What To Do When You Hire a Bike Collision Lawyer in San Francisco
Many people don’t know what to do next after they’ve been in a bicycle accident.
If you’ve been in a bicycle collision in the Bay Area, of course we always hope that you will contact Bay Area Bicycle Law for a free consultation with a lawyer to help you assess your situation and talk about how to get the best possible outcome for any injuries or damage you suffered due to your accident.
However, many people wonder if talking to a lawyer about their collision is actually worth their time to do. They wonder if it will be expensive, time-consuming, or even harder than just dealing with the situation on their own.
Our answer is: having a consultation with a lawyer is almost always worth it. Even if you don’t proceed with a case or hire an attorney, you will gain valuable information about your situation from an expert. And if you do decide to pursue a case, you will have an experienced lawyer on your side helping you get the best possible results.
If you’ve been in a bicycle collision, don’t sit at home wondering if you should bother to call. Set up a free consultation to talk about next steps. If you decide to move forward, here is what you can expect from hiring a bicycle collision lawyer for your case.
The first step to hiring a lawyer for your collision case is to have a free consultation.
Research lawyers in your area, and keep your eyes open for lawyers who specialize in bicycle collision cases since they will have the necessary depth of specific knowledge that you will need for your case. In your consultation, be prepared to ask each attorney you interview a few questions about their experience with cases like yours so you can get a sense of their experience and skill level. You can even ask for references to past clients.
You should bring as much information as possible to your free consultation. If you’ve kept a post-accident diary, bring that. Bring any medical records, evidence from the scene, or police reports that you have as well. No detail is too small for your lawyer!
This meeting is completely confidential, so it is in your best interest to be as honest as possible right away. Even if you don’t hire a lawyer for your collision case, they cannot reveal information you share with them and they will be able to give you the best possible perspective and advice on your case when they have the complete story.
We wrote a comprehensive guide to interviewing a lawyer for your case on our blog, which you can read here for more details.
Deciding if hiring a collision lawyer is worth it
If you decide to hire a lawyer to help with your collision case, you will start out by signing documents with them agreeing to hire them as your representation and agreeing to a fee arrangement.
In general, your lawyer’s fee agreement will entitle them to a percentage of your total settlement if you win the case. That means, whether you win or lose your case, you are not required to pay your lawyer out of pocket.
Your lawyer can advise you on the strength of your case (in other words, how likely you are to win a settlement) and how much you can expect the settlement to be worth. If the payout would be significant, it tends to be worth it to pay part of the settlement to a lawyer who will work on your behalf over the long negotiation process to ensure you win the maximum amount to which you are entitled.
If your injuries are not costly or significantly affecting your lifestyle, your settlement will likely be smaller and so it is up to you if you want to bring on a lawyer to help, or if handling the headaches of dealing with the insurance companies yourself is worth it to you to get the full settlement amount for yourself.
After you hire a lawyer for your bicycle collision
When you hire a lawyer to represent you in your collision case, they will take over handling the stressful details of your case and begin working with insurance companies on your behalf.
They will start by ordering medical records and contacting the insurance companies for you so that they stop contacting you directly. They can help you create a strategy for paying your medical bills or delaying payment, and they will investigate the maximum possible settlement that they can get for you based on the driver’s insurance policy and the circumstances of your collision.
Because of the complex systems involved, these kinds of cases typically take — in a best case scenario — a minimum of 4 months to resolve. However, most cases will last a year or more before you see a settlement due to the many steps involved and the insurance companies’ lack of interest in paying you (they will try many tactics to avoid it, which all take time to resolve).
When your lawyer begins negotiating with the insurance company for a settlement, they will go back and forth until they have reached what they think could be an acceptable offer. Your lawyer will give you the information and advise you on whether the offer is a good deal for you or not; however, the decision to take the settlement or pursue further legal action (taking the case to court in front of a jury) is always your choice alone.
If you don’t get a settlement offer that feels fair or acceptable to you, your lawyer can help you take the driver to court to get their insurance company to pay you what you feel you are owed.
Call a lawyer if you are ever in a collision in San Francisco
A conversation with a lawyer about your case is free, and you just might learn that a lawyer could help you get back on your feet with what you deserve. If you need a collision lawyer in San Francisco, call Bay Area Bicycle Law today and see how we can help.