Individuals who have been injured in a Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident that was the result of a negligent driver can generally seek compensation for their injury through the personal injury claims process. This process can include a claim against your personal injury protection (PIP), or even against the insurance policy of the at-fault driver. An experienced Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyer from Eltringham Law can help you understand this process.
How a Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident Attorney Can Assist You with Your Claim
A bicycle accident attorney brings an important quality to your claim: experience in the legal process. This experience helps them to provide a number of services, including the ones listed below.
Determining Insurance Resources
In Florida, all registered drivers are required to obtain at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to be used to pay a portion of wage loss and medical expenses after an accident, and this coverage also applies to injuries incurred while a named person on the policy was riding a bicycle. This is often the first source of compensation after a bicycle accident, with the option of seeking compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance being available if your injuries are serious or the expenses of the injury exceed your PIP policy. A Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyer can help you with this claims process just as they can with claiming compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance policy.
According to Florida Statute §316.070, drivers involved in accidents are required to provide certain information to other drivers on the scene, including the name and address of the owner of the vehicle, the license plate number of the vehicle, and the name of the driver’s auto liability insurance provider. Your attorney can communicate with the insurance provider in order to determine the limits of the driver’s policy in order to determine the compensation that is available for you.
Valuing Your Claim
Once your attorney has determined how much compensation is available through the at-fault party’s insurance, and you have reached maximum medical improvement for your injuries, your attorney will establish a value to your claim. In addition to insurance resources, there are a number of factors that influence the value of your claim, such as:
- The severity of your injury
- The amount of work you missed as a result of the injury
- The amount of income you earned before your accident
- The medical expenses you incurred as a result of the accident
- The likelihood of the injury producing permanent disabilities that will impact your ability to earn an income in the future.
Communicating with the Insurance Provider
Your attorney will manage communication with the insurance provider in order to protect your claim. Insurance companies generally do not want to pay third-party claims to those who have been injured by their insured, and will often attempt to take advantage of a claimant’s unfamiliarity with the process in order to ensure that they don’t have to. An attorney with experience in the process anticipates these maneuvers and knows how to avoid them.
Negotiating a Settlement
An insurance provider has three options for resolving your Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident claim. They can pay it, they can deny it, or they can settle it. Generally, their initial offers will be less than half of the full value of your claim, even with an attorney representing your case. However, your attorney will negotiate with the insurance provider in order to obtain a higher offer.
Filing a Lawsuit
If the insurance provider fails to pay the claim in full or make a settlement offer that you can agree to, your attorney can file your claim as a personal injury lawsuit. In Florida, personal injury claimants usually have four years to file a bicycle accident claim in court, though this time can be extended in certain circumstances.
Gathering Evidence to Support Your Claim
Your attorney will gather initial evidence such as the police report, photos of the accident scene, and documentation of expenses even before a lawsuit is filed. However, once the claim is filed, the attorney also has what is known as the discovery process. This is a time when they can obtain evidence from the at-fault party that can be used in court.
Examples of the type of evidence that can be obtained through discovery include:
- The defendant’s cell phone records, if the attorney believes they were texting and driving when they struck your bicycle.
- The defendant’s driving history to look for a pattern of traffic offenses.
- Results of the defendant’s drug or alcohol test if one was ordered by the police after the crash.
Your attorney is responsible not just to help you obtain a settlement, but to also help you understand the value of your claim and the process. What they can’t do, however, is make your decisions for you. You decide whether you want to accept the settlement offer, or when it is time to file your claim in court.
While most bicycle accident claims are resolved through settlement, some will see the inside of a courtroom. If your claim is not settled before your trial begins, the at-fault party’s insurance provider still has time before a decision is reached to make an offer. In the meantime, your bicycle accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale prepares your case and represents it in court.
Assistance Collecting Your Compensation
At the conclusion of your bicycle claim, either through a settlement agreement or litigation, your compensation will be received by your attorney. They will deduct the percentage that is owed to them for their services via your contingent fee agreement and other expenses the agreement requires them to pay (such as hospital or insurance liens) and the rest will be given to you.
A Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale Can Help with Your Claim
A Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyer from the Eltringham Law Group is available to discuss your legal options for obtaining compensation for your injuries. Contact us for your free case evaluation.