How long you have to file a lawsuit after a motorcycle accident will depend on several factors. The most important factor is your location. In Louisiana, you likely have only one year to file your injury lawsuit, per CC §3492.
There are also other deadlines you may need to consider. For example, suppose the vehicle that caused your accident was a government vehicle or the driver was a government employee on the job. These cases have additional requirements and deadlines for notifying the municipal, parish, or state agency and filing a lawsuit.
Many Motorcycle Accident Cases Do Not Require Lawsuits
Many motorcycle accident cases often settle without going to trial. Instead, victims file an insurance claim and request a payout based on their current and future damages. An attorney presents evidence to support the claim to the insurer representing the at-fault driver, and they negotiate an agreement.
If this happens in your case, your legal team will help you understand what a fair agreement includes. You will always have the final say in accepting a settlement, but your attorney will offer advice.
If you’re considering filing an insurance claim, you should still allow enough time to file a lawsuit. That way, if you change your mind later, you’ll have enough time to file.
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Some Motorcycle Accident Cases Do Require Lawsuits
Sometimes a negotiation with an insurer doesn’t result in a settlement. In such a case, your lawyer may advise you about taking your claim to court or filing a lawsuit. A lawyer from our firm won’t hesitate to file a lawsuit if it’s necessary to hold the responsible party accountable and help you recover the compensation you deserve.
You may also choose not to file a claim at all. Instead, you may file a lawsuit if you want to hold the driver who hit you directly accountable or if your injuries are especially serious. For example, if you suffered a head injury or a permanent disability, you may opt to file a lawsuit. If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you and your lawyer might also choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Get Started As Soon As Possible to Build the Strongest Case
Even though you could have up to a year to sue the driver who hit you, there are many advantages to getting started as soon as possible. The sooner you and your attorney get started on your case, the more time you’ll have to build and strengthen it. For example, your lawyer will have the time they need to calculate the value of your damages and prepare responses to the insurer.
Your attorney will need to take many other steps to build a case for you, and many of them are time-sensitive. For example, eyewitness testimony may play a key role in establishing precisely what led to the collision. Your attorney will have to canvass for witnesses and speak to them about the crash. Identifying and contacting them becomes more difficult as time passes, and they may also forget important details.
Acquiring camera footage is time-sensitive too. A pedestrian may have cell phone recordings of your accident or scene, but might delete them soon after the incident. A business parking lot might have security camera footage of the incident, but the business owner may erase it.
The Steps You Can Take Right Away
After an accident, you should take several steps if your injuries allow.
- Seek medical attention immediately: The first thing you should do after your accident is get medical attention and treatment. Your health depends on this, and your case may depend on proving you got medical attention right after your accident.
- Call law enforcement: Notify law enforcement of the incident so they can respond right away. They will write up an accident report that we can use as evidence in your case.
- Document the scene: If possible, take photos and videos of your injuries, your motorcycle, other involved vehicles, and your surroundings. These images could become valuable evidence later.
- Collect contact information: Speak to the other involved driver(s) and get their names, contact information, and insurance information. You should also get names and contact information for any eyewitnesses.
- Call our firm: We’ll advise you about the next steps you can take, like speaking to a lawyer about filing a claim or lawsuit.
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Wrongful Death Suits Also Have a One-year Time Limit
Under CC §2315.2, there is a one-year deadline for wrongful death lawsuits in Louisiana. Wrongful death actions allow the surviving family members of a deceased motorcycle accident victim to recover compensation.
This compensation can include the damages recoverable in a personal injury case and the losses qualifying family members have. Depending on the situation, qualifying family members could include:
- A surviving spouse
- Minor children
- Adult children
- A parent or parents
- Siblings or grandparents, if there are no closer relatives
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How an Attorney Can Help You With Your Motorcycle Collision Case
When a lawyer represents a motorcycle accident victim, they usually do so based on contingent fees. This means they will receive payment from the settlement or trial verdict they recover in your case. They may not be able to help if you are too close to the deadline for filing a lawsuit or taking other action, so it is important to get started as soon as your injuries allow you to.
It is okay if you are unsure of your prognosis or future treatment needs. Your lawyer can work with you as you learn more, or they may call in experts to establish these details to build your case. If they are successful in securing financial recovery through a settlement agreement or in court, you may recover compensation for damages like:
- Current medical bills
- Future treatment costs
- Ongoing care and long-term support
- Lost income and diminished capacity to earn
- Property damages
- Other expenses
- Pain and suffering
Learn About Our Team at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers
Our team of personal injury lawyers is focused on helping our clients recover fair compensation. We have lots of experience with personal injury and wrongful death cases, and we specialize in car wrecks, motorcycle accidents, and similar incidents.
We’re confident we can help you with your case regardless of the circumstances. We’ve handled many cases like yours, so you can be just as confident as we are.
Get a Free Case Review from Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers
At Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers, we provide free case assessments and consultations to those injured by someone else’s careless driving or other negligent actions. We can answer your questions about this process and explain how our attorneys can help. We also believe it is crucial to hold those who cause these collisions accountable.
Contact Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers now for your complimentary consultation.
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