The statistics confirm that California (Southern CA in particular) is a hotbed of bicycle accidents resulting in fatalities. Between January and May 2016, there were 40 bicycle fatalities in the area, much higher than the 21 fatalities it experienced during that same time period the year before, says the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
Nationally, the NHTSA says nearly 820 bicyclists were killed in collisions with motor vehicles in 2015, up from nearly 730 the year prior. Injuries are high too: about 45,000 bicyclists were injured in roadway collisions in 2016.
If you have suffered life-altering injuries in a bicycle accident due to the negligence or carelessness of another, get your free, no-obligation consultation with Power Legal Group today at 800-323-POWER. But first, read on to learn why choosing the right bike accident lawyer can make or break your case.
Do the lawyers you are considering actually have experience in handling bike accident cases? You wouldn’t see an orthopedic surgeon if you had a cardiac problem. Why would you seek out a business or divorce attorney for injuries sustained in a bike accident? Not all lawyers do all the same things. You need to find an expert, just like you would in the medical field. This will guarantee you the most focused and targeted knowledge and experience possible.
Bicycle accident law is very complicated. If you were hit by a truck, for example, many state and federal laws will apply that aren’t necessarily applicable in a traditional motor vehicle accident. In addition, you must consider California’s comparative negligence law, which means the court will apply a percentage of fault in a bicycle accident. Say the cyclist is determined to be 10 percent at fault, the other party could be 90 percent at fault. Compensation is based on those percentages.
An experienced bicycle accident attorney knows exactly how to determine if someone else is partially responsible for the crash in addition to the motorist. Perhaps that might involve a dangerous and slippery road, poor signage or a history of accidents in that same area. In those instances, government entities may get involved, which further increases the level of complication.
Research the attorney’s record of verdicts and settlements in bike accident cases. Some lawyers have little to no trial experience and automatically settle with the insurance company rather than emerge out of their comfort zone and go to trial. The insurance companies know exactly which attorneys don’t like to go to trial and will use that against you. Those who are known to avoid court often end up with a low-ball offer from the insurance companies in their hands. As a result, you may not get the full amount of compensation you deserve and need.
By looking into the bike accident lawyers’ record of verdicts, you get a good idea of their experience at trial. It’s no secret that court trials are difficult; they’re time consuming to prepare, not to mention costly. Your lawyer will have to work extra hard because juries are often prejudiced against those who bring lawsuits. Knowing which evidence is admissible takes many years of skill. The outcome of your trial case will be directly dependent on the comfort, ease, professionalism and skill of your attorney. How well he or she knows the rules will play into the result.
It’s imperative that you feel comfortable with the bike accident lawyer you choose, as well as the paralegals and support staff. Because of how long these cases can go on, you will develop a close relationship with everyone in the office. You should make sure they are there to respond to you in a timely manner, know your unique needs, and have no problem explaining the legal process in ways you can understand. Not only will this help you make more informed legal decisions, it will put you at ease whenever you have to call or visit the office.
Justice prevails many more times than it fails. Have faith in the system and let your chosen bike accident attorney take care of you. For these reasons and more, the lawyer you choose can absolutely make or break your case.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, call the qualified lawyers at Power Legal Group for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. We can be reached at 800-323-POWER, offering home visits when needed.