Were you hit while riding your bicycle? If you’re in San Jose, you can sue! Here’s how a bike accident settlement works and what you should expect.
In 2016, 18,477 bike accidents that injured the cyclist involved were reported. And there were probably many more that weren’t reported at all because the cyclist thought the injuries were too minor.
If you’ve been in an accident, no matter how minor it may seem, you might be entitled to financial compensation.
When a cyclist gets hit by a car or another vehicle on the road, a bike accident settlement can help make up for the losses. Even if you think your accident was too small, it’s worthwhile to try this option.
Wondering how a bike accident settlement works, and what you should prepare for? Let us break down everything you need to know — read on to learn what happens next.
What is a Bike Accident Settlement?
A bike accident settlement is the result of a legal case to help you get compensated for any losses due to the accident.
These settlements give you money in exchange for “damages,” which is another term for your losses. They can include the cost of medical issues, the damage to your bike or other property, lost wages due to missing work, and more.
Some damages are economic, which are easy to calculate because they’re measured in dollars. For example, economic damages include the amount of money you paid for medical care after the accident or the value of the damage to your bike.
Other damages don’t have a fixed monetary value.
The legal process leading up to the settlement will help you figure out the value of those damages. Your injuries and recovery process might have given you invisible problems like anxiety, or affecting your ability to work. These are examples of non-economic damages.
In the bike accident settlement process, you’ll work with an attorney to figure out the value of your damages, and how to get the compensation you need. Now, let’s take a closer look at how the process works.
The Step-by-Step Process After a Bike Accident
As soon as the accident occurs, it’s a good idea to start thinking about a settlement. Here are the steps you should take after the accident.
If your accident already happened and you missed some of these steps, you might still be able to get a settlement — contact a lawyer as soon as possible if this is the case.
1. Document the Scene
If your accident was minor and you can gather information, the first thing you need to do is get the information you need before leaving the scene.
Start by using your phone to take pictures of the accident. Photograph the vehicle, your bike, yourself, and any other possible evidence of damage. Save your clothes, especially if they show any signs of damage.
If there were witnesses, get their names and contact information, too.
2. Make a Police Report
You’ll also need to report the accident to the police. However, watch your words when talking to police officers. Don’t say anything that would make it sound like the accident was your fault.
3. Get Medical Care
In some accidents, this will need to be your first step. And even in minor accidents, you might want to request medical care before you start documenting the scene. Even though your injuries might not feel serious, there might be more to them than you realize at first, so get care even if you don’t think you need it.
Waiting to get treatment can also affect your settlement. If you wait until your symptoms show up later, it will be hard to prove that your medical issues are a direct result of the accident. Seek care right away so you won’t have unexpected medical problems later on.
4. Be Careful Who You Speak To
In addition to police officers, there are a lot of other people who you’ll need to speak to with caution — or not at all.
It’s a good idea to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Look for one who has experience with bike settlements, so they’ll know the ins and outs of the situation.
Other than your lawyer, avoid talking to anyone about the accident. The insurance adjuster for the driver who hit you will contact you and ask for a statement. However, you’re not required to give one, and it’s actually best if you don’t.
Anything you say can be recorded and used against you. Confine talking about the accident to conversations between you and your lawyer. Anyone else who asks for information about it probably doesn’t have your best interests in mind.
5. File a Lawsuit
Your lawyer will file the lawsuit for you after they’ve collected all the information they need. You won’t need to do anything except provide your lawyer with the necessary information.
After the lawsuit’s been filed, every aspect of your case gets examined in something called the “discovery process.” This might include gathering statements from witnesses, reviewing medical records, and evaluating your financial losses.
6. Get Settlement Offer
After this process is finished, you’ll typically get a settlement offer. Sometimes, your lawyer will have to make a settlement demand on your behalf instead.
When the settlement is agreed on, you’ll get the terms in writing and filed with the court. But if you and the defendant (the person who caused the accident) can’t agree on a settlement, the case will go to trial.
At trial, your lawyer will have to present your case and prove that you deserve the settlement. But most of the time, a bike accident case will get settled without this extra step.
How to Find the Right Lawyer for You
Getting the bike accident settlement you need often depends on the lawyer you have. You’ll need a lawyer who’s experienced with these cases. Most of the time, this means getting a personal injury lawyer.
Do you need a personal injury lawyer in San Jose? Don’t wait — call anytime to get the settlement process started!