Hakim Injury Law: Bicycle Accident

Reasons to Out-of-Court Settlements for Bicycle Accident Claims in California!

May 17, 2024

First and foremost, settlements end cases earlier. Most people file legal actions so they can move on with their lives. Additionally, an out-of-court settlement gives a victim more control over the outcome. No one likes it when a stranger dictates terms in an important matter, even if that stranger wears a judicial robe. 

Finally, according to an old saying, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. You shouldn’t give up a good thing and hope for something better down the line.

For these reasons and more, almost all bicycle crash claims eventually settle out of court. However, “eventually” is usually a very long time in this context. Liability and damage issues are so complex in these cases that very few of them settle early. Because of this long process, it’s tempting for many victims and for many attorneys as well to take an easy way out. However, the Best Personal Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles hangs in there until victims receive maximum compensation for their serious injuries. In addition to handling bicycle accidents, these lawyers can also help victims of a car crash in California.

Issues in Bicycle Wreck Matters

Before we take a look at the settlement process in a personal injury claim, let’s dive a little deeper into the aforementioned liability and damage issues.

Liability means legal responsibility for damages. This determination is usually different from an initial fault determination. Emergency responders and insurance adjusters assign fault based solely on the evidence at the scene. Liability is a final determination that includes not only the evidence at the scene, but also evidence that an experienced California personal injury attorney obtains later as well as any applicable legal doctrines.

A right-turn bicycle wreck is a good example. When drivers turn right, they normally look left. Therefore, they may hit bicycles in the right-hand bicycle lanes without seeing them. An insurance company lawyer could argue that the bicyclist should have stopped suddenly or otherwise avoided the wreck.

The last clear chance defense rarely holds up in court in these situations, but that track record doesn’t keep insurance company lawyers from trotting it out.

Damage disputes normally concern the amount of medical bills in the case. Many times, medical procedures are like vacation packages. There’s the no-frills package that makes you wish you’d stayed at home, the deluxe package which includes all the bells and whistles, and a mid-priced package.

Typically, adjusters only approve the cheapest procedure. That’s probably not the reasonably necessary procedure.

Informal Negotiations

Once medical treatment is substantially complete, a personal injury lawyer has a good idea how much your bicycle crash claim is worth. So, informal settlement negotiations usually begin at that point.

In a way, both sides want the same thing during informal settlement negotiations. They both want to resolve the case and move on. Therefore, once issues like liability and damages are resolved, the only real issue is the amount of compensation. Judges often resolve these matters during pretrial hearings, so the parties can exclusively focus on settlement negotiations.

Sometimes, informal negotiations are fece-to-face talks. More frequently, the lawyers exchange letters, emails, phone calls, or other communications. Of course, an attorney specializing in bicycle accidents always conveys all bicycle crash settlement offers to the client, who has the authority to say yes or no.

Formal Negotiations

If informal negotiations stall or break down, and they often do, the judge appoints a mediator, who is usually an unaffiliated Bicycle Accident Lawyer with special qualifications in this area.

Mediation, which usually lasts a full say, starts with opening arguments. But the arguments take place in an office building or other informal setting. Then, the parties retire to separate areas while the mediator conveys settlement offers and counter-offers back and forth.

This exercise might sound like a waste of time, especially if informal negotiations broke down. That assessment would be true, except that during mediation, both sides have a duty to negotiate in good faith. Instead of simply going through the motions, the insurance company must earnestly want to settle the claim. That means it must be willing to make some compromises.

Largely because of the duty to negotiate in good faith, bicycle accident mediation is about 90 percent successful.

Consult Our Experienced LA Bicycle Accident Lawyers Today!

Vehicle collisions usually cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced California Bicycle Accidents Lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.

Credit: Photo on Midjourny

Sharona Hakim

Sharona Eslamboly Hakim, Esq. is a successful personal injury attorney and the principal of the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim firm in Beverly Hills, California.

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