A bicycle accident can happen at any time, and the results can be tragic. If you did not cause your accident, you might be entitled to financial recovery. You might wonder if “financial recovery” means you have to go to court.
Most of the time, you do not have to go to court to get compensation. The majority of bicycle accident claims settle before they need to go to trial. However, there are situations where going to court is the best decision.
Talking to a bicycle accident lawyer can give you the best insight. A lawyer can examine the details of your case and discuss your best options. To schedule a FREE consultation with John Foy & Associates today, call (404) 400-4000, or contact us online.
What Are Some Reasons You Might Go to Court for a Bicycle Accident?
Most bicycle accident claims settle before going to court. Here are some of the most common reasons for going to trial.
You and the Insurer Cannot Agree to a Settlement
After the accident, your lawyer will help you prepare a personal injury claim. You’ll file your claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The insurance company will respond, often with a lowball settlement.
Your lawyer will try negotiating with the insurer. If all is successful, you’ll reach a fair settlement. But sometimes, insurance companies will refuse to offer reasonable compensation.
If you cannot get a satisfactory settlement offer, you might need to go to court. By filing a lawsuit, you can fight for the compensation you deserve.
Your Injuries Are Severe
Bicycle accidents tend to be serious. Cyclists just don’t have much protection compared to motorists. If a car or truck crashes into you, the damage can be catastrophic.
If you have a lot of personal injury damages, the driver’s insurance might not be enough. You might still have expenses after meeting the policy limits. In that case, you can sue the driver to try and get more.
The Driver Is Uninsured or Underinsured
Most states require drivers to carry auto insurance. In Georgia, the auto insurance minimums are:
- Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person; $50,000 per accident
- Property damage liability: $25,000 per accident
Georgia is also a fault state. When a driver is at fault in an accident, their insurance company is responsible for the damages. When a driver hits you on your bike, you can turn to their insurance company.
But what if the driver does not have insurance? What if they have some coverage but not enough? If there is no insurance to cover your damages, you might need to sue.
Going to court can help you pursue compensation from the driver directly. However, uninsured drivers often have little money or assets. Before deciding to sue, talk it through with a bicycle accident lawyer.
The Insurance Company Denies Your Claim
If the other driver’s insurer denies your claim, contact a bicycle accident lawyer. You could have a legal case for going to court. The insurance company could deny your claim to avoid a settlement.
Is Going to Court for a Bike Accident Common?
Going to court happens, but it’s not the norm for bicycle accidents. Most of the time, victims can settle before going to trial. With that said, each situation is unique. If going to court is the best decision for you, it doesn’t matter what others are doing.
What Happens Before Going to Court After a Bicycle Accident?
A lot can happen before you file a lawsuit. First, you might have opportunities to negotiate a settlement.
If a settlement doesn’t happen, you and your lawyer will prepare for trial. The stages of a lawsuit include:
Insurance companies will usually do whatever they can to avoid a trial. Just preparing for a lawsuit might be enough to scare the insurer into settling. Thankfully, there are opportunities before the court date to negotiate further.
Most of the time, both sides will agree on an out-of-court settlement before trial. If you go all the way to trial and win, the insurance company will have to pay what you are awarded.
Can You Avoid Going to Court After the Accident?
You can take steps to decrease your chances of going to court. You’ll need to build a strong claim so that the insurer is more likely to settle.
Here are some actions you can take:
- Report the bicycle accident to the police immediately.
- Take pictures of your injuries, your bike damage, and the entire crash scene.
- Get medical treatment for your injuries right away.
- Get the contact information of any eyewitnesses.
- Save all evidence of your bicycle accident injuries and damages.
- Talk to an experienced bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible.
- Avoid saying anything around the driver or insurance company that could be used against you later. For example, do not apologize or admit any fault in the crash.
Also, do not accept any money from the insurance company without speaking to your lawyer. If you agree to a settlement, you won’t be able to fight for more. Avoid signing anything or giving any recorded statements. Talk to your lawyer first.
Most of the time, bicycle accident cases do not have to go to court. However, there are exceptions. It will depend on your unique situation, your damages, and more.
Talk to a Bicycle Accident Lawyer for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, we’ll discuss your case and legal options for FREE. The consultation is free of charge, and we do not charge a fee unless we win you compensation.
With over 20 years of experience, we know how to handle the insurers. We are not afraid to “strong-arm” them and fight for your recovery. To schedule a FREE consultation today, call (404) 400-4000, or contact us online.