How Long Does a Bicycle Accident Claim Take?
Riding a bicycle on a trail or through the city can be an enjoyable experience on a warm, sunny day. However, one of the disadvantages of bicycle riding is that cyclists have minimal protection if and when an accident happens.
Except for their helmets, cyclists experience direct exposure to their surrounding environment. Even sturdy, well-made helmets can crack in a forceful collision where the cyclist strikes the ground. Moreover, cyclists may suffer severe and sometimes deadly injuries when they hit the ground in an accident.
Suppose you or someone you love suffered injuries in a bicycle accident that resulted from someone else’s carelessness or negligence. In that case, you may file a bicycle injury claim for damages. The time it takes to resolve your claim will depend upon various factors, including the extent of your injuries and medical treatment and the insurance company you’re dealing with.
One of the most important steps you can take to efficiently resolve your bicycle accident claim is to retain a knowledgeable bicycle accident lawyer to represent you throughout your case. Your lawyer can represent you at every stage of the claim or lawsuit and work to pursue the total monetary damages you deserve.
First, your lawyer can meet with you to discuss the circumstances of your bicycle accident and your medical treatment. Next, if you are eligible, your lawyer can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company and negotiate with the adjuster.
Finally, if the insurance company refuses to offer you the compensation you deserve, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the court system on your behalf and litigate your case to an efficient resolution. Your lawyer will be by your side every step of the way and work to maximize the damages you receive in your personal injury case.
How Do Bicycle Accidents Usually Happen?
Bicycle accidents frequently occur because of negligent motor vehicle drivers. A driver is negligent when they act unreasonably under the circumstances and violate their duty of care to other drivers and cyclists. Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents include road rule violations, intoxicated driving, distracted driving, and road rage.
Motor vehicle drivers are responsible for operating their vehicles safely and carefully at all times. Most importantly, they have a duty to yield the right-of-way to cyclists at the appropriate times. They must also follow all posted speed limits and refrain from tailgating other vehicles including bicycles. When drivers violate traffic laws, they significantly increase their chances of causing a severe bicycle accident.
At other times, bicycle accidents result from intoxicated drivers. Passenger vehicle drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent are legally intoxicated. Drinking and driving can have severe consequences and convicted drunk drivers may incur criminal as well as civil and administrative penalties.
When a driver is under the influence, they may experience blurred vision and limited concentration. Moreover, they may be unable to stop in time to avoid hitting a cyclist or other vehicle in the vicinity.
Distracted driving is another all-too-common cause of bicycle crashes. Drivers may become distracted when they listen to loud music in their vehicle or roughhouse with vehicle passengers. Electronic devices, including cellular phones, tablets, and GPS navigation systems, may also distract drivers from their duties. When drivers fail to observe the road, they may not notice a cyclist in the vicinity, causing a severe crash that dislodges the cyclist from their bike onto the road.
Finally, some bicycle accidents directly result from road rage. Common road rage characteristics include aggressive driving maneuvers, like tailgating, failing to use turn signals at the appropriate times, and aggressively weaving in and out of busy highway traffic. When drivers operate their vehicles in a risky and careless manner, they may inadvertently strike a cyclist and knock them to the ground, causing them to suffer severe and sometimes fatal injuries.
If you suffered injuries in one of these types of bicycle accidents resulting from driver negligence, you have legal options available to you. A skilled bicycle accident lawyer in your area can determine what those options are in your case and help you pursue the monetary damages you need for your accident-related injuries.
Bicycle Accident Injuries
The injuries that bicyclists suffer in serious accidents vary from case to case, depending upon the accident circumstances and whether the cyclist falls off their bike and hits the ground directly. Moreover, the injuries a cyclist suffers will depend upon which body part or parts they strike on the ground, as well as the force of the collision.
When a cyclist strikes their head on the ground, for example, they may sustain a severe traumatic head or brain injury, such as a concussion. Moreover, if they strike their back or neck on the ground, they may suffer a severe spinal cord injury or some type of full or partial paralysis.
Other common injuries that bicycle accident victims suffer include internal organ damage, fractures, broken bones, and soft tissue injuries.
As soon as possible after your bicycle accident, you should follow up at a local urgent care facility or hospital emergency room for medical treatment. While you are there, the medical provider on duty can order necessary imaging studies, like CAT scans, MRIs, and X-rays. They can then render an accurate medical diagnosis and make recommendations for your follow-up care and treatment.
Seeking same-day medical treatment is extremely important after a bicycle accident, even if your symptoms are minimal. That is because even minor injuries can become much more severe when left untreated. Moreover, if the at-fault party’s insurance company discovers that you significantly delayed medical treatment following your bicycle accident, they will become skeptical about the seriousness of your injuries.
While you focus your attention on making a full recovery, a bicycle accident attorney in your area can begin advocating for you. Specifically, your lawyer can start gathering up your medical records and bills, lost wage documentation, and other potential evidence to use in your personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Once your medical treatment is complete, your lawyer can submit a demand package to the insurance company on your behalf and begin negotiating the fair compensation you deserve for your serious injuries.
Filing a Bicycle Accident Claim With the Insurance Company
Bicycle accident claims can be extremely tedious. Therefore, it is in your best interest to have a knowledgeable bicycle accident attorney on board and represent you throughout your entire case.
The claims-filing process begins when your lawyer submits a settlement demand letter, complete with a demand package, to the insurance company adjuster handling your claim. In most instances, your lawyer will submit the demand package to the insurance company for the at-fault driver who caused your bicycle accident.
In addition to medical records and bills, a demand package will include:
A settlement demand letter.
Lost earnings statement.
Photographs of injuries.
Pictures of the accident scene.
Property damage photographs.
A personal statement.
The insurance company will then review these documents and decide whether to accept fault for your accident. If the insurance company accepts fault, the adjuster might make an initial settlement offer. Since initial settlement offers are typically far below the actual value of a claim, your lawyer will likely need to negotiate with the adjuster several times to obtain a better offer.
If the adjuster refuses to increase their offer significantly, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the court system and begin litigating your case. Once the case is in litigation, your lawyer may still continue settlement negotiations with the adjuster, and your case can resolve at any point up until the trial date.
How Long Will It Take to Settle or Litigate My Bicycle Accident Claim?
The amount of time it takes to settle or litigate a bicycle accident claim depends upon various factors, including the extent of your injuries and medical treatment, whether or not the insurance company disputes liability in your case, the experts involved, and the insurance company with whom you’re dealing.
Generally speaking, the more significant your injuries, the longer it will take you to complete your medical treatment. In most cases, settlement negotiations cannot begin until your medical treatment is complete and your lawyer has obtained all of the necessary medical documentation, including medical records and bills.
Another factor influencing the length of a bicycle accident claim is whether or not the insurance company disputes fault for your accident. When that happens, your lawyer and the insurance company may need to retain an accident reconstructionist or other experts who can review the evidence, speak with eyewitnesses, and piece together exactly how the bicycle accident occurred and who likely caused it.
Dealing with experts can take a significant amount of time since the expert will likely need to perform an investigation and draft a detailed report. Moreover, the lawyers may want to take the experts’ depositions during the discovery phase of litigation, which can also take significant time.
Liability disputes may also add time to your case because the insurance company is less likely to enter into meaningful settlement negotiations under those circumstances. In fact, many disputed liability cases must go to a jury trial, where the jury will decide all disputed issues.
Finally, the insurance company and the adjuster with whom you’re dealing may make a bicycle accident claim longer or shorter. Some insurance companies and adjusters are more generous with settlement negotiations, while others are far stingier.
In the latter case, you may need to wait a significant time for the settlement adjuster to fully evaluate your claim and offer sufficient monetary compensation worth accepting. If that fair offer is not forthcoming, your lawyer must file a lawsuit in the court system, which may further delay your case.
One crucial step you can take to expedite your claim or lawsuit is to retain a knowledgeable bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer will know all the tricks and tactics insurance companies and their adjusters often use to undermine personal injury claims. Your lawyer can efficiently negotiate with adjusters. If a fair settlement offer is not forthcoming, promptly file a lawsuit in the court system and litigate your case to a resolution.
Filing a Timely Bicycle Accident Claim or Lawsuit
Victims of bicycle accidents only have a limited time to file a claim or lawsuit seeking monetary damages. In all personal injury claims, accident victims only have two years from the date of their accident to file suit. If they file suit even one day after the deadline expires, they will no longer be eligible to recover monetary compensation for their injuries.
Therefore, you should retain an experienced bicycle accident attorney to represent you and file a lawsuit on your behalf quickly. Once the suit is pending in the court system, your lawyer may continue settlement negotiations with the insurance company and begin navigating your case to a prompt conclusion.
Talk to an Experienced Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
If you suffered injuries in a recent bicycle accident, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can be an invaluable help when it comes to maximizing your monetary recovery.
Bicycle accident victims may be eligible to recover monetary compensation for their lost earnings, physical pain and suffering, mental distress, inconvenience, loss of life enjoyment, permanent disability, and loss of the ability to use a body part.
First, your lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine your claim-filing eligibility. Your lawyer can then file a prompt claim with the appropriate insurance company on your behalf and aggressively negotiate with the adjuster.
If favorable settlement compensation is not forthcoming, your lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf, litigate your case, and represent you at all courtroom proceedings. Your attorney will do everything they can to maximize the settlement compensation, jury verdict, or arbitration award you receive for your bicycle accident injuries.
Never wait to reach out for a free case evaluation to start protecting your rights as an injured cyclist.
David Abels has carved a niche for himself in the personal injury law sector, dedicating a substantial part of his career since 1997 to representing victims of various accidents. With a law practice that spans over two decades, his expertise has been consistently recognized within the legal community.