I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle in the bike lane heading northbound, a car pulling out of an apartment driveway to my left hit me and sent me flying off of my bike. The bike is damaged and I suffered from a wrist injury. I called police once I got home (did not have a cell phone on me) and they are looking into investigation since they were not called at the scene. I would like to be compensated for my pain and suffering, injuries, as well as the cost to replace or fix my bicycle. What is the best course of action? What will an attorney do for me? What can I do on my own?
The driver did not provide insurance, name or anything. I just wrote down their plate number and description of the car.
What can an attorney do for you? Identify the potential sources of recovery for you out-of-pocket expenses. Find a doctor who will treat you, if you cannot. Evaluate proof of liability, including getting witness statements. Eventually make the claim for you or just file suit. Prosecute the suit properly, moving towards trial.
What can you do for yourself? Get appropriate medical treatment. You could talk to the other side's insurance adjustor when you get the call, but it would be a mistake because the adjustior's job is to pay as little as possible to you while getting the matter resolved (an you have no background to counter that).
It depends on the insurance the other party has and the insurance you have. The police report means very little in the grand scheme of things since the police officer did not witness the collision.
Pedestrian and bicycle claims are called "dollar one bodily injury losses" and can be more valuable than standard injury claims. I find it highly unlikely that you can navigate the insurance world on your own or file a lawsuit pro se if needed. In most cases, the insurance attorneys and adjusters will eat you alive. For one, you don't know the relative value of a claim pre-lawsuit, and two, you don't know how to litigate a case through discovery and beyond without losing the case on a technicality.
Please call one of us today. I handle injury claims throughout Florida and so do many other attorneys. Choose someone you think will best represent you, not merely someone close to you or who advertises a lot.
Seriously, acll one of us today. Many of us--myself included--work late night and weekend hours.
You are entitled to compensation for the damage to the bicycle. From your description, it seems your only injury is to your wrist. They can compensate medical expenses for your wrist. While pain and suffering are subjective, I am not persuaded from your description that you could prevail on them. However, go see a quality personal injury attorney and get their input. They may send you to small claims court, but a face to face meeting is important.
You may be the best bike rider. But you are no match for the process of successfully prosecuting a claim against an insurance company. You are entitled to bike repair/replacement, medical bills, lost wages, and the biggie....pain, suffering and disability. Consult with one of us who confront the insurance companies everyday.
Get the medical attention you need and consult with a personal injury attorney to assist you who can investigate and give you guidance as to how to proceed. Personal injury attorneys typically handle cases on a contingency fee basis and give free consultations. Use the Find a Lawyer tab on Avvo to find one in your area. Best of luck to you...
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Personal injury attorneys are trained to obtain the best results for injured individuals - they will assist in the investigation & in obtaining medical care on a lien basis. Also the settlement of this claims is complex & you should consult an attorney for a free consultation immediately. Insurance adjusters love unrepresented individuals - I know I used to train adjuster. Consult a local personal injury attorney ASAP
You have many ways to make a financial recovery on this case. Hopefully, law enforcement will be able to identify the person who hit you via the license plate number. Once that occurs, we can find out what insurance the person had. If they had property damage insurance as is required by law, then that will pay for the damage to your bicycle. If the at-fault driver had Bodily Injury insurance, that will pay for your pain and suffering in addition to a host of other damages such as past and future medical bills, lost wages, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life. If you had Uninsured Motorist coverage, you may very well be able to recovery from your own insurance company as well. Contact a dedicated personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Before I became an attorney, I was a professional triathlete and have had, unfortunately, similar encounters with vehicles. I am aware of how expensive some bicycles may be. You should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. There are ways to find out, based upon the driver's license number, who owns the vehicle, and if it has any insurance. Then, the attorney will file a claim with the driver's insurance company and set forth all of the ways in which you were hurt ( physically, economically, emotionally) and seek a recovery for you that matches your losses.
Contact one of us as early as possible to get this process started so that you can focus on getting healthy again.
Unless you cannot afford the medical care and do not have insurance, first and foremost you should get your wrist looked at by a doctor. If you're suffering from a bruise or mild sprain, your injury may not justify a lawsuit. The next hurdle you face is determining if there's insurance coverage for your accident. All of the commenters have correctly mentioned this issue and even if you only have the plate number, you should be able to determine ownership and insurance for the vehicle. You may also want to consider finding out what insurance coverage exists for the property the car was driving out of. Having all of this information, including the scope of your injury, ahead of time will make it a lot easier for whatever lawyer you call to make a decision regarding the proper way to handle your claim.
Evaluation of a claim is based on data and story telling- mainly involving a doctor determining your permanent injuries and prognosis and the attorney using that to convince adjusters, judges or jurors that your claim has maximum value both due to your economic losses and those you can't put into a calculator- like pain and suffering, inconvenience and mental anguish. Give a Florida personal injury lawyer, like us, to help make that decision.
Insurance carriers try to negotiate every dollar they can, because every $100 means millions in the end to the Board of Directors.
Even in soft tissue injuries, those tissues stretch and scar, or cause corresponding pressure on nerves in the spinal cord, leaving behind permanent problems for some. I have had clients need surgeries years later because of a bulging disk and have their entire world collapse for what seemed inconsequential at the time. Insurance companies want you to settle as soon as possible and treat as little as possible. Attorneys matter. They change their gameplan when a lawyer is involved. It seems like your injuries are more serious. Plus, a good lawyer will often "pay for them self" with increased offers, decreased medical bills through negotiation and knowing what insurance carriers need to see to maximize offers.
For that reason - and the misinformation by TV lawyers and referral services- is why people should consult lawyers who take the time like on sites like this. Because of the economy, more lawyers are jumping into personal injury and should stick to what they know. Personal injury law REQUIRED knowledge about medical science and biomechanics (the forces on a body in a wreck) far greater and more specific than you'd think. The other side has doctors and millions on their side to say nothing is wrong or fight the claim.
If you have any further questions, feel free to email one of us.
You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com dealing with many of the issues you are now facing. The Guides can be accessed through my profile page on Avvo.com.
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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
As a cycling-specific attorney I would recommend you speak with someone like myself in your state and take advantage of the free initial consultation to discuss your possible claims and outcomes. you are absolutely entitled to pain and suffering, along with bike damage, medical bills, lost income and more... and if you are unable to locate the driver or they don't have insurance, you can file a UM/UIM claim with your own auto insurer and recover under that policy.
An attorney like myself or another personal injury lawyer would take this case on a contingent basis, meaning the lawyer is only paid if they obtain a recovery for you. you should definitely speak with an attorney, as the ins co will undervalue and underpay your claim. And once it's settled you can't go back and ask for me (ie if you find out later you need surgery, etc)...
Contact a local personal injury attorney. It sounds like you may have a case against whomever hit you, however, the laws regarding bicycle injuries can be complicated (although it sounds like the other person was the liable party). A personal injury attorney will help find the liable party and then will help you with your case. Good luck!
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