San Diego is famous for many things, one being the incredible weather that we enjoy throughout the year. This weather is just one reason why riding a bicycle can be such a great mode of transportation, either for getting around town or just for the enjoyment of getting out and exercising. Regardless of why you choose to ride a bicycle in San Diego, you have every right to do so. Unfortunately, your right to ride a bicycle in San Diego is not a guarantee of safety; in fact, riding a bike in San Diego can be an extremely dangerous or risky activity. No matter how safe you are while cycling, you run the risk of being in a crash and suffering serious injuries. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that you understand when and why to call a personal injury attorney. The team at Injury Trial Lawyers, APC, is here to help.
Work With Injury Trial Lawyers, APC After a Bicycle Accident To Fight For What You Deserve
One of the most important steps to take after being injured in a bicycle accident that someone else caused is to partner with an experienced attorney. Further below, we will go into detail about the general steps to take following your accident, but it is important that through each step you understand that an experienced, aggressive bicycle accident lawyer in San Diego is one of the most important partners for you to have during this process.
You Need an Attorney — Now
Once your immediate medical concerns are addressed, you will need to initiate an injury claim with the insurance company representing the person responsible for the crash, and from the moment you make contact with them, they move into action in order to find as many reasons as possible to limit the amount of money that they pay you. When you have an attorney representing your case, you can be confident that there is someone fighting to get you what you deserve while you are focusing on recovering from your injuries.
Contact Us For Your Free Consultation
Read more below to get a better idea about some of the general topics that we will need to work through during your personal injury case, including things like how we will determine the value of your damages, common injuries in cycling accidents, and more. If you are ready to begin immediately, contact us now for a free consultation where you will be able to speak directly with our team about your situation. During your consultation, we will be able to talk about the specifics of your case, our history of successful cases similar to yours, and generally get a better idea of how we can work together to get you the money that you deserve.
What To Do After a San Diego Bicycle Accident
Getting into any type of accident is a very upsetting experience, regardless of whether or not there are serious injuries involved. It is a scary situation, and you are certain to be full of adrenaline in the minutes following the collision, which can cloud your judgment as you are trying to deal with your “fight or flight” response. The following steps are not necessarily the exact steps that you will need to take, or in this order, but they are generally very good to follow in order to maximize your chances of a positive or favorable outcome.
Whether you, the driver, or a bystander calls, it is absolutely essential that someone calls 911 immediately so that dispatch can alert the San Diego Police and Fire Departments, as well as the EMTs who will provide you with emergency medical care. The 911 dispatcher will be able to talk you through the steps to take while you are waiting for the first responders to arrive, and will be able to relay any information to them such as any serious injuries or hazards. In seemingly minor collisions, it might be easy to decide against calling the police and instead just working directly with the driver. While this can certainly save some hassle in the short term, it can cause complications down the road as you are filing your claim.
Get Medical Attention
When the EMTs arrive at the scene, they will be able to take stock of the situation and begin to administer emergency medical attention. In some cases, they may recommend that you take an ambulance to the emergency room in order to get more extensive treatment, but in other instances, you may be able to leave under your own power. Whether or not you take an ambulance, it is absolutely essential that you see a doctor as soon as possible. In addition to having your injuries treated, this will establish a record of your injuries that will be very useful during your insurance claim.
Hire an Attorney
As soon as you have gotten your immediate medical needs addressed, hiring a lawyer is the most important step that you can take. Many people believe that they should wait until after they have filed their claim with the insurance company about their injuries, but getting legal support before even initiating the claim can give you a major advantage. Every statement that you make to the insurance company will be used against you as they attempt to reduce your settlement amount, so instead of worrying about these issues, you can focus on recovery while your attorney is handling all communications.
Gather Eyewitness and Firsthand Accounts
Whether at the scene or after you are treated for your injuries, it is important that you submit your own account fo the accident, and gather as many eyewitness accounts as possible. If the driver is at fault for your injuries, then you will want to make sure that every opportunity to clarify this important detail is taken, including accounts from anyone who saw the crash. In addition, you and your attorney may be able to find things like surveillance or traffic cameras that can help to corroborate your case further.
File a Claim
Once you and your attorney have gotten the initial details addressed, like a police report that indicates that the driver was at fault, eyewitness accounts to support the report, and your emergency medical needs have been handled, it is time to file an insurance claim. Your attorney will be able to handle this step so that you can continue to focus on recovery.
Negotiating The Settlement That You Deserve
The Claims Process
When you are working with an insurance company, their primary focus is not on getting you the money that you deserve. They are focused on saving as much money as possible, which is the main goal that the insurance adjuster will have as they work through the investigation of your claim. Your attorney will be able to advise you on any statements that you submit to the adjuster during the investigation, which will be an enormous relief considering that you are trying to focus on your medical, personal, and professional needs after this significant disruption.
Your Initial Offer
Once the investigation is completed, the adjuster will return to you with a settlement offer, in exchange for you signing a waiver that releases the insurance company or their client from any future liability for the crash. Unfortunately, the amount they will offer is significantly less than what you deserve. The insurance agents hope that you believe this is the best that you can do, and accept the offer, but this is not the case.
Negotiations For A Fair Settlement
Once the insurance company has made an initial offer, your attorney will be able to begin a series of aggressive negotiations in order to get you the money you actually deserve. During the claims investigation, your bicycle accident lawyer will have undergone their own investigation and calculated both the economic and non-economic damages that you have suffered, and are therefore owed. The negotiation period will be an attempt to find a resolution to your claim without needing to file a lawsuit with the California courts.
Frequently Asked Questions About San Diego Bicycle Accidents
The following are just a few examples of questions that we will be able to go into greater detail about during your free initial consultation. The answers to these questions are specific to your circumstances, which means that the following are only intended to give you an idea of what to expect, NOT a comprehensive answer for your own situation. To get specific answers, contact us now to schedule a consultation.
How much is my bicycle accident case worth?
In order to determine the actual value of your case, you will need to work with your San Diego cycling accident lawyer in order to go through a range of details about your accident, as well as your personal life. While your medical bills are a significant part of your damages, your lifestyle, earnings, and more will also go into the calculations and play a large role. Damages are divided into economic and non-economic damages, and are then further adjusted based on the percentage that each person is at fault for the crash.
Economic damages are the basis of your case, and include all of the measurable financial impacts of your injuries including your medical bills, lost wages, and anything else that has measurable financial impacts associated with them. Essentially, anything with a receipt, paystub, or invoice that is connected to your accident is included here.
Non-economic damages are less straightforward than economic damages for a variety of reasons, but simply put, it is because they do not have actual dollar values. They include things like the actual pain and suffering that comes with an injury, as well as the depression, anxiety, and lower quality of life that you must deal with following your accident.
In California, there is something known as “comparative negligence” that determines the final amount that a victim receives in a personal injury case. In addition to contesting the actual amount of money you deserve, the insurance company will also attempt to question fault. Essentially, it seeks to determine the degree of fault that each person in the crash is responsible for, and then reduces the victim’s award by the percentage that they are at fault. For example, if you are the victim of a crash but are found to be 10% at fault, then your final settlement amount will be reduced by 10%, saving the insurance company and depriving you of money you deserve.
Will my case need to go to trial?
Some studies estimate that fewer than 5% of all personal injury claims go to trial, which is not a guarantee, but does indicate that it is highly unlikely that you will need to go through a trial. We will work aggressively with the insurance company during our negotiations in order to reach an agreement that can avoid costly, time-consuming legal procedures, which benefits the insurance company just as much as it benefits us. Between 2007 and 2013, there were almost 88,000 non-fatal cycling accidents, and over 900 fatal accidents, meaning that even if 95% of cases are settled, these statistics suggest that over 4,000 of these accidents could see trial (if they all filed injury claims). We will need to work closely on your case in order to develop a strategy and understand our long-term outlook.
Should I accept the offer from the insurance company?
As we have mentioned a number of times, we will certainly seek to settle your case instead of going to trial; however, this does not mean that you should accept the first offer that the insurance company makes. In fact, it is strongly recommended that you NEVER sign anything from the insurance company without consulting with an attorney first. Signing waivers, accepting offers, or submitting official statements without legal representation can seriously impact your long-term outlook for your case, and may have significant repercussions for your financial stability.
Do I need a lawyer to initiate an accident claim?
There is no requirement that you hire an attorney for any legal issues you may face, but that does not mean that you should attempt to go through this process alone. Tort law in California is complicated, and you will be working directly with a team that is working for their client, the insurance company, in order to save as much money as possible. At the same time that this legal team is springing into action, you will need to focus on your recovery so that you can get your life back on track as soon as possible. These are just two reasons of many why it is so important that you hire an attorney to help you through this process.
Who is at fault for my accident?
In order to determine who is at fault for your accident, we will need to go through as much information as is available to help paint a clear picture of the entire situation, including police reports, the driver’s statements, your own observations, and eyewitness accounts. As explained above, comparative negligence plays a significant role in the amount of your final settlement, which is why this question is extremely important to answer early into our work together.