If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident in Tennessee and are considering filing a lawsuit, it’s natural to wonder how long the process might take. While motorcycle accident suits can take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of years, it’s difficult to provide an exact timeline as each case is completely unique, and several factors can influence the duration.
Reach out to a Memphis motorcycle accident attorney from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC to learn more about timelines for motorcycle accident claims.
Factors Affecting the Duration of a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
A crucial factor that can impact the timeline of a motorcycle accident lawsuit is the complexity of the investigation. Along with an attorney, you will need to gather and examine all relevant evidence to establish your claim for damages. This includes reviewing accident records, witness statements, and official reports, as well as your medical and financial records.
If it proves challenging to obtain these records or if expert witnesses are required, the investigation phase of your personal injury claim can be significantly prolonged. Additionally, the bureaucracy involved in coordinating with the police can prove challenging. Ultimately, it is difficult to determine exactly how long a motorcycle accident investigation will take.
Admitted or Contested Fault
The process of resolving a personal injury claim can be expedited if the negligent party involved in the accident admits fault. Even if you share some responsibility for the accident, Tennessee’s modified comparative negligence rule allows you to recover compensation as long as your share of fault is less than 50%.
A Memphis motorcycle accident attorney will repeatedly stress the importance of abstaining from prematurely engaging with insurance companies. Doing so could potentially jeopardize a lawsuit, therefore extending the timeline.
Agreement on Damages
Reaching an agreement on the amount of damages caused by the accident can impact the duration of a personal injury claim. If all parties involved can agree on the extent of the damages, the resolution of a claim will be quicker and smoother. In any case, negotiations needed with a doctor or the insurance provider to determine the extent of one’s damages can prolong a suit even further.
Number of Parties Involved
It is sometimes the case that motorcycle accidents include a number of parties, especially in accidents involving pedestrians or many other automobiles. To correctly determine compensation eligibility, an attorney will need to determine each party’s level of fault. In order to do so, they may decide to call upon accident reconstruction specialists and other types of experts to recreate the details of what happened.
Despite your lawyer’s efforts, other parties may still claim that you were at fault, requiring you to provide evidence to refute their arguments. This dynamic can lead to a circle of claims and counterclaims, further extending the duration of the lawsuit.
Involvement of Automotive Defects
It is essential to remember that not all accidents are solely caused by negligent drivers. In some cases, accidents occur due to automotive defects or malfunctioning parts. If a defective part contributed to an accident, you may find yourself needing to file a personal injury claim against the manufacturer, distributor, or seller of the vehicle or parts.
The presence of a recall or the need to prove that the part malfunctioned can add complications to your case, potentially prolonging the resolution.
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Overview of the Stages in a Motorcycle Injury Case
While the duration of a motorcycle accident lawsuit can vary depending on specific case circumstances, there are a number of steps that happen in filing a lawsuit that are universal to all personal injury cases.
- Filing of the Lawsuit: Lawsuits begin with the filing of a complaint in court, outlining the details of the accident, the parties involved, and the damages sought. Generally speaking, there is a one-year statute of limitations on personal injuries in Tennessee, meaning the lawsuit must be filed within this timeframe.
- Serving the Summons: Defendants must be officially served with a copy of the filed complaint and a summons to appear in court. The defendant has 30 days to respond, but settlement negotiations may occur during this time.
- Discovery: In this phase, both parties gather information and evidence that may be used in court. This includes exchanging documents, answering written questions, and obtaining sworn testimonies.
- Depositions: A deposition involves sworn question-and-answer sessions, typically recorded by a court reporter, with the parties involved and any witnesses to the motorcycle accident. Depositions can help clarify facts, identify strengths and weaknesses, and assist in settlement negotiations.
- Pretrial Motions: Parties may file pretrial motions to resolve specific legal issues before the trial. This can include motions for summary judgment or motions to exclude certain evidence.
- Settlement Negotiations: Settlement negotiations may occur at various stages. If both parties agree on a settlement amount, the case may be resolved without going to trial, ultimately shortening a lawsuit drastically.
- Trial: If a settlement cannot be reached, the case proceeds to trial. Trials can be lengthy and involve offering evidence, examining witnesses, and presenting legal arguments to a judge or jury.
- Verdict and Appeal: Following the trial, the judge or jury will deliver a verdict. If dissatisfied with the outcome, either party may choose to appeal the decision, which can extend the overall timeline significantly while allowing for further opportunities to recover damages.
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Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Timelines Can Vary Widely
The length of a motorcycle accident lawsuit in Tennessee depends on several factors, including the complexity of the investigation, whether fault is admitted or contested, agreement on damages, the number of parties involved, and the presence of auto defects or recalls. Each motorcycle accident case is completely unique, proving it challenging to provide an exact timeline.
Consider reaching out to a motorcycle accident attorney at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC for more information on how to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit and how long it can take. We can help you seek the compensation you deserve and provide the support you need during.