Biking in Fort Myers is a great way to take advantage of our wonderful weather, get some exercise, and enjoy the fresh air; however, biking also comes with some serious risks. Getting into an accident on a bicycle can cause major injuries, and in some cases may even be fatal. Florida is routinely found to be the most statistically dangerous state in the country for fatal bicycle accidents, meaning that each time you head out on your bike it is important that you not only know the rules of the road, but that there are legal professionals available to help you through a personal injury claim if it is ever necessary.
Take a look below to get an idea of some of the specific legal aspects of a bicycle accident that you will need to familiarize yourself with throughout your insurance claims process. The moments after an accident can be extremely stressful, but the days and weeks following your accident will be stressful as well. Working with an attorney is one way to avoid this stress, while also significantly increasing your chances of getting a fair settlement.
1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service. The sooner you contact us, the sooner you will be able to connect with an attorney who is ready to take your case as soon as possible. Instead of trying to wade through online classifieds, navigate Google business listings, and manage back-and-forth messaging to find a personal injury lawyer willing to work with you, let us do the legwork for you.
What To Do After a Bicycle Accident
After any accident, the most important thing to do is to stay as calm as possible, and to remember that your absolute top priority should be your health and safety. While it may seem appealing to have a confrontational interaction with the person who caused your accident, you will thank yourself later if you simply focus on your needs, remain calm, and avoid being accusatory – the facts will all emerge in time.
Do a Body Scan
Adrenaline is a powerful painkiller, and you can be certain that your adrenaline will be extremely high after an accident. Too often, injured victims let adrenaline overrule their physical needs, and instead of taking care of themselves they choose to “walk it off,” and downplay their injuries at the scene of the accident. Not only is this a good way to make your injuries worse, but any statements that you make downplaying your injuries will also come back to haunt you during the claims process.
Check your entire body to see where there are any possible injuries, and without making a determination of how minor or major they are, be sure to give them attention, both in the moment and moving forward.
Someone at the scene of the accident needs to call 911 as soon as possible, and if you are able to do it yourself, then it will be a good opportunity to tell the 911 operator about your injuries so that they can relay this information to the first responders. If you are unable to make the call, make sure that someone else does.
Once the police, fire department, and EMTs arrive on the scene, they will be able to take over and make sure that your health and safety are the top priority by redirecting traffic, administering emergency care, and mitigating and hazards that could cause possible further injury.
Get Medical Attention
Again, make sure that you do not downplay your injuries. The EMTs will be able to provide you with emergency care at the scene of the accident, but their abilities are limited since they are in a mobile unit. They will, however, be able to make recommendations about what to do next, which may mean taking an ambulance to an emergency room. Listen to their advice, because their main focus is getting you the care you need.
If you do not immediately go to the emergency room and are able to leave the accident on your own, you MUST see your primary care physician immediately. They will be able to develop a recovery plan with you, but equally importantly, they will be able to document your injuries. If you claim injuries that you are unable to prove, the insurance company will deny damages related to them.
Hire a Lawyer
Many people file an insurance claim on their own, as quickly as possible. In accidents where there is only property damage, this is a completely reasonable way to handle things because the claim doesn’t go beyond paying for repair or replacement costs that are easily measurable. When there is a personal injury, though, it is important that you take this process slow and make sure that each step is done properly. This means hiring an attorney before initiating the claims process so that you can have sound legal advice for your entire journey.
Hiring a lawyer can feel like an overwhelming or unnecessary step in the days after an accident, but when you use 1-800-Injured to connect with a personal injury attorney in Fort Myers, you can skip much of the hassle and get partnered with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
The Claims Process After a Bicycle Accident
No two accidents are identical, and the actual claims process that you go through will likely vary from the following, but this is intended to provide you with a general idea of the way the process works, and how your attorney will help you each step of the way.
Initiating a Claim
The first step, once you are working with a bicycle accident attorney in Fort Myers, is to initiate your claim with the insurance company. If you take this step on your own, the insurance company will attempt to dissect every statement that you make on your own in an attempt to find all possible reasons to pin some of the blame on you. Minor misstatements in this step can have costly repercussions down the road, so you should let your attorney handle this for you.
Once the claim has been initiated, the insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to your case who will spend the next few weeks investigating the details of the accident in order to determine how much to offer you as a settlement. At the same time, your attorney will be doing their own investigation to prepare a counter-offer as soon as the investigation is concluded and your initial offer is sent to you.
You will probably be surprised at the difference between the initial offer that the insurance company makes, and the amount that your attorney had calculated in their own investigation. This is because the insurance company is making the offer that suits them, by saving as much money as possible. This is why it is so important that you have an experienced legal professional representing your case and leading you through this process with consideration entirely for your own needs.
Since there is such a wide gap between your calculations and the initial offer, the next step will be a series of negotiations between your personal injury lawyer and the insurance company. Florida’s statute of limitations for bicycle accidents, as with most other personal injury cases, is 4 years, which means that you will have up to 4 years to file a lawsuit. This will give your attorney ample time to negotiate with the reaching an out-of-court settlement, which saves both time and money for everyone.
Settlement or Filing a Lawsuit
Finally, you and your attorney will need to make a decision after negotiations: will you accept the settlement offer that you have negotiated to, or does it make more sense to file a lawsuit? Filing a lawsuit does not necessarily mean that you will ever go to trial, but there are many steps you will need to take through the Florida court system. The decision to move forward with a lawsuit is complicated, and should be discussed with your attorney about your specific case.