What if the other driver is uninsured?
If you have an automobile policy, you will be covered by your Uninsured Motorist/Under-Insured Motorist (UM/UIM) policy. This means that if you have a collision with an uninsured or under-insured vehicle, you may obtain compensation directly from your own policy as if the other driver had insurance or had sufficient insurance. You will be limited to the coverage amounts available in your own policy. This is why it is very important to purchase high limits on your auto policy.
In the event you must trigger this part of your coverage, your own insurance company in effect becomes your adversary, since you are attempting to have them pay you for your injury and loss. This is coverage YOU purchased and should feel no hesitation to use. Our team of lawyers have given many presentation on educating cyclists and bikers to get the right insurance coverage . As the laws vary from state to state it is important to speak to an experienced bicycle lawyer regarding what coverage may be applicable to you. Please feel free to call for a free consultation. It is better to know you have the right coverage BEFORE a collision occurs!
I can’t afford a lawyer – how will I be able to pay your fees?
You will never have to come up with money out of pocket to pay us. Our fee is strictly limited to a percentage of what we recover for you. This is called a contingency contract. If for any reason we are not able to recover for you, regardless of how much time or money we spent on your case, you will owe us nothing. When we recover for you, our fee will usually be 1/3 of what we collect or 40% if we have to litigate.
How much is my case worth?
This is a very important question that can never be answered easily at the beginning of your case. Be very wary of any lawyer that will give you a dollar figure for what your case is worth right after your accident. There are many variables to determine this and many are not known right away.
Some of the important factors to determine the “worth” of your case are: the extent of your injury and how well you recovery; whether you were partly at fault; amount of medical bills; loss of wages; amount of available insurance coverage and assets of at fault party. Our highly qualified team of bicycle injury lawyers will be able to give you an accurate range of what you can expect to recover. Of course, depending on the seriousness of your injures, it may take several months or even years to know the full extent of how you were harmed. It is for this reason, it is important not to rush to a quick settlement with an insurance company. Once your case is settled you can never seek additional compensation for your injuries. Accordingly, it is important to be sure you are fully recovered from your injuries before accepting a settlement.
How soon should I hire a lawyer?
This may sound like a biased question on a law firm site, but truly the answer is immediately! The investigation of what happened and more importantly proving what happened may be the most critical work your lawyer and team do for you. The best time to investigate is when the evidence is fresh; witnesses memories are fresh; and physical evidence such as skid marks are still prevalent. In addition, there have been many cases where we have been able to obtain video of the collision that was captured on a security/traffic camera. However, this video is generally destroyed weeks and sometimes only days after the collision. Usually the sooner we are able to begin our investigation the better results we can obtain for you.
Our experienced lawyers will also quickly handle all the details of getting your bike repaired/replaced; at no charge to you. It is important that you do not speak with the other insurance company, as they are truly your adversary and will likely attempt to assign some blame on you. It is best to leave the negotiations with a skilled lawyer that works for you and handles these cases everyday. Finally, there are certain time limits in handling a bicycle collision case, if your case is not resolved prior to this time limit, you will not be entitled to any recovery.
Do I have a case?
Every accident is different; whether you have a viable case is determined by many factors. The facts and circumstances of your particular case and the applicable laws will determine whether you have a case. There have been many times where a prospective client has been told by other lawyers he/she had no case and we were able to see it differently and obtain compensation for them. So, the experience that the lawyer has in the type of case you have is critical in obtaining compensation for you. All we do is bicycle and motorcycle cases, there are only a handful of lawyers in the Country that can make such a claim.
An experienced bicycle injury lawyer is the best person to determine whether you have a case. Be careful not to take the advice of the police officer or an insurance adjuster. A police officer is trained to enforce laws; they are not trained or qualified to give legal advice. An insurance agent or adjuster is a very biased and unreliable source of advice as well. In fact the insurance company is often your adversary. The insurance company is looking to assign part or all of the blame on you. If you contact our office, we will give you an honest opinion of the merits of your case and the likelihood of a good recovery.
I was in a bike accident – what should I do?
First thing you always want to do is get medical attention. Make sure the police are called. It is important that there is a police report completed for several reasons. First, it is important that information is collected from all the parties and witnesses to the collision. Second, although the at fault party may feel terrible and apologetic at the scene, people tend to want to change their mind once they fear repercussions from the insurance carrier; so it is nice to have them provide a statement to the police officer. If they later decide to change their story, it will appear less credible.
Make sure you seek medical treatment, even if you feel “OK”. Many times in bicycle accidents, the adrenaline is pumping so hard that your body masks your true injury. Also, it is possible you have sustained a head injury without realizing it. So it is important to document that you were concerned enough about your injuries to seek medical attention.
Do’s and Don’ts
One of the first things our firm does when we commence representation is conduct a thorough investigation of all the facts and circumstances of your collision. Accordingly, never throw anything related to your collision away, such as blood stained clothes, damaged helmet, cell phone, etc. Further, never give a recorded statement to an investigator or insurance agent without first speaking with a lawyer. Only speak about your collision to your family and doctors. Do not put anything on Facebook or other social media regarding your collision and injury, as insurance investigators will attempt to use this against you. If you have already put something on a social media site, immediately remove it.
Start keeping a daily journal of how you are feeling and ways you are being impacted, such as difficulty sleeping, going to the bathroom, showering, etc. Date and sign each page of your journal. This can be used by your lawyer to assist in your case.