signing papersThis is the next post in a series of articles discussing issues that commonly arise in bicycle accident cases in Fort Worth, Texas. Our previous article discussed the need to seek immediate medical attention following a bike accident. Failing to do so can jeopardize a victim’s ability to prove that their injuries were actually caused by the collision. Injuries may be serious even if they do not immediately present themselves. In this post, we will review the process of dealing with insurance adjusters after an accident. Particularly, we will address the need to avoid accepting a settlement offer from insurance companies prematurely. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, it is important to retain a law as soon as possible to help ensure any settlement offer will adequately compensate you for your damages.

Very soon after an accident has occurred, the defendant’s insurance company will be notified and begin its investigation. Early in the process, an insurance adjuster will make contact with the victim to collect a statement and other information about the injuries. We recommend retaining a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident to work directly with the adjuster on the victim’s behalf. Once counsel is retained, they will then begin gathering evidence of the defendant’s liability. This evidence can include police reports, witness statements, photographs of the scene, etc. The attorney will also gather information about the injuries and damages sustained by the victim. When victims suffer serious injuries, it may take a significant period of time to understand their long-term medical prognosis and estimate the full amount of economic, physical, and other damages for which they are owed compensation. For instance, if the injured rider suffers a spinal injury, they may understand quickly that they have suffered from paralysis. It may take time, however, to ascertain whether they may ever be able to work again or if they will require ongoing therapy or surgeries to help heal from the injury. If so, their damages may include compensation for lost future wages and medical costs.

It is important to understand the insurance adjuster does not represent the victim. The adjuster’s goal is to minimize the exposure to the defendant. For injured parties and their families, the financial strain of lost wages or the prospect of lengthy litigation may seem daunting. Many are tempted to accept what may seem like a decent settlement offer just to put an end to the process. Agreeing to settle a case generally precludes the victim from pursuing further legal action or seeking additional funds. Retaining a lawyer to handle the negotiations on one’s behalf provides a much needed layer of insulation between the adjuster and the victim. It will allow the attorney to independently evaluate a settlement offer to help determine if it is fair and equitable in light of the damages suffered.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident, we recommend contacting legal counsel as soon as possible. Doing so will allow the law firm to handle insurance adjuster calls directly on your behalf. It will also give the attorney sufficient time to calculate the damages to which you may be entitled. We suggest locating a firm with multiple attorneys who are Board Certified in Personal Injury Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. This advice is true whether the accident occurred in Fort Worth, Dallas, or other areas of Texas.