Bicycle Accident FAQs
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, you probably have many questions about the injury claims process. How do I file a claim? How do I prove who was at fault for causing my injuries? Where do I go for medical treatment? How do I know what treatment I need? What if the insurance company denies my claim? What if the insurance company will not make a fair settlement offer?
You should not have to worry about these issues while you are recovering from a bicycle accident. The experienced bicycle accident attorneys at Slappey & Sadd can take care of the insurance company and fight for a fair settlement offer. You will be able to rest and recover from your injuries with the knowledge that an experienced personal injury attorney is handling your claim properly. But by learning more about the claims process, you will be better able to protect your legal rights. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about bicycle accident injury claims:
- How do I File a Claim?
- Where do I go for Medical Treatment?
- What if the Insurance Company Denies my Claim or Will not Make a Fair Settlement Offer?
The first step in obtaining compensation for bicycle accident injuries is opening a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. If law enforcement agents respond to the scene of the accident, they will help facilitate the exchange of this information. If not, it is important that you get insurance information from the person who is responsible for causing the accident. This is often the driver of a car that struck you. A bicycle accident might also be caused by another bicyclist, a store owner who allows unsafe conditions on his or her premises, or a negligent parking lot manager. If you believe that someone other than a driver is responsible for causing your bicycle accident, be sure to obtain any contact information you can. This will allow an attorney to investigate the claim on your behalf and contact that person later, if necessary.
If you have insurance information from a driver, a claim is opened by calling that insurance company. An attorney can do this on your behalf. Once the claim is opened, the insurance company will begin its investigation of the claim. They will interview their driver. They might take pictures of the vehicle involved in the accident. Sometimes, an insurance company will ask to take a recorded statement from you. It is important to consult with an attorney before giving any recorded statement about the accident. Such statements can impact your legal rights during later settlement negotiations.
Once the insurance company completes its investigation, it will determine who was at fault for the accident. This is known as liability. An insurance company can accept all, partial, or no liability on behalf of its driver. If the insurance company accepts all or part of the liability, the claim will then proceed to a valuation process. This valuation depends heavily upon the medical treatment you receive for your injuries.
An insurance company does not have the right to tell you where to go for treatment of your injuries. You are entitled to compensation for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses that were incurred as a result of the defendant’s negligence. Many accident victims start by going to their own primary care provider. He or she can make appropriate treatment recommendations. This can include x-rays or other diagnostic imaging (such as CT scans or MRIs), or specialized diagnostic testing. It might also include referrals to specialists. Orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, pain management specialists, and other doctors may need to consult on specific injuries. A chiropractor or physical therapist may also be recommended to relieve painful soft tissue injuries. Be sure to follow all recommendations from your doctors in order to give yourself the best chances for a complete recovery.
Because the insurance company is obligated to pay for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses, a common tactic is for an adjuster to claim that your medical treatment was excessive. They might challenge the number of providers you consulted with or the number of appointments you had with pain specialists or therapists. Chiropractic treatments are a particular favorite for insurance adjusters to attack. Again, an experienced personal injury attorney can help defend you from such attacks. He or she will help the insurance company see the reasonableness of your medical costs. An attorney can also help remind the adjuster of his or her obligations regarding compensation, and the consequences of bad faith handling of an insurance claim.
Attacking the cost of medical care is just one of many insurance tactics. Insurance companies spend thousands of dollars every year training their adjusters on how to pay as little as possible on as few claims as possible. This means that an insurance adjuster will try to stop or reduce your claim at every opportunity. They may deny that their insured was liable for the accident and deny the claim altogether. They may accept only partial liability, and attempt to reduce your settlement by a portion of fault they have arbitrarily assigned to you.
Even if an insurance company accepts liability, they will use a wide array of tactics to reduce the value of the claim. They may challenge the amount of your medical treatment. They may question the amount of work you missed in order to reduce your lost wage claim. And in almost every claim an adjuster will attempt to minimize your pain and suffering. Because the intangible value of your pain and suffering is hard to assign a specific value to, the adjuster will almost certainly attempt to undervalue the claim. But the fact is that you have the legal right to be fairly compensated for the pain and suffering you endured as a result of the defendant’s negligence.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you have important legal rights that must be protected. The experienced bicycle accident attorneys at Slappey & Sadd have decades of experience protecting the legal rights of injury victims across Georgia. We can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call 404.255.6677 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.