When to Hire a Bicycle Accident Attorney in San Jose, CA

Professional legal representation could be dire or unnecessary, depending on the type of bike accident and circumstances. Here is how to determine when you absolutely need to hire a San Jose bicycle accident attorney.


When You Need to Hire a San Jose Bicycle Accident Attorney

Hand of a woman using her fingers to hold the brake while riding a bicycle on the country road at sunset, slow down the speed, spend more time exercising or living concept indicating time limitUltimately, the sooner an attorney is hired, the stronger the bicycle accident case will be. A case’s success hinges on how much time an attorney has to obtain evidence and build an argument backed by facts and proof. Typically, bicycle accident lawyers should be hired under the following circumstances: 

  • Serious Injuries: Serious injuries, like traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries, were sustained due to the bike accident
  • Lawsuit Involvement: The other party has filed a personal injury claim, shifting fault on the bicyclist
  • Insurance Dispute: The insurance company is contesting fault and/or damages
  • Claim Denial: The insurance company is denying the claim entirely
  • Accident Liability: Uncertainty surrounding which party is at fault or bicycle accidents involving more than one liable party
  • Claim Questions: Questions about the claims process and whether or not to speak with the insurance companies
  • Attorneys Involved: The other party has hired an attorney

These are the most common reasons to hire bicycle accident attorneys. However, every case is unique and may present unique circumstances. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with an attorney even when hiring is still uncertain. Local attorneys in San Jose often offer a free consultation to prospective clients, allowing them to ask any necessary questions before making the commitment to hire. 


The Necessities of Consulting with Bicycle Accident Lawyers

Lawyer shaking hands with client during consultationHiring does not necessarily need to be done immediately, but it is strongly advisable to consult with a bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Doing so can prevent case mishaps and, most importantly, ensure the health and well-being of injured bicyclists.

Consultations are vital because they offer insight that may not have been known to bicycle accident victims and quip them for scenarios that may soon present themselves. For instance, the other party’s insurance company may offer a seemingly nice settlement quickly following the bike accident–not to simplify the process but to evade further liability.

Consulting an attorney differs from hiring, as most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation to discuss accident details, potential case strategies, and legal fees (should you choose to hire).

The Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Accidents

The statute of limitations is a crucial legal concept that defines the timeframe for filing a lawsuit. If that timeframe expires, victims lose their right to pursue compensation through the court system. 

In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims (including bicycle accident claims) is generally two years. This means that if injured in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle driver in California, the bicyclist has two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit.  

It’s important to note that exceptions to the two-year rule exist, reducing and sometimes extending the deadline. Experienced San Jose bike accident attorneys ensure that these concepts are understood and that the necessary steps are taken to protect clients’ rights.


The Benefits of Working with a San Jose Bicycle Accident Attorney

The value of working with a legal team will vary for every case, but a common element clients appreciate is peace of mind, allowing them to focus on their recovery. Here is what to expect when working with the best bicycle accident law firms in San Jose.

Local Experience in Similar Cases Involving Bicycle Accidents

Updated San Jose, California city limit sign indicating population of over one million and founding year 1777Navigating the legal system can be overwhelming, especially when trying to overcome a serious injury. However, San Jose bicycle accident lawyers provide invaluable assistance. 

Bicycle laws differ depending on where bicycle accidents occur, so it’s vital to work with a law firm that is not only based in San Jose, CA, but also has extensive experience in car accident cases involving motor vehicles–not just personal injury cases.

For instance, the use of bike lanes, when bikes can “take the lane,” and the overall operation of bike riding varies based on jurisdiction. This matters because fault in a car accident can sometimes fall on the bicycle riders depending on whether or not they were abiding by traffic laws. 

However, even if a bicyclist shares fault, compensation may still be obtainable. Through California’s comparative negligence laws, an attorney can prove minimal liability on the bicyclist and hold the other party predominantly accountable in a case.

Obtain Maximum Compensation Through Negotiations

opening compensation checkNegotiating with insurance companies is challenging. They aim to pay out as little as possible in damages, regardless of what is fairly owed to the injured victim.

Insurance companies often propose settlements based on “actual cash value,” significantly underestimating the true cost of bike repairs or replacement. This also just accounts for economic damages, which are monetary losses–and rightfully should be reimbursed to the victims, but that is not always the case.

When it comes to non-economic damages, or losses that affect victims but have no financial value, recovering compensation becomes even more complex. Common examples include pain and suffering, but because these can be difficult to prove, insurance companies are not typically forthcoming in offering compensation.

A skilled bicycle accident attorney works to ensure clients receive fair compensation for all sustained damages, including:

  • Current medical bills
  • Future medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of potential earning capacity
  • Emotional turmoil
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Loss of consortium
  • Wrongful death

Proving Fault

cyclist on bike lane out of focus due to long exposureBike accidents occur for many reasons. Most commonly, they result from distracted driving. If a negligent driver or another negligent party is at fault for causing a serious bicycle accident, they should be held liable.

However, a successful case outcome involves demonstrating that the other party owed a duty of care to act in a reasonable manner to prevent an incident.

For example, in bike accidents involving motor vehicles, drivers owe riders the duty to operate their vehicles safely. If it can be proven that negligent drivers breached that duty of care, causing the accident, then the liable party will owe the victim compensation.

Working with experienced San Jose bicycle accident lawyers simplifies this process, as they are responsible for obtaining the evidence, such as a police report and medical bills, that supports the other party’s fault.

Litigation (If Necessary)

attorney standing in court with notes for trialMost personal injury cases settle and do not require going to trial. However, when the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, litigation is the next step to recovering the full extent of damages.

At this stage, an experienced bicycle attorney can represent clients in court and present a compelling case highlighting the claim’s merits. This process starts with filing a complaint with the court, detailing what happened and that damages should be awarded as a result.

This is followed by the discovery phase, where both parties reveal the obtained evidence that they plan to use during the trial with each other. Sometimes, based on the presented evidence, the insurance company will yield, reaching an agreement to avoid going to trial and potentially losing more money in the process.

If a settlement is not agreed on, then a trial will follow. This may involve jury selection, opening statements, witness testimony, cross-examination, closing arguments, jury instructions, deliberation, and determining a verdict.

A San Jose personal injury attorney will provide guidance and support throughout the litigation process, ensuring confidence in the legal proceedings.


How to Select the Best San Jose Bicycle Accident Attorney for Your Case

Concept of customer review good rating, people pressing five star on smartphone screen and positive customer feedback testimonial.Look for an attorney with a proven track record of handling bicycle accident cases specifically. This ensures they understand the unique legal issues and challenges that arise in these situations. Other supporting factors to consider include:

  • Success Rate in Bicycle Accident Cases: While past performance doesn’t guarantee future results, it does provide valuable insight into overall experience. In-depth knowledge of bicycle laws and relevant traffic regulations within your jurisdiction. This expertise is crucial for building a strong case and when it comes to understanding how insurance companies use tactics for minimizing payouts.
  • Client Reviews and Testimonials: Read online reviews or ask for testimonials from past clients to get a sense of the attorney’s reputation, client satisfaction, and responsiveness. The best attorneys should be capable of clearly explaining the legal process, detailing potential outcomes, and keeping clients informed throughout the case.
  • Transparency in Costs: All legal fees and costs should be clearly outlined before hiring. Understand the attorney’s fee structure, whether a contingency fee, hourly rate, or a combination. Any additional costs associated with the case, such as expert witness fees or investigation expenses, should also be confirmed.


Speak with an Experienced Bike Accident Attorney Today

Storm clouds make for a dramatic sunset over sprawling San Jose.If you are still unsure whether legal representation is needed for your case, it is strongly encouraged that you speak with a bicycle accident attorney. Not all cases necessitate hiring an attorney, and this can be confirmed during a consultation. 

If you have questions about your bike accident claim, please reach out to the top San Jose personal injury law firm, Valley Accident Attorneys. We offer a 100% free case evaluation and can provide valuable insight into what may have been previously overlooked.

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