How Long Does a Bicycle Accident Injury Case Take?
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, there’s a lot that goes on right after the accident. You go to the doctor, you hear from your insurance company, you might hear from the driver’s insurance company, and you start to get medical bills in the mail. No matter how minor your injury, it can be a lot to deal with.
If you have decided to hire a lawyer and get compensated for the injuries and lost productivity you suffered as a result of your accident, one of the biggest questions you might be wondering is: how long is this going to take?
After all, facing large medical bills that you have to pay is pretty scary. You want to get those paid off as quickly as possible, right?
Plus, getting hit by a car is a very traumatic life event. It’s scary, overwhelming, and many accident victims want to put the incident behind them as fast as they can.
Unfortunately, as many people know, the legal process doesn’t always move as fast as the people involved would like. So what can you expect if you decide to pursue a bicycle accident injury case?
Your Case Timeline of Events
In general, most cases take around a year from start to finish.
However, it can be difficult to quote an exact timeline without knowing the extent of your injuries and the details of your accident. Some cases can wrap up in a few months, while others take multiple years to resolve.
There are a few reasons for this:
You’ll want to wait until you are fully healed
Once you successfully settle your claim, you cannot get more money — so you want to make sure that you settle for an amount that will completely cover you. If you haven’t fully healed, it’s possible you may later develop a complication or unhealed injury that could cost you much more than you initially predict.
Getting your records takes a long time
In order to understand your case fully, we need to have your medical records from the medical providers (and in many cases the insurance company won’t be willing to settle until they see the medical records); unfortunately, they are usually in no rush to send them and they are not required by any law to do so quickly. Even if you or your attorney immediately request your records, you can still be waiting up to four months just for the records to be sent over!
Negotiating with the insurance company also takes time
Once your attorney knows how much you will need in order to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and/or any pain or suffering compensation you are entitled to, they will present your case to the insurance company.
Sometimes the insurance company will agree that the case is valid and they will agree to pay the requested amount right away. Sometimes they won’t.
Depending on a few factors — the severity of your injuries, your level of fault for the accident, etc — the insurance company might argue with your attorney’s first claim. For example, if you have soft tissue injuries (like sprained or strained muscles), the insurance company might argue that you don’t actually have those injuries, since they are harder to prove than something obvious like a broken bone.
Additionally, if they believe that you are more at fault for the accident than you claim, they may try to decrease the amount they have to pay.
A good attorney will be prepared for these arguments, and will make every effort to get you the full amount you are owed. However, if the negotiations are difficult or complex, they can take a long time to finally resolve.
Settlement vs. going to trial
At Bay Area Bicycle Law, we have successfully settled hundreds of cases for happy clients. Most of the time, your case will end in a settlement that satisfies your needs, or at least is satisfactory to you. Your attorney will advise you on the pros and cons of every offer, but ultimately the choice to settle is always up to you.
If you are not able to reach a settlement that feels right to you, you do have the option to go to trial. If you pursue this option, this can greatly extend the length of your case. Again, it’s impossible to estimate exactly how long it will take; suffice to say, pursuing a trial can add many months onto your case. However, if it is worth it to you to get a fair result, then it is always up to you.
Do you want to talk about your bicycle case?
When you call Bay Area Bicycle Law, you always speak to an attorney who is an expert in bicycle law. Contact us today for a free consultation and to get advice about your case; we are always ready to talk.