If you’ve been in an accident with a car while on your bike, you’re probably well aware that you can pursue compensation for your losses. But you may have wondered, is it worth it?
Since bicyclists have a lot less protection than drivers, even a minor accident can lead to devastating injuries. However, many don’t follow up with pursuing a claim after an accident. That’s because for many, going through the bike accident insurance claim procedure can be intimidating. And you may assume it’s unnecessary if you feel like your injuries are not that severe.
At Los Angeles Bicycle Law, we can help you receive recover damages for your injuries. We can also help you understand what to expect during the claims process. To learn more, contact us to speak to a Los Angeles bike accident attorney today.
How Are Bike Accident Settlements Determined?
When you decide to pursue a bicycle accident settlement, you and your attorney will first need to collect evidence. Evidence will back up your damage claims and give a clearer picture of who is actually responsible for an accident.
Evidence can include:
- medical and repair bills,
- a record of lost wages if you had to miss work, and
- any additional information that sheds light on your physical and mental condition post-accident.
A great way to document this is through a post-crash diary. Write down everything you remember directly after the crash, as well as with your feelings and thoughts in the days after the accident. This can go a long way towards strengthening your case. More details are always better in court.
Any compensation you receive will be either economic and/or non-economic. Economic damages might include reimbursements for medical bills post-accident. Non-economic damages account for emotional loss, like a lack of independence after an injury, or the fear you might experience while bike riding in the future.
Non-economic damages can be very hard to calculate, but an experienced bike accident lawyer will be able to help you come up with an appropriate value.
What Should I Know About the Negotiating Process?
Your attorney will be able to negotiate with the driver’s insurance company on your behalf. If you choose to represent yourself during the process, the insurer might try to give you an extremely low settlement because they might not take you seriously.
Insurance companies have lots of tricks up their sleeve. They know how to ask the right questions during the negotiation process that helps their side. Companies will also be watching closely to see if you change your story or even unwittingly admit to being at fault for the accident.
If the insurance company thinks you are lying, they might petition to not pay out any settlement money. An experienced bike accident lawyer will be able to work around these tactics and make sure the insurance company doesn’t get away with it.
What Happens After a Settlement?
Once an agreeable settlement is made after a bike accident, the process of actually transferring settlement funds begins. In general, a check will go to your lawyer since they were working on your behalf. Most attorneys will request 1/3 of the settlement as a fee for taking the case. Funds will also go towards paying off other financial obligations or liens associated with the case.
Any additional money is for you to use. You are not allowed to ask for more money after a settlement is received. This can raise issues for people who have side-effects of accidents that might not manifest until far after the incident occurred.
As a result, it is usually prudent to wait until any injuries are healed (or received a good amount of care) before trying to get a settlement from an insurance company. This gives you an idea of how much compensation you will actually need, especially if long-term care is needed.
We Can Help You Navigate Through the Bike Accident Insurance Claim Procedure
At Los Angeles Bicycle Law, we understand that trying to work through the bike accident insurance claim procedure on your own can be stressful and time-consuming. To learn more about negotiating a fair settlement after an accident, speak to a Los Angeles bike accident attorney today.