If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, you likely have many questions about the legal process and what you can do to protect your rights. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about bicycle accidents and lawsuits:
What should I do if I’ve been involved in a bicycle accident?
Following a bicycle accident, it is important to take certain steps, including the following:
- Call 911
- Get medical attention
- Take photos of the scene
- Keep track of all expenses
- Talk to a lawyer
Who do I recover damages from after an accident?
Recovering damages after a bicycle accident can be complex, as there may be multiple parties responsible for your injuries and losses. Some of the most common parties who may be liable for your damages include:
Drivers: If a motor vehicle driver was responsible for your bicycle accident, then they could be held liable for any damages you suffer.
Trucking companies: If a truck was involved in your bicycle accident, there are several parties that could be responsible. This includes the truck driver, the the trucking company that employs the driver, or even the company responsible for loading or maintaining the truck.
Manufacturers: If a defective product, such as a piece of the bike, directly contributed to your bicycle accident, then the manufacturer of that product may be held liable for any resulting damages. For instance, if the chain on your bike breaks and causes you to crash, then the manufacturer of that chain could be legally responsible for any losses you have suffered.
Government/municipality: Poor road conditions, such as potholes or inadequate signage, can lead to serious bicycle accidents. In these cases, the government or municipality responsible for maintaining the road may be liable for resulting damages.
Can I still sue the responsible party if I was partially at fault?
In the District of Columbia, modified comparative negligence rules have been put in place to protect accident victims who are partially responsible for an accident. This means that even if you had some measure of fault in your bicycle incident, you may still be able to recover compensation.
Modified comparative negligence is a legal concept that takes into account the amount of fault each party bears in an accident. Under this rule, if you were involved in a bicycle accident and it was determined that the accident was less than 51% your fault, you would still be able to receive compensation from the other party. Your recovery will be decreased by the percentage of responsibility assigned to you.
Should I talk to the insurance adjuster before consulting an attorney?
If you’ve been in a bicycle accident, you might receive a call from the insurance adjuster of the other party involved. They might seem friendly and understanding, but it’s important to understand that their primary goal is to settle the claim quickly and for as little money as possible.
The insurance adjuster might ask you questions about the accident, your injuries, and your medical treatment. They might also request a recorded statement or ask you to sign a medical authorization form. This is where things can get tricky, as the information you provide can be used against you later on.
That’s why it’s crucial to never talk to an insurance adjuster before speaking with a lawyer. An experienced bicycle accident attorney can help you understand your rights and obligations and can determine if you have a valid accident claim. They can also negotiate with the insurance adjuster on your behalf and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
What is my case worth?
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question as the value of a personal injury case depends on many factors.
When evaluating the value of a bicycle accident case, one of the first things to take into account is the severity of the collision. Generally speaking, a minor accident with minimal injury will bring a less lucrative outcome than a severe accident that results in significant damages. The more severe the accident, the higher the potential settlement or award.
It is essential to provide proof of the severity of your injuries and related medical costs through records and medical expenses. The more significant the harm done and the higher your medical bills, as well as lost wages from time off work, the greater chance you have of receiving a larger settlement or award.
You will also need to evaluate any emotional injuries you’ve experienced from the accident, like depression, PTSD, and the cost of mental health professionals.
Additionally, whether you are partially at fault for the accident will play a role. If you are partially at fault, your potential settlement or award will be reduced by your degree of fault.
Finally, the value of your bicycle accident case will depend on a variety of other factors as well. These include the insurance policy limits of the other party, any available eyewitness accounts, the quality of the evidence, and the strength of your legal arguments. A personal injury attorney can assist in assessing the value of your case and building a strong claim to maximize compensation.
Do I need a lawyer?
When filing a bicycle accident claim, you are not required to hire a lawyer; you could file an insurance claim on your own. However, it is strongly recommended that you seek the help of an experienced lawyer. They can help you file all necessary paperwork, ensure that you don’t miss any important deadlines, and help you calculate what you’re entitled to so you don’t take a settlement that is less than what is owed to you.
Additionally, a lawyer will negotiate with insurance companies and even represent your interests in court if needed. Let them handle the legal issues so you can focus on your recovery.
If you were in a bicycle accident and need legal assistance, contact our Washington, D.C. bicycle accident lawyers today to schedule a free consultation.