Following a bike accident, you might be wondering whether or not you need to hire a bike accident lawyer immediately. It might seem like it’s more important to focus on healing and getting your life back in order before going through a potentially lengthy legal progress. You might understand how challenging it can be to find the right lawyer, especially one who has experience in handling bike accidents, or even feel like you can handle the process on your own. With all that said, the truth of the matter is that you should retain a lawyer as quickly as possible. This is why:
Insurance Companies Lose Out on Their Profits When Paying a Claim
If you believe you can navigate the claims process on your own, take a moment to remind yourself that insurance adjusters handle accident cases all day long. The understand the laws, rules, and tactics of the process and has access to a broad range of resources, including investigators, medical doctors, expert witnesses, specialists, and money. An adjuster will likely know what your case is really worth, and naturally will presume you are in over your head and have no clue as to what you should do to fully protect your rights and interests.
Insurance adjusters are clever and trained in negotiation skills. It is their goal to settle for as little as possible. If you are trying to handle your claim without a lawyer, you can count on the insurance company to offer you a very low settlement amount. They know you have bills to pay and want to settle as quickly as possible. They might even tell you that if you don’t settle now, you might lose the opportunity to do so in the future. The process can become so overwhelming that you give up and settle for less than what you need and deserve. A lawyer can prevent this from happening.
Delaying the Process
The longer you delay the legal process of seeking compensation, the longer it can take to reach a settlement. After you retain a lawyer, he or she will begin to gather evidence that supports your case. This can involve many hours and dedication. If you delay in hiring a lawyer, an insurance company could allege that you are not really that interested in your claim and/or your injuries were not as serious as you made them out to be. In a worst case scenario, delaying your bike accident claim could mean that you surpass the statute of limitations. This would make you ineligible to ever file a claim; thus, you are precluded from recovering compensation.
Evidence Could Disappear
As time passes, evidence will be lost and witnesses could be difficult to locate. For example a tire marks on the road could fade, a broken traffic light could be fixed, or accident footage may be deleted. These things can be crucial pieces of evidence, and without them, your case may not be as strong.
Unintentionally Harming Your Case
It is all too common for a victim of an accident to try and negotiate a claim on their own before realizing it is not as easy as it first appeared. Sometimes when this happens, irreversible damage is done. Mistakes we have seen include:
- Giving a recorded statement of liability to the insurance adjustor
- Proposing a low ball settlement due to a misunderstanding of your losses
- Signing documents you don’t understand
These types of errors could result in an inability to recover compensation or the need to file a lawsuit. You should consult a Milwaukee personal injury lawyer before you take matters into your own hands.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Hickey & Turim for their insight into bike accident injury cases.