What to Expect from a Louisiana Bicycle Accident Lawsuit
When a leisurely bike ride turns into an accident scene, it can completely devastate your life, causing traumatic injuries, disability, and time away from school and work. For others, a bike accident may have resulted in the death of a loved one.
Unfortunately, bicycle accidents are all too common in Louisiana, with Baton Rouge and New Orleans having particularly high rates of serious or fatal bike accidents. While you may know that you are legally entitled to receive compensation after a bike accident, for your own injuries or the wrongful death of a loved one, most accident victims have never been involved in a personal injury lawsuit before and have no idea what to expect as they go through this process.
The last thing you need after a serious bike accident is the stress of navigating how you will pay for medical bills or recover lost wages from time off work. At the Law Offices of Andrew R. Schwing, our experienced and knowledgeable team has represented countless victims and their loved ones after bike accidents. You do not need to stand up to the individual at fault and their insurance company alone. We are here to pursue your claim with skill and dedication every step of the way.
What to Do Immediately After a Bike Accident
The steps you take immediately following an accident can make a significant impact on your case. You will likely be in shock or you may even be incapacitated after an accident, but it is important to have an idea of what you should do ahead of time if you ever find yourself as a victim of a bike accident. Additionally, there are certain things you should do in the days following an accident.
Seek emergency medical attention immediately.
When adrenaline is pumping right after a bike accident, you may think you do not have any injuries or that your injuries are too minor to warrant a trip to the emergency room. Call for emergency medical help and get checked out anyway. It is not uncommon for pain and symptoms to develop later on and you may require treatment right away. Furthermore, this is an opportunity to document any injuries the accident may have caused, which will be vital to your personal injury case.
Call the police.
Call law enforcement right away. They will likely respond with an ambulance if you called 911 to seek medical attention, but you want to make sure a police report is taken and filed to document the accident. This information will be very important for your lawyer and in support of your case against the negligent driver.
Take photos of the scene.
If you are physically able, take photographs of the bike accident scene, including photos of your bike, the vehicle that hit you, any other vehicles that were involved, your visible injuries, the road, street signs, and traffic lights around you. Try to take photos from different angles. If you are not physically able to take photos, try to call a friend or family member to come take those photos. Remember that the most important thing to do is to seek medical attention and make sure you are in a physical safe place.
Get contact information and statements from witnesses.
Look around to see if there were any other drivers, bicyclists, or pedestrians who witnessed the accident. Their statements may be very valuable to your case if they witnessed a driver doing something negligent or reckless that caused the accident and your injuries. Ask for their contact information and a statement of what they witnessed.
Document your injuries, symptoms, and limitations.
In the days and weeks following your bike accident, you should keep detailed records of your symptoms and any physical limitations you are experiencing. Seek ongoing medical attention and treatment for these injuries.
Preparing a Demand
After your initial consultation, your attorney will take all of the documentation you have about the accident and your injuries, including a copy of the police report, your notes about the accident, photos of the accident scene, medical records and bills, and records of your time off from work. Your lawyer will use this information to determine the value of your claim, which may also include future expected medical bills. This information will be compiled in a demand letter, which your attorney will send to the negligent driver who caused the accident, or their attorney or insurance company. The demand letter will state the amount of money that you require the other side to pay you to compensate you for all of your injuries and costs in order to avoid a court trial.
Once the other side has received your demand, they should review it and either agree to pay your demand in a settlement agreement or deny your claim outright or in part. If they deny your claim in part, this means that they may be willing to settle the claim with you but for a lesser amount than you are asking for.
During settlement negotiations, you will work closely with your attorney to respond strategically and ultimately recover the most compensation possible. Your approval must and will always be obtained in order for your attorney to agree to a settlement on your behalf.
Preparing for Trial
If you are unable to reach a settlement agreement, you may begin to prepare for trial. In practice, many of the steps necessary to prepare for a court trial are also beneficial steps to take during settlement negotiations. These steps might include:
- Obtaining an independent medical examination (IME) for a physician’s opinion on the cause, nature, and extent of your injuries
- Conducting depositions of witnesses and medical experts
- Being deposed about your injuries and limitations
- Mediating the case before a neutral party
Certain steps like obtaining an IME and expert medical opinion may be important steps to take during settlement negotiations, even if you do not plan on taking the case to trial, because they can establish strong evidence in support of your claim. The other side is unlikely to litigate a case they do not believe they can win, so this evidence will motivate them to settle the case pursuant to your demand.
Don’t Take on Your Opponent Alone
If you or a loved one were injured in a bicycle accident in Louisiana, contact us today for a complimentary consultation of your case. We will review all of the evidence in your case to determine the value of your claim and help you to obtain a medical expert opinion to support your claim, if necessary.
Often times, injured bicyclists would prefer to settle a claim rather than litigate the claim in court. Your attorney will work closely with you to determine the best course of action for your claim and form a strategy to achieve that goal. Frequently, the steps and posture required to prepare for a trial will also help you to reach a higher settlement amount.
At the Law Offices of Andrew R. Schwing, we have handed countless bike accident claims. We are extremely experienced in identifying potential defenses the other side will present and countering these defenses to help you achieve the best result possible.
Our contingency fee structure makes the decision to hire a skilled personal injury attorney easy—we don’t get paid unless you get paid. Call us today at (504) 613-0621 to schedule a complimentary consultation.