Is Hiring A Lawyer for Your Bicycle Accident Worth It?
If you’re in a bicycle accident, you might wonder if it’s worth it to hire an attorney to help you afterwards.
In the moment, an accident can seem like it’s not that big a deal and maybe you’d rather just move on with your life as quickly as possible. Even if you have some lingering injuries or anxiety after the fact, many people feel like they just have to “get over it” and deal with it on their own.
However, for some, just getting over it and moving on is not so simple. After a few days or weeks, you may discover that you accident is actually continuing to cause problems in your life — injuries that don’t heal, expensive medical bills that pile up, lost productivity at work, or even just fear of getting on your bike again — and you may wonder if hiring an attorney could help you regain some of what you lost by being hit while on your bike.
One of the biggest questions a person will ask when they consider hiring an attorney is this one: is it worth it?
In this post, we’ll help break down exactly what you can expect to gain from a bicycle accident case and how you can tell whether or not it’s worth it for you to pursue your case.
How we assess the value of your claim
From a practical standpoint, there are certain things that your attorney will look at to assess the potential value of your case to you. That is, to help you decide whether or not it’s financially worth it, there are several factors to be explored.
These factors include:
- Your medical diagnosis
- Paid medical expenses
- Amount of treatment received
- If you required surgery
- If you missed work
- Recovery time
- Permanence of your injury
- Permanent scarring (impacted by the location and prominence of the scar)
- Perceived sympathy as a plaintiff
Every case is unique, and the individual details of your accident are what will help your attorney understand your case so they can advise you if it is worth your time to pursue. In general, the more areas in which your life has been affected by your injuries and how seriously it has been affected, the more compensation you are likely to be entitled to.
Of course, there are also factors that can work against you in your case, which can impact the amount that you may be awarded in a settlement or trial:
- delays in medical treatment
- under-treating your injuries
- failure to follow physician recommendations
- receiving an exorbitant amount of treatment relative to your injuries
Why these factors? Because each of them (or some combination of them) can look like “red flags” to insurance companies that you are either exaggerating your injuries or hoping to get a bigger payout than you are actually owed.
Insurance companies do not want to pay you more than they have to; they are for-profit companies and so they want to pay as little as possible. That’s why they are always on alert for people who might be lying or exaggerating the amount of compensation that they truly need.
That’s also why it can be beneficial to talk to an attorney early on about your accident (even if you aren’t sure you want to pursue a case), so you don’t inadvertently do something that might compromise your case later on.
For example, if you don’t take one of your injuries that seriously and don’t get it treated right away, but it does end up becoming a serious condition later on, an insurance company might be hesitant to cover that injury cost in a settlement. “After all,” they’ll ask, “if it was so serious, why didn’t you treat it earlier on? Are you just making it up now to get more money?”
By talking with an attorney, though, you can avoid these kinds of mistakes and also make sure that you uncover every area where you could be owed compensation for your accident. The best way to make sure your case is worth the time and effort involved is to be careful and thorough — and that is what a good attorney does best.
Talking to an attorney once is free, confidential, and does not obligate you to pursue a case, so it is almost always worth it to do if you have any questions at all.
The time and money involved in a bicycle accident case
Hiring an attorney often makes sense if your accident is fairly serious or complex. It is our full time job to go through all the details, negotiate with insurance companies, and handle all the paperwork associated with getting your medical bills and personal suffering compensated for, so you can get on with healing your injuries and living your life.
Of course, it isn’t free to have an attorney do this work for you; in general, you can expect your attorney to pay themselves with a percentage of your settlement amount. There is a financial commitment involved with hiring an attorney, but hiring one can also mean a better settlement and being taken more seriously by the insurance company.
If your injury is less serious or complex, and you don’t want to pay for an attorney, you might be able to handle all the legwork on your own. It’s just a matter of how much time and energy you want to put in yourself to getting your compensation.
If you’re not sure, you can set up a free consultation with an attorney to find out exactly how much work they think your case will be. This is one of the best ways to find out whether or not you want to hire an attorney to help you with your case, since they will be able to look over all the details and give you their perspective — and a first consultation with an attorney should always be free.
Contact Bay Area Bicycle Law to discuss your accident and potential case
To get in touch with Bay Area Bicycle Law about your case and to talk about whether or not it makes sense to pursue a claim, please give us a call at 415-466-8717, or use our contact form to get started.