If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you may want to get compensation for your loss from the responsible party. Knowing where to start, however, can be difficult. Although you do not have to be a lawyer to pursue a bicycle accident injury claim, it certainly helps to at least have one on your side. One important fact to know is that 99 percent of personal injury claims are settled out of court. The first step is not to go to the courthouse.
1. Go to the Doctor
The first thing you should do after your bicycle accident, counsel or no counsel, is to see a doctor. We recommend clients be seen in an emergency room, urgent care facility, or by a primary care physician the same day of the accident.
The basis of most any personal injury damage award is the injuries suffered by the plaintiff. The only way to know the extent of your injuries and the cost of your medical care is to receive medical treatment.
2. Check the Statute of Limitations
In order to avoid a lawsuit, you must settle your case before the statute of limitations runs out. In Montana, the statute of limitations for negligence is three years from the day of the accident. That means that you must complete all the steps in this list within three years. If three years are near at hand, you had better file a complaint in the court system. You can find forms on your state court’s website.
3. Gather Evidence and Records
Once you have determined whether or not you have time to pursue your case without filing a complaint, you need to begin building your case. Viable personal injury cases are built on evidence. You must prove that the other party owes you a duty of care and that they breached it. You must also show that that breach was the cause of your injuries.
You will need police reports, accident reports, witness statements, photographs, and any other documents you can find regarding your case. You also need all of your medical records and bills.
4. Write a Demand Letter
Once you have gathered your evidence, you will need to present it to the other party or their insurance company. You will write a letter, detailing the bicycle accident, your injuries, and your demands for damages. Use the letter to explain how the other party is at fault for the accident. It is advisable to add a deadline for reply to your letter. Insurance companies usually have thirty days to respond.
Next, send this letter along with all of your documentary evidence to the opposing party and wait for a response.
5. Negotiate of Litigate
If the opposing party responds to your letter you may be able to negotiate a settlement where they reimburse you for your medical expenses and property damage. If you do not receive a reply, you will have to file a claim in district court.
The best way to pursue your bicycle injury claim is to hire a bicycle accident attorney to help you make the best recovery possible. The attorneys with The Advocates have decades of experience helping bicycle accident victims in Montana win just compensation for their injuries and losses. Don’t wait. Contact an Advocate today to begin down the road to recovery. Simply call (406) 629-1411, fill out the form below, or chat with a live attorney from our homepage. You deserve an Advocate!