Proving Your Bicycle Accident Case – Understanding the Tactics Often Used by Defendants in Seeking to Deny or Minimize Damages
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a bicycle accident, it’s important that you carefully understand that tactics that are often used by defendants, their insurance companies, and their lawyers in seeking to deny liability and/or to minimize the damages that are rightfully owed to you. Frequently, these tactics include:
- Blaming the victim.
This is the case especially if there is no video of the crash, and also if there are no witnesses. We know that the vast majority of cyclists are extremely careful, particularly as any experienced cyclist knows, they are no match for a car or other vehicle.
Counsel for the defendants may try to characterize you as being reckless, darting around on your bike, weaving between cars, or engaging in other dangerous conduct. In a deposition, they may seek to prove that you somehow thought that the rights of cyclists are superior to cars. They may try to show you as being inattentive, particularly if you were listening to music when you were hit.
During depositions, we will be by your side, and can object to inappropriate questions and any bullying tactics that may be used by opposing counsel. In the interim, it is important to realize that “blaming the victim” tactics and trying to get an injury victim to doubt their own case will not work in our representation – we will fight back.
- Questioning Pain and Suffering.
Defense counsel are particularly adept at questioning the pain and suffering endured by an injury victim. The fact is, injuries often involve matters such as “soft tissue” injuries (like severe back and neck pain, which does not always show up on x-rays and MRIs). Severe injuries often lead to psychological issues, such as not being able to cycle again for fear of being hit, and matters such as anxiety and depression that can be caused by a number of factors relating to an injury. Defense counsel will often try to make injury victims deny the full extent of their injuries.
- Blaming someone else.
Other drivers causing distractions. Traffic issues. Signs and lights that were difficult to see. There are numerous other people and factors that may be to blame (in whole or part) for the crash – just not their client.
We are used to counsel for defendants trying to shift the blame onto others, and we do not accept these attempts at denying or minimizing liability. In cycling accidents, we focus our efforts on all those who we believe are liable, and make clear that we expect all defendants to pay their full share for the damages that were sustained.
- Questioning Future Medical Expenses, Care Costs, Lost Wages, & Pain and Suffering
When a cyclist is severely injured, particularly in the case of a spinal injury, paralysis, or a traumatic brain injury, their ongoing and future expenses can be astronomical. They may require significant future medical treatment, and continue to endure pain and suffering. If paralysis or a brain injury has resulted, they may require long-term treatment (and sometimes, a lifetime of round-the-clock care).
The possibility of having to pay for care, medical expenses, and other costs over the remaining lifetime of a person can be overwhelming. When these types of serious injuries result, defendants and their insurance companies will often try to do whatever they can to minimize their liability. Our job is to hold them accountable for every single dollar which they owe.
- Loss of Consortium and Companionship
Serious and permanent injuries not only affect the person injured – they also affect spouses and other family members, particularly younger children.
When serious injuries significantly disrupt the future lifestyle of an injury victim, we seek to hold those responsible to the fullest extent allowed under the law.
Proving Your Cycling Case
Proving a cycling case is requires painstaking, meticulous work.
To prove a client’s case, in addition to preparing legal filings to advance a lawsuit on behalf of our clients, we often:
- Retain accident reconstructionists and other crash experts to investigate crash scenes and prepare models showing how a crash occurred,
- Interview and depose witnesses,
- Depose all defendants,
- Seek any video that may exist showing the crash,
- Establish the damages that a client has ascertained from matters like medical costs and past lost wages,
- Determine what other defendants may be liable in addition to the driver who hit our client so that all of those who contributed to a crash can be held liable,
- Prepare documentation (possibly including a “day in the life” video) to show the pain and suffering endured by our client, and how our client’s injuries have affected them and their family,
- Retain medical professionals (including physicians, therapists, nurses, and others) who may be able to provide opinions regarding matters such as the severity of a client’s injuries, their medical prognosis, the possibilities of recovery (or the anticipated future condition of our client), and
- Hire experts and financial professionals, when necessary, to provide expert opinions concerning lost wages and the future care costs for clients who are permanently disabled.
We Invite You to Contact Our Firm for a Free Consultation
If you have been hurt in a cycling accident caused by someone else, or if your family has lost a loved one in a cycling accident, please call us for a free consultation. Once we learn about your case, we can advise how we can help.
There is no fee for this consultation, and we are not owed any fee unless and until we are successful in obtaining a recovery. We advance the litigation costs that are incurred while a case is ongoing, so you do not need to be concerned about paying such costs while your case is ongoing.