What to Expect in a Bicycle Injury Case
Bicyclists often suffer such severe injuries in collisions that their medical bills can be significant. These victims have no protection from oncoming vehicles, other than thin bicycle helmets. Ironically, according to some research, bicycle helmets might do more harm than good. They give both riders and tortfeasors (negligent drivers) a false sense of security. Bicycle crash injuries can include nerve injuries, broken bones, and head injuries.
Compensation is available for these injuries, but the litigation process is often long and frustrating, and insurance company lawyers use legal loopholes to reduce or deny compensation. A Seattle personal injury lawyer shepherds your case through this complex process. Furthermore, an attorney stands toe-to-toe against the big insurance companies and demands maximum compensation for your serious injuries.
Insurance companies often dispute liability. Various defenses, such as comparative fault, could apply in these cases. Comparative fault essentially shifts blame for an accident onto the victim and away from the tortfeasor. So, the victim could receive less compensation or even no compensation, even if the tortfeasor was clearly at fault for the wreck.
Usually, damages are uncertain until medical treatment is at least substantially complete. The medical treatment process, which includes physical therapy, is usually quite long and often isn’t over for several months. If a case settles before a doctor determines a reasonable sum for future medical expenses, victims might not be fully compensated for their injuries.
The Legal Process
If the parties are unable to settle a claim, the victim’s attorney files a lawsuit. The legal process usually includes discovery. During this information exchange process, both sides must put all their cards face up on the table. Discovery gives each side a clear idea of the strength of its claims and defenses.
Some cases settle about the time discovery ends. Personal injury lawyers don’t charge any upfront legal fees, but insurance defense lawyers often charge at least $500 an hour. As their legal expenses mount, many insurance companies pressure their lawyers to settle cases.
Resolving a Bicycle Crash Claim
If a case hasn’t settled after discovery, the parties hire a mediator, who is usually an unaffiliated Seattle personal injury lawyer, to try to settle the claim..
Mediators familiarize themselves with the facts of a case and then preside over a negotiation session. At this session, both sides have a duty to negotiate in good faith. Sometimes insurance company lawyers make low-ball offers or just go through the motions. But during mediation, insurance companies do often make viable settlement offers and give in on issues like liability and damages, if that’s what it takes to settle a case.
Mostly because of the good faith negotiation duty, personal injury mediation in Washington is about 90 percent successful.
Work With a Diligent King County Lawyer
Bicycle crash victims may be entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Seattle, contact the Emerald Law Group.