FAQ’S: Bicycle Laws, Cases and Costs
Below are answers to some questions concerning bike laws, cyclists’ rights, and specifics about accident attorneys and the cases they represent.
I have been an avid cyclist for over 40 years and since 1987 I have dedicated my personal injury law practice soley to protecting the rights of injured cyclists.
A few reasons you should choose me to represent you in your bicycle injury case include:
- I only handle cycling cases.
- I have ridden bikes for 40 years and know how these accidents occur from the cyclist’s point of view.
- As someone who rides three to four times a week, I have been involved in three cycling accidents and know what it is like to be off the bike for long periods of time.
- I have personally handled over one thousand cycling cases and consulted on approximately five thousand additional potential bike cases. A typical adjuster or defense attorney has usually handled thirty such cases in his or her career.
- A certain percentage of each fee collected is donated back into the cycling community in the form of sponsorships.
- I ONLY handle bicycle cases, but I have the same basic contingency fee structure as non-cycling attorneys.
When your doctor releases you.
An initial consultation with a reputable personal injury lawyer is usually conducted on a complimentary basis and, if the case is accepted, the attorney works on a “contingency fee” basis. In other words, the fee is a percentage of the monetary recovery “if and when the case is resolved in your favor.” The percentage is usually between 33 1/3% and 40%.
No. Most attorneys will have a candid discussion with you in the first interview regarding “costs” versus “fees.” Fees are contingent but costs are not. Costs during the initial phases of the case can run between $6.00 for an accident report to $150.00 for a private investigator. These costs are generally “advanced” by the attorney and repaid through the settlement. Obviously some cases are more complex than others and costs can accelerate rapidly. Nonetheless, your attorney should always discuss costs with you before they are incurred. You should always have the final word. Remember, the lawyer works for you, not the other way around.
Hopefully, not much. This means you have a minor injury and will be back on your bike in a couple of days. However, if the injury is more serious such as a concussion, broken bone, separated shoulder, permanent scarring or torn cartilage, then the value increases accordingly. These cases typically require on-going medical care and sometimes surgery. It is hard to evaluate cases at the early stages because the costs of future medical care, loss of earnings, and disability or permanent injury are unknown. Nonetheless, assuming we can prove fault against the defendant, clients are advised in the first interview of a rough estimated value in the “thousands,” “tens of thousands,” “hundreds of thousands,” or more. It is impossible to be more specific until all the medical, loss of earnings, and disability records are reviewed.
95% of the cases in my office will be resolved in the client’s favor within nine months of the date of the accident. This may sound like a long time but keep in mind that cases proceeding to trial can take up to 3 years or more.
Fortunately, the property damage portion of the case can usually be resolved within the first 10 weeks of the case.
As soon as your doctor releases you. Some clients express concern that an early return to activities will work against them. It’s nonsense to think that if you were really injured you would be bed ridden. The big loss to my clients isn’t that they cannot ride, it’s that they cannot ride as intensely as they could before the accident. Let’s face it, a metric-century isn’t the same as a full-century.
Yes, if the case goes to Court. However, as indicated above, the vast majority of my cases are resolved prior to filing a lawsuit. Basically, a thorough early investigation and careful monitoring of the insurance adjuster will build a strong foundation that discourages the defendant from delaying the case. If the case does proceed towards a hearing, then it generally is resolved in a mediation or arbitration. These are new expedited procedures conducted by a retired judge or practicing attorney. The hearing usually takes about two to three hours as opposed to four or five days for a jury trial. Keep in mind that some cases still proceed to a full trial but they are clearly in the minority.
Yes. Although Gary Brusin is only licensed to practice law in California, various states allow him to associate with local counsel to handle cases outside of California. Mr. Brustin has participated in matters in Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Tennessee and Arkansas.