In 2021, the Lone Star state was home to 496 motorcycle fatalities. Texas tops the list for the most dangerous state for motorcycle accidents, with a fatality rate of 13 deaths for every 10,000 motorcycles.
As motorcycle accident attorneys, we understand that being in the midst of a lawsuit can be emotionally draining. We are here to give insight regarding filing a motorcycle accident claim and how long a personal injury lawsuit may take.
Notifying the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier immediately after a motorcycle accident is essential. Most insurance policies require you to give “prompt notice” after being involved in an accident. Failure to do so may result in the insurer denying your claim.
Claiming with an insurance company can be a lengthy process. Evidence and supporting documentation must be submitted.
The insurance carrier will make every effort to pay out as little as possible on your claim, and you will need the assistance of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer’s assistance what your claim is the ring Evidence
To build a strong case, a motorcycle accident lawyer must gather pertinent information about your accident. Before gathering this evidence, your attorney must determine who caused the accident and what happened.
Specific information will be collected:
Before filing your claim in court, your attorney will attempt to negotiate a settlement with insurance.
To negotiate a settlement, your attorney will prepare a demand package, including documentation supporting your claim and a demand letter.
A demand letter should establish the following:
A demand letter is a must in any insurance negotiation. In submitting a demand package, the hope is to keep the dispute out of court.
If you decide to settle your case, there are specific time limits that the insurer must abide by. According to Texas Insurance Code §542.056, an insurer must notify the claimant in writing about the claim’s status after receiving all requested documentation no later than the 15th business day.
Insurance companies can take up to 45 days to accept or reject your claim but must notify you in writing because processing your claim takes longer.
Texas law specifies that if an insurer agrees to pay on a claim or part of the claim, this payment must be made by the fifth business day after notice is given to the insured.
If insurance negotiations stall or the insurer repeatedly offers you a settlement that does not cover your accident expenses, your attorney may suggest you litigate your case.
If you decide to pursue litigation, you will have two years from the accident date. This time limitation is known as a statute of limitations and is the maximum amount of time allowed to litigate your case.
In Texas, most personal injury cases have a two-year statute of limitations. This law protects the liable party (defendant) from unfair legal action. When the two-year mark has passed, physical evidence may deteriorate, and witness statements will be less reliable.
The first stage of a lawsuit involves both parties filing pleadings with the court. Your motorcycle accident lawyer will serve the defendant (the at-fault party) with a complaint and summons.
The complaint will summarize the facts related to your case, your claims against the defendant, and the damages you request the defendant pay you. The summons is an official court form that notifies the defendant of being sued and specifies the date they must appear in court.
The defendant will have to respond to your complaint by filing an answer. Once the complaint is formally served, the defendant’s response must be filed within 20 days, and any additional days until Monday at 10 a.m. You can file a default judgment if the defendant does not meet the deadline. This will allow you to have a decision granted in your favor based on the defendant’s lack of legal action.
In an answer, the defendant will issue a written statement denying your allegations. The answer is the defendant’s opportunity to refute your ideas and to provide their side of the story.
If the defendant finds something procedurally wrong with your case (i.e., you missed the statute of limitations), then the defendant can file a motion to dismiss. Judges often do not grant a motion to dismiss, but you must be working with an attorney to make the action unviable.
Before a case moves to trial, the plaintiff and defendant will exchange information. This is known as the discovery process.
In the beginning stage of discovery, both parties must disclose any information they plan to present at trial, known as initial disclosures. Texas Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 190.2 (b) stipulates that the discovery process may take up to 180 days.
During this process, relevant information between the two parties will be exchanged. Privileged information, such as private communications between an attorney and a client, is off-limits.
The discovery process may involve the following:
A formal set of written questions that are sent between parties; a party is only allowed to send the opposing party a total of 15 written interrogatories
Sworn out-of-court testimony: Your attorney can question people with information about the accident, including the other driver.
There will be a stenographer dictating the deposition. Your attorney is allowed up to 20 hours for questioning all witnesses.
A set of statements sent from one party to the adverse party requesting that the adverse party admit or deny the truth of the allegations
Each party is allowed 15 written requests for admission.
A request for documents, electronic data, and other tangible items from one party to the adverse party
Each party is allowed 15 written requests for production
Filing a lawsuit and gathering all relevant information takes time. The discovery process alone can take about six months to complete.
After discovery, both sides will have a final opportunity to resolve the case through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) before proceeding to court. ADR will allow both sides to save money and precious time.
The process takes less time if both sides are willing to exchange information and if the injuries you suffered do require long-term treatment. In more complex cases, litigation can take months or even years, especially if your subject moves to trial.
A motorcycle accident lawsuit can be expensive, time-consuming, and stressful. Don’t try to handle it on your own. Get the legal help you need today. Contact TK Injury Lawyers to schedule your free consultation.
Trent Kelly obtained his law degree from the University of Arkansas in 2007. He is licensed to practice law in Texas and regularly assists clients with their legal matters. Trent’s practice is primarily focused on personal injury matters – particularly those involving motor vehicles (such as cars, commercial trucks, 18-wheelers, and motorcycles) and wrongful death – but he also handles various business litigation matters as well. Click here to take a look at some complex cases Trent has resolved.
Years of experience: +15 years
Location: Austin, TX
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