If you are pursuing a bicycle accident case, you may be wondering what steps are involved and how long it will take to recover compensation. While each case is different, here is a general timeline of what to expect.
Recovery and Investigation
During the first six months, you will typically focus on recovering from your injuries, and your attorney will begin the initial investigation.
Treatment and Recovery
Continuing medical treatment after a bicycle accident injury is the top priority. Not only is it critical for your health, but any gap in treatment can significantly impact your claim as the at-fault party’s insurance company can argue that your injuries are not as severe as you state they are.
Once you hire a bicycle accident lawyer they will investigate to build your case and collect evidence to support it. That will involve taking photos or video of the accident scene, speaking to eyewitnesses, obtaining police reports, copies of medical records, pay stubs, receipts for any accident-related expenses, hiring experts if necessary, and more.
Demand Letter and Negotiations
Once you recover or reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), your attorney will be able to accurately estimate the value of your claim and can write a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurer. The demand letter will include details of the case, the evidence you have, and the amount you request to resolve the case. The insurer will typically send a counter-offer, then negotiations may go back and forth for some time. If you can reach a settlement agreement then your case is complete and you will receive compensation in the following weeks.
Filing a Lawsuit
In the latter part of the first year of your bicycle accident injury case, either negotiations will continue or you may choose to file a lawsuit. Under California’s statute of limitations, you have the right to file a bicycle accident lawsuit at any point within two years of an injury. After filing the paperwork, the defendant (at-fault party) must be served and they have 21 days to respond. The discovery phase will then begin, which often takes some time since there is the exchanging of evidence, depositions, an independent medical examination requested by the defense, and the hiring of expert witnesses.
Mediation and Trial
In months 18 to 24, mediation may be attempted to resolve the case before trial. Most bicycle accident cases end with a settlement at this point. If your claim heads to the courtroom, the trial itself may only take days, but some go on for weeks or even months.
If you are awarded at trial, it can still take months or years before you receive compensation if the defense files post-trial motions and appeals that cause a delay. On the other hand, if your case settles most insurers will send payment within 30 days of receiving a signed release of liability.
Going through the claims process can be stressful. With a Fresno bicycle accident attorney helping you navigate every stage, you can have peace of mind that your rights are being advocated for and that you will recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation on your injury case.