If you suffered injuries in a bicycle collision, you may want to know the value of your claim against the negligent driver. The amount of damages to expect helps you decide whether it is worth filing your claim and what to expect when negotiating your settlement with their insurance company.
It is best to have an experienced San Diego bicycle accident lawyer determine how much your claim is worth. While they cannot give you a precise answer on your claim’s value at the start of your case, they can give you an idea of what you can expect to receive. It can also be helpful to understand the process they go through when determining how much a claim is worth.
Types of Compensation Awarded in Bicycle Crash Cases
The first step your attorney will take to determine the value of your claim is to calculate the amount of compensation you are entitled to under California law. You can recover these types of damages in your settlement with the insurance company:
- Medical expenses. The negligent driver is responsible for compensating you for the past and future medical treatments you need to treat your injuries. You may seek reimbursement for surgeries, hospitalizations, doctor visits, physical therapy, diagnostic tests, medications, and other medical care.
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity. You are entitled to be compensated for the lost wages, sick and vacation time, and other perks of your job that you lost while recovering from your injuries. If you must make a career change or become permanently disabled due to your injuries, you may also recover your future lost earning capacity damages.
- Property losses. If your bike or any other property was damaged in the bike crash, you are entitled to the cost of repairing or replacing them.
- Pain and suffering. You also deserve compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced due to your injuries. It would be difficult to value this portion of your claim without the help of a knowledgeable bicycle accident lawyer.
Factors Affecting the Value of Your Bicycle Collision Claim
Unfortunately, valuing your claim is more complicated than adding up all the compensation you can recover. Your attorney will also weigh several factors that can increase or decrease the value of your claim, including:
- The severity of your injuries. If you suffer long-term, serious injuries, the value of your claim will be greater than if you suffered a minor injury that you recovered from quickly. While a severe injury can increase your claim’s worth, it could also take longer to settle your claim with the insurance company.
- Disputes. The value of your claim could be reduced if the insurance company has legitimate objections about the cause of the accident or the seriousness of your injuries.
- Your degree of fault. If you were partially at fault for your bike crash, this would decrease how much your claim is worth. Under California’s pure comparative negligence law, the amount of compensation you can recover would be reduced by your percentage of fault in causing the collision.
- Claim errors. If you made mistakes in your case, such as making a statement admitting your negligence in causing the accident or agreeing to give a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster, this could weaken your case. You may have to agree to accept less compensation in your settlement.
- Insurance coverage. A practical consideration in valuing your claim is how much insurance coverage the negligent driver has to compensate you. Their insurance company is only responsible for paying you the maximum liability insurance coverage their insured has, no matter how strong your case is.
The best way to speed up the process of settling your case is to retain a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your bicycle accident.