Q: The police report says I’m at fault for the bicycle accident, but I wasn’t. What do I do?
A: I often see police reports that claim the cyclist was at fault for their own bicycle accident. Don’t worry. When we take the officer’s deposition we usually are able to demonstrate that the officer is wrong.
Q: Why is the police report not admissible as evidence in court?
A: Often the officer who takes the police report did not see the bicycle collision. The officer interviews everyone at the scene and gets their stories. Since the officer is only being told what others saw, everything they are told is hearsay and not admissible in court.
Q: I called the police when I had a bicycle collision and they said they’d send someone out but it could be a few hours. What am I going to do without a police report?
A: Many cities don’t send officers to take a police report if there are no injuries. Other cities do, but on an availability basis. If you really want to file a police report, go to the police or sheriff station and they’ll take a report.
Q: The insurance company is saying that the bicycle collision was my fault because the police report says the collision was my fault. What should I do?
A: Insurance companies will use any excuse to not pay a claim or to pay you as little as possible. They often use the excuse of the police report saying the cyclist is at fault for the bike collision. Your bicycle accident lawyer should be able to get to the truth when the officer is called to give sworn testimony at a deposition.
COST OF A BICYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYER
Q: How much does a bicycle accident lawyer cost?
A: A bicycle accident lawyer should take your case on a contingency basis. This means you pay no retainer or upfront fees. All the costs – including the cost of the attorney – is covered by the bicycle accident attorney. When the case is resolved the costs and a pre-agreed percentage of the verdict or settlement is taken out of the compensation obtained.
Q: If the bicycle accident lawyer loses my case, do I have to pay court costs and the attorney?
A: In most situations, if the bicycle accident lawyer loses the case, you pay nothing to reimburse the lawyer for costs or their time.
HOW MUCH YOUR CASE IS WORTH
Q: How do I know how much my bicycle accident case is worth?
A: There are four major elements that determine how much your bicycle accident case is worth: 1.) What damages did you suffer; 2.) How much insurance is available; 3.) Who was liable for the collision; and 4.) Which bicycle accident lawyer you hire to represent you.
Q: Do I have a case if I didn’t suffer serious damages in my bicycle accident case?
A: You might. If your damages are $10,000 or less, you may be able to take your case to small claims court. But it’s always best to contact a bicycle accident attorney and get their perspective about your situation.
INSURANCE AND BICYCLE ACCIDENTS
Q: How do I get uninsured or under-insured motorist insurance?
A: If you have car insurance, you probably have some amount of uninsured motorist insurance. Uninsured motorist insurance kicks in when you either don’t know who hit you – such as in a hit-and-run – or if your damages are more than the amount of insurance the other party carries. Uninsured motorist insurance is very inexpensive. It is wise to increase it to as much as the insurance company will allow.
Q: Can my insurance company raise my premium if I put in a claim for uninsured motorist insurance?
A: In California, it is illegal for insurance companies to raise your rates if you collect on your uninsured motorist insurance.
Q: What is comparative negligence?
A: Comparative negligence is when each participant in the bicycle collision is partially at fault. For example, if you are found 10% at fault for the bicycle accident, and if you get a verdict or settlement for $100,000, that means you will collect $90,000 instead of the full $100,000.
LIABILITY FOR A BICYCLE ACCIDENT
Q: Who could be liable for my bicycle accident?
A: You never really know who is liable for the bicycle accident until an investigation is done. It could be the driver of the motor vehicle, the repair shop of the motor vehicle or of the bicycle; the manufacturer of the motor vehicle or of the bicycle; or the government entity responsible for the road if there’s a dangerous road condition. Or, it could be any combination of the above.
Q: What damages can I recover compensation for?
A: You may be eligible to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, pain and suffering, and property damage. If you lost a loved one in a wrongful death, you also may be eligible for funeral expenses and other compensation for your economic losses.