How to File a Bicycle Accident Claim and What to Expect
April 7, 2023
According to the National Safety Council, 1260 bicycle accident fatalities in 2020 were preventable. Protect your health and legal rights if you've been in a bicycle accident. Yet the process can be complex--from collecting evidence to negotiating with insurers. Here's a roadmap to follow when filing a claim.
Step #1: Collect the Evidence
The claiming process may be much easier if you have documented evidence. Parties such as the insurance company or the person who hit may deny causing the accident. Yet you may have injuries that limit your ability to gather evidence. In such cases, allow bystanders, the police, or a friend to take photographs.
After receiving medical attention, start collecting witness statements. The police may have some, but it doesn't hurt to have your copy. Please don't throw away your medical bills and receipts--they're evidence.
Step #2: Inform All the Involved Parties
Once you have gathered the evidence, it's time to let the involved parties know. It's advisable to have a personal injury lawyer along with your claim process. If you're in Macon, check out BuckheadLawGroup.com for a bicycle accident attorney. Your attorney will help you notify relevant parties on your behalf.
Your attorney will also write a demand letter to the driver's insurance company. A demand letter is a formal written request asking another party to compensate for an action. The letter is the initial negotiation tool. It can lead to a settlement or similar legal action.
Step #3: Negotiate a Settlement
You should have a claim value in mind when going to a negotiation meeting. Start with your current and expected medical expenses, including rehabilitation. If the bicycle accident has caused you to miss work, factor it in when determining the value of your claim.
You must present your documented evidence in the negotiation meeting. That's why it's essential to have a lawyer by your side. They'll present your facts on your behalf and negotiate a settlement. Note that once you accept an offer, you give up your right to take any more legal action.
Step #4: If Negotiations Fail File a Lawsuit
The majority of bicycle accident cases end in settlements. A small percentage goes to trial. One Bureau of Statistics report shows that only 3-4% of personal injury trials go to trial. Yet, this should not discourage you from your legal right to go to trial. If you feel your negotiation efforts were unfruitful, you have every right to go to trial.
Your bicycle accident attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf. You have less control over the outcome of a trial since a judge will have the final say. But, you could get the expected amount if you prove beyond doubt you deserve the compensation. If you win, it's best to take precautions so you're not an accident victim again.
The bicycle claim filing process may seem daunting. Yet with the help of an empathetic and qualified attorney, you can get the compensation you need. Maintain an open mind to either do a settlement or go to trial, and don't hesitate to practice your legal rights.
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