Few things can be as jarring as suffering a personal injury. This can be especially true in matters involving a bicycle accident as such cases can result in extreme injuries. It is understandable that you may not know what steps to take after you or a loved one has been injured. The fact of the matter, however, is that if you do not take immediate steps to protect your interests, then you may not be able to receive the compensation that you deserve. This article will discuss the steps you should take immediately after an incident as well as while your case is pending. If you need assistance, contact our office today to speak with an attorney.
It is Important to Seek Immediate Medical Care After a Florida Bike Accident
If you have been involved in a bike accident, the first action you should take is to seek medical care. If you have been seriously injured, an ambulance will likely arrive on the scene to take you to the hospital. It is important that you do not refuse this service. Even if the incident was not severe enough to warrant an ambulance, it is important that you go to the hospital on your own accord following the incident. Even if you believe you are not seriously injured, it is important that you seek care as many injuries may not show symptoms for some time. This is especially true for head injuries.
If you are injured and do not seek immediate care, the defendant’s lawyers are likely to claim that you were not injured in the subject bike accident. They will, instead, often claim that your injuries must have occurred through some other event that happened between the accident and the time at which you sought care. If the jury believes such an argument, then you may be prohibited from receiving compensation altogether. By seeking care immediately after the accident, you can foreclose such arguments by the defense.
Retain an Attorney Immediately After You Have Sought Care
The next step to take after you have sought care is to contact an attorney as soon as possible. It is common in personal injury cases for the defendant’s insurance adjusters to contact you immediately after an accident. This contact may come in as little as a day or two. The adjusters will attempt to negotiate with you directly and will claim that you should not retain an attorney to represent you. They will then often claim that it is in your best interests to reach some sort of “quick” settlement. You must remember, however, that these adjusters are employees of the insurance company. Their job is to protect insurance company profits and it is not to ensure that you receive the money to which you are entitled.
An attorney will be charged with protecting your best interests. It is counsel’s goal to gain the greatest possible amount of compensation for you. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to offer low-ball settlements or to attempt to deny liability altogether. These same carriers will then quickly be willing to negotiate once a lawyer is involved on your behalf. If an insurance adjuster attempts to contact you then the best practice is to inform them that they will be hearing from your lawyer shortly.
Understand That the Case May Take Significant Time to Settle
Personal injury cases can take significant time to settle and this is especially true in matters involving serious injuries. The reason why cases may take significant time is that your chances for long-term recovery should be reasonably known before a settlement is accepted. If you accept a settlement that is based on your achieving a full recovery, then you will be without needed funds in the event that your recovery turns out to be more limited. While it is understandable that you wish to put the matter behind you as quickly as possible, it is important that you not settle the case until you have a long-term prognosis. This may take months or even more than a year.
Consider the following example. Joe is involved in a bicycle accident and he suffers a blow to the head. He is experiencing blurred vision. The doctor informs him there is a strong chance that Joe’s vision will return to normal but that it can take up to six months to know for sure. Joe accepts an immediate settlement for a relatively small amount out of a belief that he will be fine. Unfortunately, Joe has blurred vision for life and cannot return to his former job. He will be without needed funds as he accepted a quick settlement out of a desire to put the matter behind him. This could have been avoided had Joe waited to be more sure of his long-term prognosis.
Take the Advice of Your Doctors and Your Lawyer as the Case Proceeds
It is important to take the advice of both your doctor and your lawyer as you proceed through recovery and your case proceeds through the legal system. If you ignore your doctor’s advice or if you do not follow through with your care plan, then the defense will be able to claim that your situation was worsened by your own actions. This can result in the jury finding that your current medical condition is, in part, your fault. This can hurt your case for obvious reasons. Following your attorney’s advice is vital as counsel will give you an honest assessment as to when is the best time to settle. Counsel will also give you advice as to how to conduct yourself while the matter proceeds. This advice will assist you with making sure that your conduct is not taken out of context and that you are not left appearing as though you are liable for the incident or are uninjured.
Contact a Florida Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
If you were hit by a car while cycling then you must take immediate steps to protect your interests. As discussed above, the first of these steps is to seek medical care. The second is to contact a lawyer immediately. Our firm is dedicated to protecting those who have been injured by another’s negligence. We are proud of the level of service that we offer, and we look forward to assisting you. Contact us online or by telephone at 800-780-8607 to speak with a Florida bicycle accident attorney.