Ideally, your bicycle accident settlement should cover all of your damages. Each case is unique, so how much you should settle for depends on your costs.
Accident settlements can range from thousands of dollars to hundreds or thousands of dollars or more. The best way to know what you deserve is by talking to an attorney. A bicycle accident lawyer can help you understand how a fair settlement looks.
We recommend getting a lawyer as soon as possible. Without an attorney, you are not doing yourself any favors. Your lawyer will know how to fight for what you deserve. To get a FREE consultation, call John Foy & Associates today at (404) 400-4000, or contact us online.
How Can You Calculate a Bicycle Accident Settlement?
The value of your claim depends on factors like:
- Your damages
- Your percentage of fault
- Settlement negotiations
It’s best to have a bicycle accident lawyer evaluate your case. Bicyclists hurt in car accidents often have serious injuries. You’ll have damages like medical bills, lost wages, bike damage, and more. A lawyer can determine the full extent of your costs.
Special vs. General Damages
You’ll need to account for both types of damages. Special damages — or economic damages — have a set dollar amount. Special damages include:
- Doctor bills
- Hospital bills
- Prescription medications
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Bicycle repairs or replacement
You can calculate your special damages through bills, receipts, and more. You’ll need to save these documents to include in your injury claim. Special damages are relatively easy to calculate.
General damages are not as straightforward. Your general — or non-economic — costs can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Unlike special damages, general damages do not have a set value. There are no bills or receipts you can provide for pain and suffering. A bicycle accident lawyer can determine how much these losses are worth.
The total value of your damages will determine what your settlement should be. This can take time to figure out. For example, you’ll want to complete your medical treatment fully before filing your claim. Otherwise, you could have future medical expenses not covered by the settlement.
Your settlement will also depend on fault. If the other party was entirely at fault, they are completely responsible for your damages. However, sometimes more than one party is at fault.
If you hold partial fault in the accident, that could reduce your settlement. You can still recover compensation in Georgia if you are less than 50% at fault (Georgia Code Section 51-12-33).
The insurance company might try to blame you for the accident to reduce their responsibility. This is just another reason to hire a lawyer. Your lawyer can make sure you are not blamed for an accident you didn’t cause. They’ll also protect you from settling for less than you deserve.
Negotiating a Settlement
After you file your claim, the insurance company will probably send a lowball offer. The insurer will also look for ways to pay you much less. You will likely need to negotiate for a fair settlement.
A bicycle accident lawyer can negotiate with the insurer for you. They will fight to get a settlement offer that actually covers your damages. Thankfully, insurance companies are often more likely to negotiate if you have a lawyer.
All of the above factors help determine what you should settle for after an accident. Every crash is different, so it will depend on the details of your case.
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How Can You Pursue the Fullest Settlement Possible?
Besides addressing the above factors, here are some other ways you can strengthen your claim:
- Calling the police right after your accident and getting a copy of the crash report
- Getting contact information from any eyewitnesses
- Seeing a doctor as soon as possible after the crash
- Saving all of your medical bills, receipts, and other documentation
- Waiting until you talk to a lawyer to repair your bicycle or other property
When you first meet with your lawyer, provide them with all of the information. They can help you research and gather additional evidence. The more evidence you have, the better you’ll be able to fight for a fair settlement.
How Can You Protect Your Legal Rights After a Bicycle Accident?
You can protect your rights by being careful what you say. After the accident, anything you say could be used against you. The insurance adjuster will be looking for ways to undermine your claim.
Be careful to:
- Never apologize or admit any blame in the accident
- Never sign anything or accept any upfront money from the insurance company
- Document as much as you can after the accident
- Avoid the insurance company until you have a lawyer
Always contact a bicycle accident lawyer before handling the insurance company. Even if the adjuster seems friendly, they are not on your side. You will need legal help to protect you from sneaky insurance tactics.
Only discuss the details of the accident with your lawyer. They can handle all communication with the insurer for you. They’ll make sure you know what amount of money you should settle for.
What if Your Insurance Company Pays for Some of the Costs?
Sometimes, your health insurance company will pay for some of your medical costs. Even if you receive some assistance, your settlement demand should include all costs. You should not receive a penalty for having your own insurance.
Talk to a Bicycle Accident Lawyer for Free Today
Bicycle accidents are painful, stressful, and confusing. Thankfully, you don’t have to fight for a settlement alone. At John Foy & Associates, we can help.
With over 20 years of experience, we know what it takes to win cases. Plus, we do not collect a fee unless we win your case.
To get a FREE consultation today, call us at (404) 400-4000, or contact us online.