When a large vehicle collides with a bicyclist and causes injuries, it is often assumed that the bicyclist is the victim and the driver is the one at fault. However, this is not always the case and, in some instances, the bicyclist may be the one who was negligent and caused the accident. For this reason, careful investigation should be conducted and evidence should be gathered to support your claims that the driver was at fault in the accident.
If you determine the driver was at fault in the accident, you may wonder how you should go about seeking compensation from the driver. The good news is that bicyclists can make third party claims with the driver’s insurance company, just as other drivers can file claims after accidents between two cars. Bicycle accident insurance claims can be complicated, however, so you should always discuss your situation with an experienced attorney before filing a claim.
As mentioned above, one way to seek financial recovery for your medical bills, lost wages, and other bicycle accident-related losses is to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, an insurance company will not always be willing to offer enough to cover all of your various losses and you may need to seek compensation another way. You can do so by filing a claim for personal injury in court. California law only gives you two years to prepare and file a claim, however, and if you miss that deadline, you lose your right to recovery.
When many people think of cases in court, they think of criminal cases. However, criminal cases are brought by a prosecutor for unlawful behavior and do not include personal injury claims. Instead, your bicycle accident claim will be filed as a separate case in civil court. If there is a coinciding criminal case for a violation of law–such as a DUI–evidence in the criminal case may be helpful in your civil case, as well.
The value of a bicycle accident claim can vary significantly from case to case. The following factors will help determine the value of your case:
An experienced attorney can review the circumstances of your individual case to determine what your claim may be worth.
Just because you filed a claim in court does not mean you will go to trial. In fact, the majority of accident cases are settled through negotiations that happen before trial and out of court. An experienced attorney should seek out the most efficient way to resolve your case in the most favorable way possible.