Cyclists face a unique risk compared to other vehicles on the road. They are almost invisible to drivers of motor vehicles. Most drivers are not used to sharing the road with bicycles. In fact, some think they belong on the sidewalk and not in their way.
Without the protection of 3,000 pounds of metal, seatbelts and air bags, cyclists face very serious injuries when they collide with a car or truck.
Why are bicycle accidents different?
Bicyclists are completely unprotected. There is no cabin, seatbelt restraint systems, front airbags, side airbags, bumpers, or headrests to protect you. So if you are struck while riding a bike, chances are you will suffer severe injuries. Bicyclists face greater risks of injury and death than occupants of motor vehicles.
What to do after a bicycle accident
After a bicycle accident these are the steps you need to take:
- Call the police. In the off chance you are reading this immediately after an accident, call the police and wait for them to arrive. Be sure to report any injuries. Even minor injuries may later turn into major ones.
- Gather driver and witness information.
- As soon as possible after the accident, write everything down. What happened, how it happened, the weather, the traffic conditions, the road conditions, everything you can remember.
- As soon as possible, go see a doctor if you’re not taken to the Emergency Room via ambulance. See your primary care physician/family doctor.
- Preserve as much evidence as possible.
- Don’t talk to the insurance adjusters if they call you. It serves you no purpose, only theirs.
- Document your injuries, and your daily struggles with them. Be as specific as possible. If your shoulder hurts when brushing your teeth, then write it down. These will be very important later in your case.
Bicycle accident insurance claims
Hopefully the driver of the vehicle that hit you, is insured. But even if they were insured, it does not mean you will have an easy time filing and settling an insurance claim. The insurance companies are in business to make money. The best way for them to make money is to take premiums from their insureds, and to not pay out any money for claims. So they will try to pay you as little as possible.
How long does a bicycle accident case take?
A typical bicycle accident case in California can take a few months to several years. The answer isn’t easy. Simple cases where there are injuries which are treated quickly can be settled in a short amount of time.
The most important requirement is that the medical treatment be completed before settlement. You might not be 100% healed or recovered, but once you have reached a stable condition then settlement talks can begin.
If there are significant injuries, such as fractures, herniated discs, or other injuries requiring surgery, then the case may take longer. If the insurance companies are being unreasonable, expect much further delays–possibly a year or up to three years. A lawsuit will be filed, but settlement talks can still continue after the lawsuit has been filed.
Maximizing the value of your bicycle accident case
If you are injured through someone else’s own careless acts, bad behavior or negligence, they owe you monetary compensation for those injuries. If it’s their fault and they caused the crash, you are entitled to monetary compensation if they caused you harm.
This is because they were “negligent.” They are responsible for any injuries they caused by their lack of ordinary care and skill.
Why you should talk to an attorney right away
Consultations are free. The longer you wait to see an attorney, the more risk you face in that the insurance carrier does not think you are serious and the value of your case declines. If you do not ask the right questions, the insurance carrier sees you as an easy target and they assign a lower reserve to your case thus reducing the value of your case in the long run.
Since 1992, here at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC we will advise you of your rights, help preserve evidence, ensure you are receiving the required medical treatment for your injuries on time, and hold the insurance carrier accountable for its insured’s negligence by getting you the highest and best negotiated settlement.
However, when settlement or negotiation is not enough, we will take your case to a jury trial to maximize your recovery. The Consultation is free and you don’t pay anything until we win!
We have two convenient North Bay locations; one in Santa Rosa and the other in San Rafael, CA.
Call us today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 and find out how we will FIGHT For YOU!