How Much is My Bicycle Accident Case Worth?
After being in a bicycle accident, things may seem very difficult for your situation and your case in general. You are likely getting medical bills from healthcare providers and letters and phone calls from insurance companies asking you to sign documents regarding your case. Aside from recovering from your injuries, receiving money compensation for your injuries is probably at the forefront of your mind and among your top concerns. The Jackman Law Firm can help you receive the money you deserve for your injuries.Understanding Your Bicycle Case’s Value
Being in a bicycle accident can be life-altering and leave you with substantial medical bills, along with many other damages and losses. While your settlement or jury award will be for one lump sum amount, it is helpful to think of your case as being broken down along several key categories that are commonly seen in personal injury cases. They are:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Out of pocket expenses
- Loss of consortium
- Future medical bills
- Future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Each of these categories of damages is intended to compensate you for your losses.
Medical bills should be paid if it can be shown your bills are reasonably related to your accident. In other words, the only time that your bills should be paid for by the opposing insurance company is if your injuries pre-dated the bike crash.
Lost wages are applicable if, because of your bicycle accident, you missed time at work and thus lost money because of your lost time at work. These damages could be small or large depending on how much time you missed at work.
Out of pocket expenses are things like crutches, a brace, or even a wheelchair. Sometimes insurance does not pick this up and you are forced to pay for these items yourself. If this is the case, you could owe on them and you should not since if not for the bike accident, you never would have incurred them in the first place.
Loss of consortium can be hard to prove but may be necessary for your case. If, for example, your spouse lost out on some fundamental aspect of your relationship because of your injuries, then he or she has the right to assert their own claim against the driver who hit you to recover damages as well since they have lost out on something too. Call us for a more detailed explanation for this.
Future medical bills may be coming your way if your injuries are significant. And if this is the case, then there should be a portion of your settlement that is earmarked and intended to cover these damages that are coming your way. It is important that you have a treating doctor make clear how much this could be and the necessity of receiving the recommended care to your wellbeing.
Future lost wages may also be awarded to you for your injury because you may not be able to work to the extent that you once did and bring in the level of income you once did because of your bike accident. If you fear that you are not going to be able to resume your career and the level of income you once did, then feel free to call us so we can explain in greater depth how we can help you obtain a settlement that includes future lost wages.Insurance and PIP Explained
Another thing to keep in mind is insurance and PIP. If the driver who hit you only has a $25,000 insurance policy, legally that is all the insurance company has to pay to you. So even if you have a million dollars in medical bills, legally the insurance company only has to pay you the 25K.
You might think this is unfair, and it certainly is, but it is the law unfortunately. You can pursue the difference between the insurance amount the driver had who hit you, assuming it is too low to compensate you, and your total damages, but this may be difficult to obtain if the driver who hit you is not wealthy or does not own a home or have a lot of assets that can be seized.
In Washington State, the minimum you have to have to be on the road with a car is 25K, but some drivers have policies that exceed one million dollars, and there are policies obviously in between these amounts as well. In addition, something to keep in mind is that some vehicles have what are called commercial insurance policies, which are normally much higher and these are associated most times with work vehicles or vehicles that are driven for a work purpose, such as an 18-wheeler truck.
If your medical bills are not being paid, they should be by some form of insurance. The most common form is called PIP, which stands for personal injury protection. This is a form of insurance that is purchased in conjunction with your car insurance. If you are hit on a bicycle, then the other driver’s PIP insurance would pay for your medical bills. If you have no PIP available, then the next available source of insurance, in most cases at least, is your health insurance.Calculating Pain and Suffering
The last and most difficult category, at least in some ways, of damages you can receive is money for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is also known, legally speaking, as general damages. Pain and suffering is a general term intended to capture all of the discomfort and pain the bike accident caused you.
While it may be hard to put a number on this, the law in Washington State does allow you to recover money for this. It is important to understand that there is a relationship between the amount of money you will receive for pain and suffering and the amount of your medical bills. This relationship may be loose, but it is important to understand that it exists to some degree.
In other words, it is unlikely someone will receive either ten dollars or ten million dollars if their medical bills for a bicycle accident are only ten thousand dollars because those two numbers, in relation to the ten thousand dollar number, are not in any way connected. It is not to say you will not receive a lot of money in pain and suffering. It just might not be hundreds of millions of dollars if you don’t have a correspondingly high amount in medical bills.How The Jackman Law Firm Can Help
We can help you recover the damages you are entitled to receive under the law in Washington State. The damages we can recover include pain and suffering money, medical bills, lost wages, loss of consortium, and out of pocket expenses, to name the primary ones. In addition to obtaining money damages for you, we can also help you prove that you were not at fault. This may not be as easy as you think and it might be easy to overlook because, after all, you cannot get a penny legally until you can prove that you were not at fault for the accident.
In some rare instances, the insurance company for the driver who hit you may allege that you were either completely, or partly, at fault for the accident. If this is the case, you need a good, aggressive attorney who can help prove that this is not the case. The Jackman Law Firm can take important depositions, interview witnesses, and subpoena documents to prove your case. The Jackman Law Firm can also negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company as well.
We have successfully negotiated with many insurance companies to obtain large settlements for our clients. Finally, if negotiations either stall or fall apart with the at-fault insurance company’s driver, we can always go to court and obtain a verdict from the jury. Again, we have had a tremendous amount of success obtaining large jury verdicts and we can do the same for your case well.