Riding a bike can seem like a fairly routine activity until you encounter a drunk or distracted driver. Collisions between bikes and motor vehicles almost always result in injury, and the cost of medical bills can add up quickly. If you or someone you love was hit by a negligent driver, our Santa Barbara bicycle accident attorneys are here to help you fight for the settlement you deserve.
During your free initial consultation, a member of our team can evaluate the facts of your case, assess the evidence you’ve gathered, and provide strategic advice. We’ve won more than $300,000,000 for accident victims and their families. Call 1-800-GO-HARRIS to set up a case review.
Factors That Influence Settlement Calculations in Bicycle Accident Claims
How much is my claim worth? This is one of the most common questions we get from new clients—and it’s also one of the toughest to answer. The truth is that no attorney can guarantee a particular outcome for your case no matter how strongly the evidence seems to support your claim. What your attorney can do, however, is explain the factors that may influence the settlement calculations and then gather the evidence needed to pursue the highest settlement possible.
Below are just a few examples of factors that may affect the potential value of your claim:
- The Cost of Medical Care: If you were hit by a negligent driver while riding your bike, that driver will hopefully have insurance that will cover your healthcare costs. All motorists in California are required to carry auto insurance that meets certain bodily injury liability limits. Unfortunately, those limits often aren’t enough to cover the cost of treating serious injuries. In this scenario, our Santa Barbara bicycle accident lawyers can help you explore other avenues for pursuing compensation, which may include suing the at-fault driver directly or bringing a claim against your medical payments coverage or uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage.
- The Amount of Income You’ve Lost: It’s not uncommon for a bicycle accident victim to be sidelined from work for several weeks. For most Americans, missing just one paycheck is enough of a setback to fall behind on essential bills. Our attorneys can make sure your claim accounts for all income you’ve lost as well as any income you’re reasonably certain to lose in the future due to your injuries. We can also help you assess the options to stay afloat financially while your claim is pending.
- The Cost of Other Economic Damages: The term “economic damages” refers to the objectively verifiable losses stemming from a tort. In addition to medical care and lost income, economic damages may include property repairs or replacement, home and vehicle modifications, child care, domestic help, and alternative transportation. Generally speaking, a personal injury claimant has the right to pursue compensation for any reasonable and necessary expenses incurred as a direct result of a tort.
- Whether You Suffered Emotional Distress: Not all personal injury cases warrant emotional distress damages, but they may be available if you suffered a severe physical impact or shock that produced a physical disorder, or if you witnessed a loved one suffer a catastrophic injury or die.
- Whether Your Enjoyment in Life Has Been Affected: It goes without saying that a debilitating injury can diminish the victim’s enjoyment in life. Participating in the same activities, hobbies, or social events may no longer be possible. In these cases, claimants may be entitled to compensation for lost enjoyment in life, also called “hedonic damages.”
- The Nature of the Defendant’s Misconduct: California law allows courts to award punitive damages in personal injury cases that involve defendants who acted with malice, oppression, or fraud; however, punitive damages cannot be awarded against a government entity. That means if you were injured in a bicycle accident due to poor road conditions or due to the malicious behavior of a government employee, you wouldn’t be able to recover punitive damages from the government entity even if that entity is held liable for your compensatory damages.
California law also allows the spouse or registered domestic partner of a personal injury victim to pursue compensation for loss of consortium. These damages may be available if the injury results in a loss of intimate relations, affection, companionship, care, assistance, or moral support.
There are many other factors that could affect the settlement calculations. For example, if you were partially liable for the crash, your award of damages may be reduced by your own percentage of fault. Our Santa Barbara bicycle accident attorneys have an in-depth knowledge of the factors that influence settlement calculations, and we will use that knowledge and our proven legal strategies to help you fight for the highest payout possible.
Dial 1-800-GO-HARRIS for a Free Consultation with a Santa Barbara Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Our law office is here 24/7 to take your call, and there’s no charge for the initial consultation. Send us a message or dial 1-800-GO-HARRIS to speak with a member of our team.