This is the next post in a series discussing bicycle accident cases in Peoria, Illinois. My previous post discussed how comparative fault rules can impact the outcome of bike crash litigation. If a cyclist is fifty percent or less at fault, they may possibly still recover damages from the defendant. Because bicycle accidents often result in catastrophic injuries with large damage awards, this issue can be hotly contested during settlement negotiations and at trial. It is important, therefore, to retain an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident occurs. Doing so will help ensure that important evidence is preserved and that your case is handled properly. This article will address what one should expect while their counsel is working with the defendant’s insurance company. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bike accident, contact my office today to speak with an attorney.
Shortly after a bike accident occurs, it is not uncommon for the vehicle driver’s insurance company to contact the cyclist or their family members. The insurance adjuster will likely try to record a statement from the rider and may make a settlement offer. This can seem intimidating and many individuals do not know how to respond. By contacting an attorney as soon as possible after the event, you can direct all communications from the insurance company to your lawyer who will handle the discussions on your behalf. From this point forward, the lawyer will deal directly with the insurance adjuster instead of the victim.
Once retained, your attorney will begin conducting a thorough investigation of the crash and start gathering evidence about the injuries sustained and any property damages. This will help establish the defendant’s potential liability. Information such as witness statements, photographs, GPS reports, traffic camera footage, accident reports, cell phone records, medical records, and potentially expert advice will be reviewed to determine liability and damages. Unfortunately, many bicycle accident cases involve serious injuries for the victim. Under such circumstances, the victim’s medical prognosis may take significant time to ascertain, and the case may enter a “holding pattern” until the full extent of the injuries is known.
Once the investigation is complete and the long-term medical prognosis is more clear, counsel will send a demand letter to the defendant’s insurance company. The demand letter will include the calculation of damages and evidence supporting the claim. The insurance adjuster and lawyer will negotiate the terms of a settlement. If they are unable to reach an agreement on the damages, then the victim’s lawyer will file a lawsuit against the defendant.
It is imperative to understand that the insurance settlement process may take a significant period of time. Victims and their families are often tempted to accept a “quick settlement” after this type of event. In most cases, however, doing so would not result in a victim being fully compensated. Your attorney can help evaluate any settlement offers and help you recover the damages that you deserve. If you need assistance, contact my Peoria office today. Our firm also serves clients in the Illinois cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington.