Bicycle accidents can be a traumatic experience, particularly when they involve motor vehicles. If you live in Washington, D.C. and have been injured in a bicycle accident, you may be wondering how to file an insurance claim and get the compensation you deserve. Here’s what you need to know about bicycle accident claims in DC.
D.C. is a No Fault State
Washington, D.C. is a no-fault state when it comes to auto insurance (which is often relevant in bicycle accidents). This means that no matter who is at fault for the accident, your own insurance policy will cover your medical bills. In the event of a bicycle accident, car insurance should provide coverage through uninsured motorist coverage or personal injury protection (PIP).
Having PIP insurance is beneficial if you get into an accident because it covers your medical costs and lost wages up to the certain limit without having to go through long court proceedings or lengthy negotiations.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance company after the accident to report what happened. They can determine if you have coverage for the accident.
Homeowners or Renters Insurance
Homeowners and renters insurance policies can also provide some protection after a bicycle crash. If you’re in a bicycle accident in D.C. and have this type of coverage, you may be able to obtain compensation using this avenue.
Filing a Claim
Once you’ve contacted your insurance company and all necessary information regarding coverage and benefits available, it’s time to file a claim. Depending on your particular situation, this could involve filing a lawsuit against another driver or submitting a claim for benefits from your insurer.
Filing a Lawsuit Against the At-Fault Driver
If your claim is denied or your injuries exceed the amount of your policy coverage, then filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver may be an option. Damages in such cases may include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The Benefits of Settling Out of Court
A few key benefits come from settling a bicycle accident case before going to trial. These include:
Cost savings. Going through the process of preparing for and attending a trial is expensive for both sides involved — including lawyers’ fees, expert witness costs, and other court expenses. By settling out of court, you avoid these costs and focus on getting the most compensation possible.
Avoiding emotional stress. A car accident can be emotionally traumatic, especially if someone has been seriously injured or killed as a result. Having to rehash all the details in court can add additional trauma to an already difficult situation, so avoiding this by settling out of court can help make things easier on everyone involved.
More control over outcomes. By settling out of court rather than having a judge or jury decide your case, both parties have more control over the outcome; instead of being at the mercy of someone else’s interpretation or opinion about what happened in your case, you are able to come up with an agreement that works for all sides.
Having an experienced Washington, D.C. bicycle accident attorney on your side can help ensure that all paperwork is filed properly and that all deadlines are met in order for your claim to be processed quickly and efficiently. Contact Lightfoot Law today to schedule a free consultation.