Q: How soon after my bike accident should I call?
A: Give me a call as soon as you can. Do not talk to an insurance company (even your own) until after you have consulted with a lawyer. You don't want to give the insurance company any reason to blame you or deny your claim completely. If you decide to hire a lawyer, your lawyer will handle all communication with the insurance company and can figure out what insurance coverage is in place to cover your medical expenses, lost wages and damaged bike.

Q: How much does it cost?
A: All cases are handled on a contingency fee basis. This means that if there is no recovery, there is no fee.

Q: Do I pay for costs as they are incurred?
A: No. While I'm working on your case, I will write checks for things like filing fees, expert witness fees, process service fees, medical record copying charges, etc. Costs can get expensive, especially if your case requires litigation, but I will advance these costs and then deduct them from the amount I'm able to recover for you at the end of your case.

Q: Are there any hidden fees?
A: No. There are no additional or hidden fees for consultations, opening your file, long distance phone calls, etc. Before you hire a lawyer, make sure you find out what they will be charging you, as these hidden costs can add up.

Q: Do I get to talk to you when I call?
A: Yes. You will always talk with me when you call. I answer my phone when I am at my desk. If you leave me a voicemail, I will usually return your call the same day.

Q: Can you help me figure out if I should pursue a legal case?
A: Yes. I do not charge for initial legal consultations, so give me a call and we can talk about the specific facts of your case and discuss your injuries and damages. I will give you my legal opinion free of charge and then you can decide if you want to work with an attorney or not.

Q: How long will it take to resolve my case?
A: The time it takes to resolve your case depends on many factors, but the primary factor is how quickly you recover from your injuries. This can take time and it is important not to rush your recovery. If you are still actively treating, it is important to have an attorney working on your case, but it’s too soon to talk about settlement because it is impossible to know the full nature and extent of your injuries. Once you are completely done treating, the extent of all your medical costs can be incorporated into the settlement. Once you accept a settlement offer, your case is over forever, so it is important to make sure that all of your damages and expenses are factored into any settlement offers.

Q: Do all cases end up in litigation?
A: No. In fact, most don't. Although most cases don't end up seeing the light of a courtroom, I prepare every case as if it is going to trial. This includes hiring the necessary experts and preparing a case strategy early on. These techniques provide an excellent foundation for negotiating with insurance companies and streamline litigation if you are not happy with the insurance company's offer.

Q: How much time will I need to spend on my case after I hire you?
A: The main reason to hire a lawyer is so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. My goal is to make sure you have the time and energy to make the best recovery possible, so I manage all of the legal aspects of your case. I like to meet my new clients in person at the start of the case, but after that, we can primarily talk via phone or email. If your case requires litigation, I will need your help to answer questions in writing and in person, so that takes a little more time on your part. However, I do everything I can to minimize the amount of time you have to spend on your case, even if we do need to litigate.

Q: Should I accept the insurance company’s settlement offer?
A: It depends. Most of the time, insurance companies will initially offer you a settlement that is far below the true value of your case. If you have already received an offer for your injuries, call me and I will let you know if the insurance company’s offer is fair or not. Often times, I can get insurance companies to substantially increase the amount of their settlement offers.

Q: What if the driver who hit me does not have auto insurance or doesn't have enough insurance?
A: Most cyclists have no idea that their own auto insurance will pay if they are hit by an uninsured or under-insured driver. If you purchased "uninsured motorist" (UIM) coverage on your auto policy, it will pay for your damages if you are hit by an uninsured driver while riding your bike or if the driver did not have enough insurance to fully compensate you for your injuries. If you are unsure how much UIM coverage you have on your auto policy, you should ask your insurance agent and consider increasing your UIM limits.

Q: Can I recover even if the driver did not make contact with me?
A: Yes. In many cases, actual physical contact is not required for a driver to be held legally responsibility for causing a crash. Often, riders have a split-second to take evasive action and sometimes end up going over their handlebars or hitting curbs or other vehicles in order to avoid a collision with a negligent driver. You don't have to actually get physically hit by a car to recover from an at-fault party.

Q: Will my auto insurance pay if I injure a pedestrian or hit a car while I'm riding my bike?
A: No. In these instances, your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance will often cover you if you are at fault.

Q: Do I even need a lawyer?
A: There are a number of reasons to hire an attorney, but the primary benefit of working with a lawyer is leverage. If you hire me to work on your case, I will negotiate with the insurance company to settle your case. If you don't like the insurance company's offer, then you already have your lawyer on board to pursue litigation. Having a lawyer gives you a "Plan B" if the insurance company's offer is unreasonable. Of course you can negotiate with the insurance company without a lawyer, but the settlement offer you receive will be a "take it or leave it" offer. Working with a lawyer ensures you have the leverage to obtain the maximum value for your case. Plus, your lawyer will be doing all of the legwork on your case during your recovery so you can focus on healing.

Q: Can you help me if I want to handle my claim myself?
A: Yes. As a cyclist who has been hit myself, I understand how overwhelming the situation can be. There are many traps waiting to ensnare those who are not used to dealing with the insurance companies on a regular basis. I am happy to advise you, at no charge, on how to evaluate your claim for personal injuries.

Q: Can I hire you if I was injured outside of Seattle?
A: Yes. Rainier Bike Law is located in Seattle, but I handle cases in most counties in Washington.

Do I Need A Lawyer?

You can call or email me for a free consultation with no strings attached. You can ask me about your mounting medical bills, time lost from work, insurance company hassles, loss of transportation, etc. I will help you determine if you would benefit from hiring a lawyer or if you should handle your personal injury claim on your own. You not only have your injuries to think about, you also have your legal rights to consider and I can help demystify the legal process for you.
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Do I Have A Case?

Bicyclists are often blamed for causing collisions even when they are obeying the rules of the road. Learn about what factors are important in evaluating fault for your bicycle accident case in Washington. Whether you were cut off, doored, run off the road or rear-ended, I can discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case with you. If you don't have a case, or if you can handle it on your own, I can help you figure that out, too.

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What's My Case Worth?

There are a number of factors that the insurance companies look at in evaluating your case: your injuries, whether you were hospitalized, if you need (or will need) surgery, if there are permanent injuries or scarring, if you missed work, who was at fault and insurance coverage details. Hiring an attorney who rides will help maximize your recovery for medical bills, new equipment, lost income and pain and suffering.
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How Much Does It Cost?

I work on a contingency fee basis. This means my fee comes from the money I recover for you. You are not "charged" every time you want to call or email your attorney and I encourage frequent contact so I can better represent you. Having me on your side from the beginning of your case lets you focus on recovering from your injuries, knowing that every aspect of your bike accident is being handled by a professional, knowledgeable, compassionate attorney who has your best interest in mind.

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