Top Questions A Bicycle Attorney Is Asked About A Bicycle Crash Lawsuit
After 30+ years of representing people who suffered serious personal injuries in a bicycle crash or families who lost a loved one in a wrongful death, there are some questions that I’m asked 99% of the time during a first call.
Here is a selection of the frequently asked questions regarding a bicycle collision lawsuit. If your question isn’t in here, just contact me. I’m happy to answer your personal injury legal questions. There’s no charge and no obligation.
Bicycle Crash Lawsuits
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What do I do if the police report says I am responsible for my bicycle collision?
A: Approximately 9 out of 10 police reports I see are inaccurate and blame the cyclist for the bicycle collision. The bad news is that the insurance company often uses the police report as an excuse not to settle right away. The good news is that more often than not the inaccurate legal opinion is revealed during the deposition of the officer.
Q: Is the police report admissible as evidence in court?
A: In most situations, the police report is NOT admissible as evidence in court. Typically, the officer has not witnessed the collision itself. Therefore, they are collecting witness statements and whatever factual evidence is at the scene. So the police report is considered hearsay, meaning it’s second-hand information.
Q: If I am partially at fault for the bicycle collision, does that mean I have no case?
A: Not necessarily. California recognizes comparative liability. The amount of liability it is determined you are responsible for is subtracted from the amount the other person is required to pay you. For example, if you obtain a $100,000 verdict but you are determined to have 10% liability, you would receive $90,000 in compensation from the other party.
Q: How much is my bicycle crash case worth?
A: No one – no matter what they tell you – knows for sure what your case will be worth. After 30 years of representing cyclists, I can give you a pretty good “guesstimate,” but that is all it is. The major equation is how injured you are (which includes medical, work, and property damages); how much will those injuries affect you in the future; and how much insurance is available. Underlying all of this is who is liable for the bicycle collision, which entails factoring in the law.
Q: How long will my case take to settle?
A: It’s a rare bicycle collision lawsuit that settles quickly. It can easily take 2 to 3 years to resolve your case. One reason is that until your medical treatment is finished, we don’t want settle to ensure that all of your medical bills are included. Another reason is that most insurance companies want to delay settling as long as possible. They know how long a case takes so if they can delay settling, they keep the money until the last possible moment. A third reason is because the courts are jam-packed, a situation made even more critical with COVID-19 delays. In the best of times, criminal cases always have priority over civil cases. During COVID-19, with so many courts closed, civil cases are stacking up on the courts’ calendars.
Q: Is bringing in a bicycle crash attorney going to cost me anything?
A: Personal injury lawyers take bicycle crash cases and other personal injury cases on a contingency basis. This means you pay no upfront fees or retainers. Instead, in our agreement you agree to pay a percentage of whatever is recovered. As a bicycle collision attorney, I put up all the money necessary to take your case through the justice system. These costs also are deducted from whatever settlement or verdict I obtain. This means that we’re partners in the case. The more I recover for you, the more compensation I receive from the result.
Q: After I retain a bicycle crash attorney, what do I do next?
A: This is probably the most common question I get at the end of our consultation. My answer is always the same. Let me do my job. I’ll begin an investigation into your case; determine whom I believe is liable and the possible insurance involved; and, if you need it, provide you access to treatment and health care with excellent doctors, who take your case on a lien basis. Your job is to take care of your health; follow the doctor’s orders; complete the physical therapy prescribed for you; and put NOTHING about your health or the collision on social media.
The answers to these questions will vary depending on your specific situation. To know the legal options that are particular to you, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Jim Pocrass is a leading bicycle crash attorney with more than 30+ years of representing cyclists. A recreational cyclist himself. Jim is active in the bike community providing sponsorships for a variety of bicycle organizations for the publishing of collateral materials and for an array of events. Jim is a former board member of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and presently sits on the LACBC’s advisory committee. Jim also is a board member of the Eastside Riders Bicycle Club and of Los Angeles Walks. Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP represents people throughout California. It’s headquarters is in Century City and it has offices in Bakersfield.