Bicycling is a popular and environmentally-friendly way to get around and stay fit, but unfortunately, it can also be dangerous.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 900 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2020, and many more were injured.
Bicycle accidents can result in major injuries, requiring extensive recovery and costly treatments. These injuries might also keep you away from work and impact other aspects of your life. If you are a bicyclist who has been involved in an accident, you may need to hire a bike accident attorney to help you pursue legal action against the at-fault party and get the financial compensation you need to pay for medical bills and other damages, including lost wages and pain and suffering.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to hire a bike accident attorney, including what qualities to look for, how to find a lawyer, and other legal resources for bike accident victims.
Do I Need a Bike Accident Lawyer?
Bike accidents can result in severe injuries that lead to extensive medical bills and long recovery times. Not only do you need to worry about paying for medical bills, but you may also sustain damages in the form of lost wages due to being unable to work.
In such cases, a personal injury attorney can help you pursue legal action to recover damages from the person who caused the accident.
A bike accident lawyer can help you protect your rights, build a case, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court.
To protect your rights
After a bike accident, you may be dealing with injuries, medical bills, and property damage. You may also be in contact with the driver's insurance company, who may try to settle the case quickly and for a low amount.
It is important to remember that insurance companies aim to pay out as little as possible. An experienced lawyer will fight for you and stop insurance companies from taking advantage of you.
By hiring a bike accident attorney, you can ensure that your rights are protected, and that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
To determine liability
In a bike accident, who is at fault may not be immediately apparent. A skilled bike accident attorney can investigate the case, collect evidence, and determine liability. This can be especially important when drivers claim you were at fault for the accident.
To negotiate with insurance companies
Trials can be costly. As a result, it’s often in the best interest of both parties to settle before going to trial.
Your bike accident lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure you receive a fair settlement and can maintain financial stability as you recover from your injuries.
While settlement negotiations don’t require a lawyer, hiring an attorney will give you the best chance of achieving a favorable outcome.
To represent you in court
If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney can take your case to court and represent you during the trial.
A reputable bike accident lawyer will be able to collect evidence and build a strong case on your behalf. They will be able to effectively demonstrate the extent of your injuries and show the jury that the other party’s negligence caused the accident.
Qualities of a Good Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you’ve decided you need a bike accident attorney to help you pursue compensation, it’s important to take your time to find a lawyer that you trust.
It’s important to look for a lawyer with the right qualities to find the best attorney available. Here are a few things to look for:
While you’ll likely find plenty of lawyers with years of experience in personal injury law, that doesn’t mean they’re familiar with cycling laws. To give yourself the best chance at getting the compensation you deserve, you should look for an attorney with experience handling bike accident cases.
Look for an attorney who has experience handling bike accident cases. They should understand the laws related to cycling and be familiar with the tactics used by insurance companies.
Communication skills are an essential quality for a bike accident attorney. You want to look for a lawyer you can trust to keep you in the loop regarding the status of your case.
Your attorney should be able to explain complex legal topics and terms to help you understand what’s going on with your case. The lawyer should also be able to communicate effectively with insurance companies to make negotiations more likely to result in a favorable outcome.
A good bike accident attorney will understand the physical and emotional toll an accident can take on a person. They should be compassionate and work to get you the best possible outcome.
How To Hire a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Before hiring a bike accident lawyer, you should carefully research and compare your options to find the best person to handle your case.
You should consult with multiple attorneys, ask for references, look up reviews, and consider their rates and fees before making a final decision.
Here are some steps to follow when hiring a bike accident attorney:
Start by researching online to find attorneys in your area who specialize in personal injury and bike accident cases.
You should read online reviews to learn more about how they treat their clients and how knowledgeable they are. You can also visit your state bar association’s website to search for a lawyer by name and verify their credentials.
After researching attorneys and narrowing down your list, start scheduling consultations with your top picks.
This will give you the opportunity to ask the lawyer questions about their experience and their opinions regarding your case. You’ll also be able to get a feel for their communication style, making it easier to determine if they’re the right match for you.
One of the most important factors when hiring an attorney is the lawyer’s fees. Pursuing a lawsuit might not seem worth it if you have to empty your bank account first.
The good news is that many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning you only have to pay if you receive a settlement or win your case in court. In these cases, attorneys typically take about 30% of your award if the case is settled before going to court and about 40% if it does make it to court. This is ideal for people who can’t pay attorney’s fees upfront.
Before hiring an attorney, ask about their fees and whether or not they are willing to work on a contingency basis.
When meeting with potential attorneys, you should always ask for references from past clients. Reputable bike accident lawyers will have no issue providing multiple references, allowing you a chance to ask past clients about their experiences with the attorney.
Following up with references will give you the opportunity to learn more about what it’s like to work with an attorney long-term.
Legal Resources for Bike Accident Victims
If you’ve been involved in a bike accident and suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence, it might be necessary to pursue legal action to recover damages and maintain financial stability while you get treatment for your injuries.
There are plenty of online legal resources to help you navigate this process. Here are a few to keep in mind:
State Bar Associations
To start your lawyer search, you can visit your state bar association’s website to find licensed lawyers in your state. You can also search for specific lawyers by name to verify their credentials before hiring them.
The American Bar Association (ABA) has a directory that lists each state bar association. You can also visit the website to learn more about various legal topics, including personal injury law.
The League of American Bicyclists
The League of American Bicyclists is an advocacy organization whose primary focus is to create safer roads, stronger communities, and a more bike-friendly America.
The League’s website has an entire section dedicated to bike laws. Bike accident victims can use this resource to learn more about bike laws in their state, which can help build your case and determine fault after an accident.
Free Legal Answers
Free Legal Answers is a no-cost resource provided by the ABA. This virtual legal advice clinic lets individuals ask questions and get answers from experienced pro bono attorneys.
To start, answer a few questions to see if you qualify for this service. Then you can post questions and ask follow-up questions to get more information about civil legal matters.
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