How a San Jose Bicycle Accident Lawyer Helps
Road conditions and reckless driving have been a problem in the city for some time. In fact, complaints of unrepaired potholes grew to be so problematic that the city launched a smartphone app to help residents file complaints and increase the pace of repairs.
Still, Drexel Way, McLaughlin Avenue, and one of the longest roads in the city, Monterey Road, have been deemed some of the most dangerous in San Jose, not just for car drivers, but for bicycle riders, as well.
In the event of a bicycle accident, injured cyclists are entitled to just compensation. However, due to disinterested insurance companies, victims are not always granted a fair settlement.
Additionally, bicycle accidents are not like typical motor vehicle accidents, but they also don’t qualify as pedestrian accidents since bikes are technically non-motorized vehicles. Therefore, if a bicycle accident does occur, recovering damages will not only be complicated, but it will also be extremely difficult.
This is why it is vital to hire an experienced San Jose bicycle accident lawyer. A bike accident attorney will assist clients in a number of ways, including:
- Gathering witness statements
- Obtaining and reviewing official police reports
- Investigating the accident scene
- Working with accident reconstructionists
- Inspecting bicycle damage
- Identifying potential manufacture defects of the bike
- Consulting with the best medical professionals
Factors to Consider Before Hiring Bicycle Accident Attorneys
While a San Jose personal injury attorney can be helpful in the event of a personal injury accident or motor vehicle accident, not all law firms specialize in cases for bicycle accidents. Here are seven key factors to consider when shopping around for representation.
1. Expertise in Bike Accident Cases
Accidents that cause victims serious injuries are very valuable cases. This means that the insurance company will be aggressive in their efforts to prevent paying injured bicyclists fair compensation.
When choosing a bicycle accident attorney, invest in experience. Local regulations governing bicycle accidents vary from state to state and even from city to city. A knowledgeable attorney that is familiarized with the traffic laws in Santa Clara County will be better equipped to handle a personal injury accident involving a bicyclist and a negligent driver.
2. Billing and Payment Structure
Some lawyers charge hourly rates, while others work on a contingency fee basis. One payment structure is not necessarily better than another. However, this should be confirmed before signing an agreement to ensure affordability of services.
A contingency contract is preferred by many injured bicyclists, as it guarantees that they will not have to pay any legal fee unless their case is won. The fees that are owed after a case win come from the agreed settlement amount and are not collected out–of–pocket, which prevents clients from getting into financial trouble.
It is also important to inquire about their billing practices. For example, some bike accident lawyers charge for every phone call or email conversation. Establishing these practices will prevent any unexpected surprises.
3. Trial Experience for Bicycle Accidents
Although not necessary in every car accident-related case, it’s important that the selected attorney does possess litigation experience. In the event that a fair settlement is not offered by the insurance company, the bicycle accident case may go to court, where the outcome will be determined by a judge or jury.
When a case goes to trial, the proceedings are more complicated, and without a legal background, the at-fault party may not be held liable.
4. Genuine Feedback from Real People
Online reviews are a valuable resource when choosing a bicycle accident attorney, but it’s important to be wary of fake reviews. Some law firms or their competitors may post fake reviews to manipulate their reputation.
Some indicators of this are if a firm only has positive reviews posted about them, if a large number of those reviews were posted on the same day or around the same time, and if there are multiple reviews without a name.
5. Standout Qualities
When choosing an experienced attorney, it is important to consider credentials. While credentials do not guarantee a good outcome, it is a good starting point.
While all lawyers must have completed basic legal training and education, some may have gone above and beyond to achieve additional certifications or recognition, including:
- Membership in a professional organization, such as the American Bar Association or the National Trial Lawyers Association
- Experience in handling bicycle accident cases
- Specialization in personal injury law
- Awards or recognition for their work
It is also important to consider the lawyer’s personality and communication style, as well as their willingness to work with you to achieve your goals. They should be capable of being patient with clients but aggressive against the insurance company.
6. Proven Track Record of Success in the Field
An experienced bicycle accident lawyer must not only know how to handle bicycle crashes, but he or she must also have a winning track record. This means that the lawyer should have a history of recovering maximum compensation for clients.
This can be confirmed by asking for references from friends, family, and colleagues. Utilizing online resources, like legal directories and customer review sites are also helpful. Real, first-hand references from actual former clients offer valuable insights into a lawyer’s experience, competence, and communication skills. This information will help future clients make an informed decision about who to hire.
7. The Bicycle Accident Lawyer Wants to Evaluate the Case Before Accepting It
The best San Jose bicycle accident lawyers will insist on evaluating the case before accepting to work on it. This is because the attorney will need to get an idea of who was at fault, if the case is still eligible for legal recourse, if a police report was filed, if the victim received medical attention, and other factors that could affect the case’s outcome. In order to successfully represent bicycle accident victims, personal injury attorneys need to ensure they have all of the facts regarding the event.
Similarly, it’s important to ensure that the attorney who appears the most promising is, in fact, the most promising. When meeting with bicycle accident lawyers, ask specific questions to assess experience regarding bike accident cases such as:
- What percentage of your practice is dedicated to bicycle accident cases?
- How many bike accident cases have you handled in the past?
- What is your record of success in bike accident cases?
- What are your fees?
- What were the outcomes of those cases?
- Do you have any experience going to trial in bike accident cases?
Damages That the Best Bicycle Accident Lawyer Can Recover
The goal is to recover the damages that are owed to you from the at-fault party following a bicycle crash. The top San Jose bicycle accident attorneys can assist you accomplish this. Many victims are unaware that a personal injury claim should compensate for more than just initial doctor visits and bicycle repairs. In fact, the types of bicycle accident damages that can be recovered include the following.
These types of damages, also known as losses, have a fixed monetary value. They can often be verified with receipts or statements, such as medical bills or repair costs. Examples are:
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Medical treatment
- Pain management
- Physical therapy
- Bike repairs or replacement
- Other property damage
Unlike economic damages, these types of losses do not have a monetary value. Instead, they are determined by estimating how much someone should be compensated for “pain and suffering.” Examples are:
- Mental anguish
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Diminished quality of life
The Best San Jose Bicycle Accident Lawyer Near You
Between ill-maintained infrastructure, reckless drivers, and regular traffic on busy roads throughout Santa Clara County, bicycle accidents can occur due to a number of reasons. After the event, many injured victims may feel confused and uncertain of how they’re going to recover.
At Valley Accident Lawyers in San Jose, CA, we specialize in recovering maximum compensation for our clients who were wronged by the negligence of another party. If you or a loved one were recently injured in a bicycle accident, know that you have options and that our seasoned legal team can provide the utmost assistance.
Schedule a free consultation today to learn how we can help you recover the compensation you are owed from the insurance company.