Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I really need a Lawyer on my case?
Our experience has shown that bike accidents present a unique set of issues and problems that can present serious hurdles to an inexperienced accident victim or even an attorney that is unfamiliar with these types of cases. For example, it is common for police to fail to issue traffic tickets to at-fault drivers that hit cyclists on the grounds that cyclists are “different” than cars or even pedestrians. Insurance companies then use this to argue that it was the cyclist’s fault for being hit. If this sounds familiar – call us immediately.
Both Brian Weiss and Jason Crawford are experienced cyclists who have handled dozens of bike accident cases over the years. Their personal experience with cycling allows them to quickly identify the issues of the case and defuse the most common arguments that insurance companies use to try and say that you, the cyclist, were negligent and contributed to the accident.
Studies by the insurance industry have shown that accident victims who have an experienced accident attorney on their claim receive considerably more than those who are not represented by attorneys, even after paying their attorney’s fees.
On more serious claims, experienced personal injury lawyers often secure exponentially larger settlements for their clients. Basically, not hiring an attorney can cost you tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases.
2. How much is my case worth?
No responsible accident lawyer will be able to tell you up front what your case is worth. If you have spoken with a personal injury lawyer who is giving you a figure before he has had a chance to thoroughly evaluate your claim, you should be concerned that this value is not accurate.
The value of your case depends on your medical injuries, your recovery, any economic losses incurred and the continuing effects that the accident will have on you future life. These factors need to be carefully evaluated and developed before the potential value of a case can be given.
3. Who will pay for my medical care?
In most cases, your medical bills will be paid by your health insurance company. However, these companies have the right to be repaid for these payments out of the proceeds of your settlement. If you did not have any insurance coverage for your medical expenses; we can help you find doctors who will accept payment for their services once you settle your claim.
4. Can I recover even if the motorist never actually hit me?
Yes. Many people are under the misconception that there has to be physical contact between a cyclist and a motor vehicle for the motorist to be liable. This is not true. There are many situations where cyclists are injured when they take evasive action to avoid being hit, and crash as a result. The motorist can still be held liable if their negligence required the cyclist to take the evasive action.
5. How soon after my bicycle accident should I call you?
I recommend that you get an experienced bike accident attorney working on your behalf as soon after an accident as possible. Under no circumstances do we recommend speaking with the at-fault driver’s insurance company before you have had the chance to speak with an experienced bike accident lawyer.
The sooner a lawyer is involved in your case, the better prepared your case will be for settlement. Problems can be either avoided or addressed early on by an experienced accident lawyer and this will increase the eventual value of your case. Remember that you will pay the same amount for an attorney regardless of whether they work on your case for one week or one year. Doesn’t it make more sense to have your lawyer working more on your case rather than less?
6. Does my auto insurance cover accidents when I am on my bike?
Possibly. Two types of auto insurance coverage are important in bike accident cases. First, you may have medical payments coverage available to you under your auto policy that can cover some of your medical expenses. Your auto policy may also offer Uninsured Motorists Coverage (UM/UIM) that can cover your damages when the at-fault driver was uninsured.
Contact me and I can explain the possible insurance coverage to you.
7. The insurance company has already made me an offer. Should I take it?
You should not consider settling any claims until your doctors have released you from their care, at the very earliest. Unfortunately, one of the many tricks insurance companies use to settle claims is to offer to settle for a few hundred or a thousand dollars before the injured party has found out just how hurt they are. We have heard dozens of stories of people who need surgery or have to quit their job after they settled for pennies on the dollar. This is just one of the reasons why insurance companies are so profitable today.
We can get insurance companies to substantially increase the amount of their settlement offer. If you have already received an offer for your injuries, contact me and I will let you know what I think about their offer free of charge. If it is a fair offer, we will tell you.
8. How do I pay your legal fees?
Our firm only handles bike accidents on a contingency fee basis. This means YOU DO NOT OWE ME A LEGAL FEE UNLESS I RECOVER MONEY FOR YOU. I do not ask for any attorney fees upfront. If there is no recovery – there is no attorney fee.
9. How long does it take to settle most bicycle accident and personal injury cases?
It is a common misconception that as soon as you hire a lawyer – we will get you a check. Contrary to the t.v. ads, this is not the way our firm works. We will not even attempt to settle your case until you are done treating and we have a complete picture of all of your damages. In some cases this can take months or even years.
10. Will I have to go to trial?
Most bike accident cases are settled without having to go through a trial.
Our goal is to prepare your case completely before we ever enter into settlement negotiations with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This shows them that we are prepared to go to trial and know exactly what our client’s case is worth. Being well prepared at this stage increases the odds that we will be able to reach a fair settlement value without ever having to file a lawsuit.
However, some cases do require going to a jury trial in order to ensure that your case receives its full value. Generally, those cases which involve larger amounts of damages, or in which it is not clear who is responsible for the accident, have a higher chance of having to enter litigation, at the very least.