This is the next post in a series of articles discussing bicycle accident cases in Laredo, Texas. My previous post addressed the concept of comparative fault in bike accident cases. Under this theory, a victim who is not more than fifty percent responsible for a crash can still recover a portion of their damages from the negligent driver. In certain areas of Texas, local law may require bike riders to wear a helmet, which could impact the applicability of this theory. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your legal rights. In this article, I will discuss the process of dealing with an insurance company after an accident has occurred. If you need assistance, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
Soon after a tragic bicycle accident, victims or their family members will be contacted by the insurance company representing the at-fault driver. Initially, the adjuster will want to gather information about the nature of the victim’s injuries, medical treatments, and other facts relevant to the accident. Many people are unsure how to answer these questions and become concerned about how their responses may impact their ability to recover damages from the defendant. This is particularly true where the victims injuries are serious or when the questions exist as to the responsibility for the accident. The best way to preserve your legal rights in such a situation, is to retain the services of an attorney to handle the communications with the insurance company on your behalf. Doing so can help ensure that your legal rights are protected and that “quick settlement” offers by the adjuster are properly evaluated. Your attorney, once retained, will send a letter of representation to the insurance company and be the primary contact person from that point forward.
Before settlement negotiations can begin, your lawyer must investigate the incident and have a complete understanding of the victim’s injuries and long-term medical prognosis. This process is often time consuming, especially in cases where serious injuries have occurred or the circumstances surrounding the accident are complex. For instance, if weather conditions played a role in the crash, it may be necessary to retain an expert witness. One such witness may be an accident reconstructionist who will delve into the issue and deliver their opinion. In some cases, experts require weeks or months to arrive at a conclusion. Furthermore, before a demand for damages can be presented to the insurance company, your attorney will need to calculate the amount to be requested. Factors impacting the damage estimate include, among other things, past and future medical expenses and lost wages. Understanding what types of future treatments may be required, whether the victim will fully recover, or whether they may ever be able to return to work may take time to ascertain. If injuries are extremely serious, it may take months or years to determine the financial impact of the accident.
After the necessary information is available and damages can be adequately estimated, your lawyer will present a demand letter with supporting documentation to the insurance company. The insurance adjuster and lawyer will then attempt to negotiate a settlement. If they are unsuccessful, your attorney will likely initiate a lawsuit to preserve your rights against the defendant. A personal injury lawyer with experience in bicycle accident cases will understand how to skillfully and effectively manage this process. My Laredo office works with victims of such accidents and is ready to assist you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. In addition to Laredo, I serve clients throughout south Texas.