Generally speaking, it takes up to six weeks to exchange the settlement paperwork and get a check. Sometimes, it can take longer than that and occasionally, your attorney has to go to court and make a motion to enforce the settlement because an insurance company will drag so much. The big exception to this is in larger cases. Sometimes the settlement includes payments made over time and those can run any length and typically will run through a person’s entire life.
If I’m Judged to Be Partly at Fault In a Motorcycle Accident, Is My Compensation Claim Doomed?
I practice in California primarily and California is a state where the respective negligence of the parties is treated in a comparative way. For example, if the negligence is equal or 50/50, then the injured person would recover half of what their case would be worth if it was completely the other person’s fault.
What you find in practice, however, is that were the fault is way more on the other driver, juries tend to ignore a small amount of negligence on your part. If you sue someone who is 75% or more at fault, juries tend to ignore your fault of 25% or less. In theory the law is that juries should consider as little as 1% negligence. In reality, they don’t.
Can I Afford an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
Virtually every attorney who does this kind of work, works on a percentage basis and advances the costs involved in the lawsuit. There are almost no attorneys who work in some other way.
You can expect to pay your attorney 33 1/3% or 40% of the amount you recover as legal fees. In addition, the attorney will advance all the costs of litigation, and these will also be paid from your recovery. There will never be a point where you’re asked to take money out of your pocket and contribute to it. At the end of the case, the attorney’s fees and the costs come out of whatever the settlement or judgment is.
This doesn’t mean your attorney is free. You’re paying for his or her services. You should feel comfortable calling your attorney and you should very expect your attorney will either talk to you or promptly return your phone calls. This is part of what you are paying for.
When Is The Best Time To File a Lawsuit or Negotiate a Settlement?
There are a couple of things that determine when to move forward.
If you have a defendant who only has a certain amount of insurance coverage, it may not make sense to proceed further once the policy limits are offered.
If there is inadequate coverage and the defendant does not have personal assets that make it worth going after the personal assets, the amount of what is available is going to determine the value of the case, rather than the value of the injuries, which may be much greater.
If there are unlimited funds available or if the available funds are clearly more than the amount of your settlement, two things should happen before the case is settled.
These two things are different sides of the same coin, which requires you be able to value your case with some confidence before you settle it. Once you settle it, you can’t come back and change it later.
Typically looked at is whether or not you’ve reached maximum medical improvement. Is there another surgery that might help, or is there more therapy that might help? You should also know whether your injuries, whatever they are, are pretty much permanent and stationary. In other words, have they reached the level where you can reasonably have confidence as to how your injuries will be going into the future.
Sometimes it’s just not possible to know. Maybe there is a risk you’re going to have arthritis in the future but it may be many years from now. Normally, by the time that you get to trial it, you’ve had more than a year for your injuries to get to a level where they can be evaluated. Usually, that’s enough time. If it’s not, most of the time the court will allow you to continue the trial so that you have time for another surgery or another evaluation that’s necessary. On the other hand, sometimes injuries that will cause problems way in the future cannot be fully evaluated, and your attorney will do the best possible under the circumstances.
For more information on Timeline Of Receiving Compensation, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (800) 928-1511 today.