How To Choose The Best Bicycle Accident Lawyer: Bicycle accidents can involve serious injuries. If you have been involved in a bike accident it’s crucial that you hire an experienced bicycle accident lawyer to represent you. There are likely many attorneys in your area advertising that they handle bike accidents but not all of them are qualified. Taking the time to find the best lawyer for you is worth the effort. Here are our recommendations on how to find the best bike accident lawyer for your case.
Finding the Best Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Any attorney can say they handle bicycle accidents. But not all lawyers have the same level of experience with this particular type of accident. The right attorney will evaluate your case be open and honest guide you through the process and obtain the best possible result. Here’s what to look for when looking for representation.
Seek Recommendations and Referrals
The best way to find a lawyer is through local referrals. If you have worked with an attorney for a divorce will home purchase or other matters ask that lawyer for a referral to a bike accident attorney. This type of referral is generally very reliable. Check your local bar association for a referral service that can connect you with attorneys skilled in bicycle accidents. These referral programs often vet attorneys before they allow them to participate.
Bar associations also have subject area practice committees listed on their sites where attorneys who practice specific areas of law network. Look for the names of the present and past chairs of the personal injury or automobile accident committee. These attorneys are typically respected by their peers and experienced in this area of law.
Look for an Experienced Bicycle Accident Lawyer
You don’t want to be a learning experience for your lawyer. Instead, you want an attorney who has handled many bicycle accident cases. Be certain they have specific experience with bike accidents and not just car motorcycle or pedestrian accidents. Bicycle accidents are a unique area of law.
Ask About Success Rates
Ask prospective attorneys about their case success rate. What amounts of settlements and awards have they obtained for clients? How many cases have they settled or won in the past year? This will give you an idea of their skill and their experience.
Look for a Contingency Contract
A bicycle accident lawyer should never ask you to pay them. Reputable accident attorneys take cases on a contingency basis only. If they win or settle the case they usually receive one-third of the award (but this can vary by an attorney). You may be asked to pay filing fees or they may be deducted from the final award in the case. Always make sure you have a written retainer agreement with your attorney.
Why You Need a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Injuries from bicycle accidents can be severe with significant injuries. You may be unable to work need expensive medical care and/or suffer emotional distress. You need an attorney who can file your lawsuit negotiate with the driver’s insurance company and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Negotiating on Your Own Is Unwise
The driver’s insurance company will likely contact you. You are free to work out an agreement on your own with them. But remember that they are professionals and insurance companies are for-profit entities. It is in their best interest to deny or negotiate down as many claims as possible. An attorney will represent your best interests and ensure you get what you are entitled to.
Preserve Your Legal Rights With a Lawyer
At the time of your bicycle accident, you likely provided a statement for a police report to provide your account of what happened and a record of any damages you sustained. Since the accident, the reality of the extent of your injuries and other damages may have become more apparent.
So get advice before you talk. Anything you say to police investigators or insurance companies can be used against you in your case. Because of this, it is important to consult with an attorney before you do anything.
Interview Several Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Make appointments with three to five lawyers. Just as you would not buy a car without test-driving several models you should not hire an attorney without meeting with several. Take the time to determine if you feel comfortable with the person if their staff is friendly and if you feel confident in their abilities.
Find out Who Will Handle Your Case
Be sure to meet and talk to the person who will be handling your case at that firm. The person doing intake may be different. Ask them how many bicycle accident cases they personally handle per year (as opposed to how many the firm handles). Get a feel for whether you like that attorney or not.
Understand Communication Expectations
Ask how frequently you should expect updates about your case. Learn how quickly the office returns calls or emails. Find out if your attorney will be available by text or cell phone. Get the name of their secretary or paralegal so you can always reach someone even if your attorney is in court.
Learn the Timeline of Your Bicycle Accident Case
Find out how long they expect the case will take. Ask them what steps may be involved and whether they think the insurance company will settle. Ask if they think your case is one that could be quickly settled or might be protracted.
If I hit a bike rider with my car does my insurance cover it?
If you hit a bike while driving, your insurance will pay for bodily injury up to the policy limit. If your injuries exceed this amount, you will be held personally liable.
If I am partially at fault, do I still have a case?
In many cases, the police report assigns blame to both parties. This report is important evidence in the case, but it does not preclude you from recovering damages. Your attorney can evaluate the evidence and determine whether the report is detrimental to your case.
What should I do if I am in a bike accident?
If you are involved in a bicycle accident, call 911 to seek medical attention for yourself or any other injured parties. Wait for the police to arrive and tell them your side of the story. Take as many photos as you can and keep detailed notes about what happened, the weather, traffic, and road conditions. Obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses and drivers who may have been present at the scene. Keep your damaged bike, clothing, or helmet as evidence.
Can the cyclist in a bike accident be sued?
Yes, if a cyclist causes an accident, a driver or pedestrian can sue for injuries and damages. You need an experienced attorney to represent you in this situation. If you are riding a bike, your automobile insurance may not cover you.