If you or someone in your family has suffered a spinal cord injury (SCI) in a bicycle accident, you may already be familiar with the exorbitant medical costs that tend to accompany such a diagnosis. It is also common for victims to be put out of work for several months during recovery, and many are never able to earn an income again.
Beyond the direct financial losses, there are also non-economic damages to consider such as lost enjoyment in life and pain and suffering. Because these damages can be so substantial, insurance companies have plenty of incentive to dispute spinal cord injury claims.
If you intend to pursue damages following an SCI diagnosis, you probably have a lot of questions. Your best source of guidance would be a personal injury attorney. Fortunately, most bicycle accident lawyers offer free consultations, so you won’t have to pay anything to get personalized answers to your questions.
Read on for the answers to a few general FAQs about these cases.
1. What Qualities Should I Look for in an Attorney?
Even if a prospective attorney accepts bicycle accident cases, there’s no guarantee that they have handled spinal cord injury claims. Cases that involve SCI tend to be especially complex since the victim is often seeking compensation for future damages such as anticipated healthcare costs, domestic help, and loss of income-earning capacity. The formulas used to calculate these damages are complicated, and it is often necessary to bring in medical, financial, and vocational experts to provide expert opinion testimony.
Given the unique challenges that these cases pose, it is important that you hire a lawyer with the right credentials and resources to properly litigate your case. Below are a few qualities you should look for in an attorney:
- The Right Experience: Make sure the lawyer has a history of success in both spinal cord injury cases and bicycle accident cases. The attorney should also be a seasoned litigator. This not only will demonstrate that he or she is willing to proceed to litigation if necessary, but it will also send a message to the opposing party that your lawyer isn’t afraid to file a lawsuit if they refuse to pay a fair settlement.
- Positive Testimonials: What do online reviews say about the law firm? Were past clients satisfied with the representation they received? Reading testimonials can give you an idea of what it’s like to work with the lawyer, and it can help you determine if he or she can actually deliver results or just talks a big game.
- Honesty: If your case has weaknesses, the lawyer should be honest about them from day one. When an attorney is willing to say what you don’t want to hear, this is a good sign that he or she will be honest and straightforward with you throughout the proceedings.
- Accessibility: It is almost inevitable that you will have pressing questions throughout the claims process. The sooner you get the answers you seek, the less stressful the proceedings will be. This is why the best spinal cord injury lawyers provide their clients with a direct line of contact and make themselves available after office hours.
2. Can I Pursue Compensation for Future Medical Costs?
Any medical costs that you are reasonably certain to incur in the future as a result of the tort might be recoverable. Besides the cost of surgeries and medication, you may also be able to recover compensation for home care, transportation to and from doctor’s visits, physical therapy, and any other reasonable and necessary costs arising from your injury.
3. What Role Might Expert Witnesses Play in My Spinal Cord Injury Case?
Expert witnesses often play an essential role in determining the outcome of personal injury cases. This is especially true in spinal cord injury cases since this is such a complex diagnosis that comes with major financial implications.
Your lawyer might consult with medical, financial, and vocational experts when building your claim. Their input may be necessary to determine the kinds of treatment you will need, the amount of time you will be out of work, and the total cost of your damages.
If your case proceeds to litigation, it is likely that expert witnesses will be deposed during the discovery phase. Both your attorney and the legal team of the defense will have an opportunity to depose expert witnesses. It is important, therefore, that you hire a lawyer who has extensive experience litigating catastrophic injury cases. Such an attorney will know how to navigate the discovery phase and get the most value out of expert witness deposition.
4. Will I Have to Go to Trial?
Most personal injury cases do not proceed all the way to trial, but given the complex nature of spinal cord injury cases, there’s no way to guarantee that the defense will settle. If the defense refuses to cooperate, then proceeding to litigation might be the best option. If no settlement is reached after discovery and alternative dispute resolution, trial would be the next step.
The best attorneys do everything in their power to reach a fair settlement without having to proceed to the latter stages of litigation. This not only can reduce the duration of the proceedings but also can help accident victims avoid costs that would reduce their net recovery. This is achieved by the attorney handling the case from the beginning as if it would be going to Trial. That said, it is important that you hire a lawyer who is willing to go all the way to trial if it is in your best interests to do so.
Contact Us Today to Speak with a Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Long Beach
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
If you or someone you love was diagnosed with SCI after a bicycle accident, turn to the Law Office of Michael D. Waks. We will review the facts of your case during a free consultation and help you determine the most strategic way to proceed. Send us a message or dial (562) 206-1939 to speak with a member of our team. We can come to you if you are unable to come to us.
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