What Does a Lawyer Do for You in a Bicycle Collision Case?
As the only firm in San Francisco that exclusively represents cyclists, we talk to people who have been in bicycle collisions in the Bay Area every day to help them understand their rights and their options after an accident. One of the biggest questions we get asked by new clients is, “What exactly does hiring a lawyer for my collision case mean?”.
In this post, we’ll outline exactly what we do as lawyers to help win bicycle collision cases in San Francisco.
The main benefit of hiring a lawyer for your collision case
The short answer to what we do as lawyers is: we make things easier. It’s our job to take care of all the stuff that is time-consuming or difficult for the average person to do (especially if that person is also recovering from a serious accident, on top of working, taking care of family, etc). That means we do things like paperwork, phone calls to insurance companies, requesting documents, and much more.
It’s also our job to know the process of running a case inside and out, so that absolutely no stone gets left unturned and no mistakes get made. We’ve done this hundreds of times; you haven’t. Clients hire lawyers in collision cases to make sure everything possible gets done, and gets done right.
As our client, you are our responsibility. It’s our ethical obligation to do everything we can for you to get you what you are owed, and we don’t get paid unless you do.
What a lawyer does in your collision case
Every bicycle collision case is different, so it’s not possible to predict everything a lawyer might do to help you win your case. However, there are some things we do in almost every single case that you can expect to see, including:
– Interviewing witnesses. We’ll talk to anyone who saw the accident and make sure that their story is included in the police report, and compile all statements to make the strongest possible case for your claims. Surprisingly, traffic collision reports are not admissible in California courts! So it is crucial to get your own witness affidavits that comply with the proper legal format for use in court.
– Obtaining a copy of the traffic collision report. This document is critical to your case; although it is not usable in court, it will influence more than anything how the insurance adjuster assigned to your case views your claim. We’ll do everything legally allowed to make sure it aligns with the accurate version of how the collision occurred.
– Visiting the accident scene. No detail is too small to look into, so we will inspect the accident scene to see what we can learn about the circumstances of the area that could have had an impact on your accident.
– Reviewing applicable law and case law. We are experts in bicycle law and the laws governing the actions of motor vehicle drivers interacting with cyclists. In addition, we are experts on how the complicated health, liability, auto, and other insurance laws apply to bicycle crashes, and we apply our specialized knowledge to find the most meaningful precedents and laws that will work in your favor to win the case and obtain the fair compensation that you need.
– Ordering and summarizing medical records. Getting medical records can take a very long time (since insurance companies and hospitals don’t have any incentive to send them in a timely manner), so this is one of the first things we do after taking on a new client.
– Ordering and calculating medical bills. We will help you keep track of all of your bills and paperwork in order so that you know exactly how much you are owed in your case.
– Hiring an investigator to find the driver’s policy limits or other information relevant to your particular case. We can use resources to look into key information that can affect the outcome of your case.
– Communicating with the insurance company. We have handled hundreds of cases, and know every trick that the insurance companies will try to pull in order to avoid paying your claim. We know how to get the information and answers that you need, and can negotiate effectively on your behalf.
– Preparing a settlement demand. Once we know exactly how much you have paid in medical bills, as well as how much you are owed for lost productivity and other losses, we prepare your case for presentation to the insurance company in the most convincing manner possible.
– Overseeing settlement negotiations. Part of being a good lawyer is being able to negotiate effectively. We have the experience and skills to make sure you get what you are owed, even when the insurance company counters our original demand.
– Guaranteeing the contractual validity of any documents signed in resolving your claim. As legal experts, we will go over every document in your case to make sure that there are no traps, issues, or unanswered questions that could cause problems later.
– Distributing the settlement funds to you and any lien holders. Settlement payments are sent to your attorney, who then distributes the money to you and to any entities who are owed money for your medical care or other costs. Often the process of calculating the appropriate distribution and distributing the settlement funds to all the necessary parties can be extremely complicated and can even open you up to legal liability if not handled correctly.
– Negotiating lien reductions with your health insurance or medical providers in order to guarantee that you keep as much of your settlement as possible. Medical bills are expensive, and the costs you owe for your treatment will be taken from your settlement; however, we will do our best to ensure that you don’t pay more than you have to. In many cases, there is legal precedent that supports a substantial discount to the cyclist at this point in the case; we are experts in this precedent.
The final, and most important thing a lawyer does in your case, is communicating with you throughout the process. While it’s our job to help make things easier by taking the hard work off your plate, we won’t ever make a decision that will impact your case without your input — and the final decision for how to settle your case is completely up to you.
Call Bay Area Bicycle Law for your San Francisco bicycle collision case today!
Get in touch with our team of bicycle law specialists today, and talk to a lawyer about your case for free. Call 415-466-8717, or fill out our contact form, to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.