Why Hire Bicycle Accident Lawyers in the First Place?
Bicycle accidents are a unique type of personal injury case because they don’t quite fall into the category of motor vehicle accidents, nor do they qualify as pedestrian accidents. This can make it difficult for an injured bicycle rider to prove someone else is at fault for the accident and interfere with the potential to recover a fair settlement.
However, experienced Bakersfield bicycle accident attorneys can assist injured victims in navigating the complicated legal system, working to get them the compensation they deserve.
Before jumping to sign a contract with the first attorney that pops up in a Google search, weigh all of your options, and ensure that the law firm you decided to hire possesses the qualifications and features you’re looking for. Here are the factors to evaluate before hiring a bike accident lawyer.
1. Expertise in Bike Accident Cases
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that there were over 420,000 ER visits associated with bicycle accident injuries in 2020. Furthermore, according to Bakersfield bicycle accident statistics, the city falls within the top percentile of most hazardous cities for bicyclists.
Bicycle accident victims can suffer from minor injuries to serious injuries. Regardless of the level of injury the bicycle rider sustains, he or she should still be compensated for medical bills and other expenses the accident caused.
Insurance companies will make consistent efforts to pay back as little as possible for bicycle accidents, and in some cases, they will fight to pay nothing at all.
Bicycle accidents cause physical and psychological devastation to victims. An attorney with experience dealing with difficult insurance adjusters will know how to get their clients compensated for their injuries and other damages.
In order to confirm an attorney’s work background, refer to online review sites and legal directories. First-hand experience from former clients is one of the most reliable sources for confirming an attorney’s expertise and competence in California’s bicycle injury laws.
2. Types of Damages That Can Be Recovered
The best Bakersfield bicycle accident lawyers can help clients obtain maximum compensation by thoroughly evaluating the case, calculating the full extent of damages, and filing the bicycle accident injury claim.
When calculating damages, financial compensation should go beyond being compensated just for medical bills or bicycle repairs. Instead, all areas of loss can be categorized into economic damages and non-economic damages, including the following.
- Economic losses: These losses have a fixed monetary value and are often linked to current medical bills, future medical expenses, lost wages, and bike repairs.
- Non-economic losses: These losses do not have a fixed monetary value, but can still compensate for “pain and suffering,” like mental anguish, PTSD, and loss of enjoyment of life.
After a bicycle accident, the goal is to recover the full extent of damages from the at-fault party. A Bakersfield bicycle accident lawyer will be committed to meeting these expectations.
3. Billing and Payment Structure
Bicycle accident attorneys charge different fees and bill differently. For instance, one bike accident attorney may charge an hourly rate, while another works on a contingency fee basis.
While one is not necessarily “better” than the other, a contingency fee agreement is often more suitable for most financial situations. When attorney fees are contingent, it means that clients do not pay upfront costs. Additionally, a fee is only applied once the case concludes and if the bicycle accident injury case is won.
Because a contingency fee arrangement is not paid out-of-pocket, and instead comes from the final settlement, clients do not run the risk of falling into financial debt. This allows them access to legal representation without having to worry about upfront costs.
It is also important to ask about billing practices, as some Bakersfield bicycle accident lawyers not only bill hourly rates but will also charge for every phone call or email conversation.
Understanding the lawyer’s billing practices will help in avoiding unexpected surprises. Therefore, ensure billing and payment structure is clearly explained and understood before signing an agreement with a bike accident lawyer.
4. Trial Experience in Bike Accidents
It is important for a bike accident lawyer to have trial experience, because it provides more legal avenues for obtaining maximum compensation.
For instance, if an insurance company is not offering a fair settlement, a bicycle accident lawyer can file a lawsuit and take the case to court. There, it will be tried before a judge and jury. In some instances, a trial is more costly to insurance companies, so they will yield to avoid litigation.
Courtroom experience gives an attorney the leverage to negotiate a favorable settlement for a client, as insurance companies are more likely to settle if they know that an attorney is willing and able to take the case to trial.
Additionally, trial experience indicates that an attorney possesses the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively represent clients throughout the case proceedings. Bakersfield bike accident lawyers with level the playing field and ensure that their clients’ rights are protected.
5. Additional Standout Qualities
There are the obvious criteria that a bicycle accident lawyer must possess, like earning a Juris Doctor Degree, passing the State Bar, possessing a clean record, and not undergoing disciplinary actions.
However, there are additional qualifications to consider, like special accolades the law firm has been awarded, highlighting them as the top in their industry. Or, there are also exclusive memberships to professional organizations specializing in personal injury law.
Some questions that can be asked to assess a lawyer’s standout qualities include:
- Are you a member of any professional organizations related to bicycle accident law?
- Are you certified in personal injury law?
- Have you received any awards or recognition for your work?
On a more personal level, also ensure that a particular attorney has a communication style that matches yours. It’s important to find a Bakersfield bicycle accident lawyer whom you feel comfortable communicating with and who is willing to work with you to achieve your goals.
6. Immediate Willingness to Accept Cases for Bicycle Accidents
While it may simple and convenient for an experienced bicycle accident attorney to accept a case upon the first initial phone call, there are some considerations to keep in mind.
It is a good sign when bike accident attorneys appear confident and eager to work on a case. However, attorneys should be hesitant before immediately agreeing to take a case before an investigation has been completed.
Strategical bicycle accident lawyers will insist on evaluating a case before agreeing to work on it. This is done to benefit both parties, because in order for a case to be successful, the facts must be understood and fault needs to be determined.
Other important factors may include whether the case is eligible for legal recourse, whether a police report was filed, or whether medical attention was administered.
Questions to Ask a Bakersfield Bicycle Accident Lawyer
When meeting with Bakersfield bicycle accident attorneys to learn about their law firm and legal expertise, ask questions like:
- What percentage of your practice is dedicated to bicycle accidents?
- How many bicycle accident cases have you handled in the past?
- What is your success rate in bike accident cases?
- What are your fees to work on a bicycle accident case, and when am I expected to pay?
- Can you provide references from past clients with similar bicycle accident claims?
- Do you have experience going to trial for bicycle accidents?
By asking these questions, you can get a better sense of each lawyer’s qualifications. Additionally, a consultation is one of the best ways to evaluate each candidate and choose the best fit.
Contact Bakersfield Bicycle Accident Lawyers for Further Assistance
Bike accidents in Kern County regularly are often related to reckless drivers. When accidents occur, injured victims deserve justice and to be compensated.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, don’t hesitate to contact Horizon Accident Lawyers in Bakersfield, CA. An experienced bicycle accident lawyer from our law firm can evaluate your case and help you file a personal injury claim.
Schedule a free consultation today to learn how we can get you the settlement you deserve.CALL US