Balancing Through Adversity

Car Accident Lawyer

Bicycles are fun, good exercise and a lot easier to park than a car. Sharing the road with much larger vehicles can be hazardous, though, and bike accidents are an unfortunate reality. As an experienced car accident lawyer from Hall-Justice Law Firm explains, if a motorist does hit you, you might hear very quickly from their insurance company with an offer to settle your claim before you’ve even had a chance to see your doctor. Deciding whether and when to settle your claim depends on a number of factors. 

Different Injuries, Different Answers

Most importantly, you need to determine the extent of your injury. A straightforward injury like a simple fracture may offer a certain prognosis, a full recovery and an easily quantifiable economic impact on you. More complex injuries, such as damage to the knee joint or any sort of neurologic trauma, often take longer to diagnose and have a much greater impact on all aspects of your life. They also create more scope for disagreement between your doctor and the insurance company’s medical expert.

When Settling Early Makes Sense

The defendant’s insurance company is likely to pressure you to settle early, for as little as possible, but sometimes settling quickly makes sense for you, too. If all sides agree on the extent of your injury and if what the insurance company is offering is close to what you could win at trial, then you may be in a good position to take the money and move on with your life. 

When to Hold Out

On the other hand, if your doctor wants to wait a few months to fully understand the extent of your injury, then you’ll want to hold out for more time before agreeing to anything. If the insurance company is offering much less than is typically awarded for the kind of injury you have – or if they dispute your doctor’s diagnosis – then you’ll probably want to reject their initial settlement offer. 

No Settlement Today Doesn’t Mean Trial Tomorrow

Saying no to an offer doesn’t mean you’re going to trial. It just means you’re going to have to muster the arguments that will have the most persuasive force with the defendant’s insurance company and negotiate. Going to trial is expensive and unpredictable and introduces non-medical factors that require professional expertise to weigh, such as the credibility of medical experts and the plaintiff friendliness of your jurisdiction. It’s generally only worthwhile if the insurance company’s settlement offer is significantly below what you’d be likely to win at trial.

Deciding whether to settle your accident claim is a complicated balancing act. A good lawyer with experience in the injuries and issues surrounding bicycle accidents can help you find the answer that works best for you.