement, this process may take additional weeks. If the new settlement is deemed acceptable, the claim is settled at this point.
The length of the overall process depends on whether a settlement is proposed that suits the involved parties. In the event that no agreeable settlement can be reached, litigation begins to argue for a fair settlement from the insurance company.
This process may take additional months or even years depending on the complexity of the information presented, the number of other people involved, and how flexible the parties are on the settlements proposed.
Factors That Impact the Settlement Amount
Once a settlement is reached, whether initially from the insurance company’s determination or through litigation, some motorcyclists may be surprised at the amount that they are awarded. Multiple factors may impact how much of a settlement is awarded, and only some are within the control of motorists.
California is a comparative fault state, which means that if a motorcyclist is found partially at fault, they will only receive a partial amount of their settlement that corresponds with how at fault their actions were.
In general, the biggest factor that will determine the settlement amount for a motorcycle accident in California is proof of damages. If the cyclist has suffered tangible damage with a monetary component, those values are calculated into the settlement.
For example, if the motorcyclist is injured and cannot return to work until healed, the income lost during this hiatus is typically included in the settlement. Similarly, a reduction in future earning capacity, the value of a lost job or opportunity, and even pain and suffering may all apply to increase the settlement amount.
If the cyclist must undergo physical therapy, the cost for services may be recovered in the settlement. If they underwent surgery or an emergency room visit, these costs may also be included. An attorney is the best resource for constructing a case for recovering damages.
Cyclists will need to show W-2s or other proof of income, as well as medical bills and other documentation. Properly determining the amount owed from these sources is the purview of a legal professional, and cyclists who attempt this process on their own historically receive lower settlement amounts than those who work with a legal team.
Seek Legal Guidance from Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident in California, multiple factors are at play to determine what settlement you receive and how quickly you receive it. The attorneys at Lehr Law, APC work closely with clients to ensure that their case receives the best possible outcome for their situation.