Bicycle accidents are a common occurrence on the roads, yet when they happen to you or your loved ones it can be an overwhelming experience. Knowing what steps to take after the accident can help you navigate the process of filing a bicycle accident claim and get you back on your feet again. In this article, we will discuss how to file a bicycle accident claim and provide essential tips for navigating the filing process.
1. Research and find a qualified attorney
When searching for an attorney, ask your family and friends for referrals, or check online reviews. You can also contact the local lawyer’s referral service or your state bar association for possible attorneys.
It’s important to find an attorney who is familiar with biking laws in your state or the jurisdiction where the accident occurred. Make sure that the lawyer has experience litigating bicycle accident cases and recovers substantial settlements or verdicts in bicycle-related injury claims.
When you have selected several lawyers to meet with, ask them questions specific to your case that will help you decide who best meets your needs. Ask about:
- their legal experience and focus area.
- any awards they have received.
- their fees and retainer agreement terms.
- what outcomes were achieved by past clients similar to yours?
- their track record of successes and losses in cases like yours.
- the law office’s organizational structures such as administrative staff approval processes needed before moving forward with legal action.
To cut to the chase, you can find reliable legal assistance at injured.ca
2. Know your rights as a cyclist
As a cyclist, it is important to know your legal rights so you can protect yourself in the event of an accident. While each state has its own laws regarding the operation and use of bicycles, there are some basic tips you should know before filing a bicycle accident claim.
In most states, cyclists have a duty to obey all applicable traffic laws, such as speed limits, stop signs, and red lights. They also have the same rights as automobile drivers when it comes to using turn signals and obeying traffic signals when turning or crossing intersections. However, cyclists do not always have the right-of-way when crossing an intersection – in some states, pedestrians always have the right-of-way in crosswalks.
In addition to having duties similar to other motorists on the roadways, cyclists must take extra safety precautions. This includes wearing visible clothing at night or during low-light conditions, such as reflective gear or flashing lights. Other precautions may include wearing a bike helmet that conforms with federal standards as well as ensuring that brakes are in proper working condition before operating a bicycle on public roadways.
3. Take photos of the accident scene
After you’ve reported the accident to the police and medical professionals, it is important to document the accident scene as much as possible. Taking photos of the damage on both your bicycle and any other vehicles involved can be a key piece of evidence in establishing who was at fault. You should also take photos of the road conditions, any skid marks left by vehicles, and the direction of your bicycle if it was pushed or totaled.
Additionally, store any clothing or accessories that may have been damaged or torn in the accident so they can be presented as evidence if needed. Once you have photographed all relevant details, make sure you make copies for yourself and keep all originals at home.
4. Obtain witness statements
This includes any statements from the person who caused the collision as well as any independent witnesses who may have noticed or heard something related to the event. If available, seek statements also from any responding law enforcement personnel who attended during and/or soon after the incident.
Witness statements provide invaluable evidence that can provide critical information and details which support a crash victim’s claims. Such evidence should include location, time, the direction of travel, the status of roadways affected, and the speed of vehicles at the time of impact. Witnesses can attest to witnessing exactly what they observed at the scene which can be crucial and helpful for a burn victim’s case.
To ensure that your bike accident claim is properly documented for potential review by an insurance company or court, obtain written accounts from all available principles; this could include drivers involved in the crash along with third-party witnesses – both motorists and non-motorists such as pedestrians or bystander cyclists – who were present in close proximity to event when it happened.
5. File your claim in the appropriate court
Once you have gathered all the necessary information, the next step is to file your claim in the appropriate court. Depending on where you live, this may be either a small claims court or a civil court. When filing your claim in a small claims court, you will not typically be able to recover damages for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering.
When making your claim in civil court, you should also be aware that there may be additional legal procedures and paperwork involved when dealing with larger amounts of compensation required for more serious injuries or damages related to the accident. Again, it is important to make sure you are familiar with the laws surrounding bicycle accidents in order to properly file your claim and ensure that you receive fair compensation for those damages incurred.
6. Be aware of common insurance tactics
Many insurance companies will request medical records from before the incident in order to limit their responsibility for covering your injuries. If you have pre-existing conditions, you may be more susceptible to this tactic. It’s also important to remember that insurers often undervalue injury claims in order to save money. Therefore, it is essential that you value the claim high enough and demand payment accordingly.
Insurers also may offer fast settlement payments as an incentive to get victims to accept a far lower amount than they are owed. Be sure to know your rights and don’t sign any documents or agreements without consulting with an attorney first. Similarly, if the insurer requests access to all health records since childhood, they are likely fishing for dirt in order to discredit your case – don’t give it away!
In some states, failure-to-settle laws exist which penalize insurers if they refuse acceptable claims or engage in bad faith practices such as dissuading victims from obtaining legal representation during negotiations.
Filing a bicycle accident claim can be a confusing and intimidating process. But by understanding the steps involved, knowing your rights, and taking action quickly, you can ensure that your interests are protected and receive the compensation you are owed. Don’t try to navigate this alone; there are excellent resources available to help you understand what is required of you. With the right information and understanding, you can make the filing process go smoother and get back on your bike again in no time.