Do I need a personal injury lawyer for bicycle crash, when I’m unemployed and uninsured? I was involved in a classic right hook from a motorist. I was riding my bicycle down the sidewalk because the road was too dangerous to ride on the street. It was going downhill with no available bike lane, during rush hour. As I was riding down, the motorist took a right turn, and signaled into the parking lot last minute. I panicked, applied my brakes which propelled me off my bike in hitting the right fender, damaging it. The motorist told me, being the witness, that she was distracted because she was looking for someone when she was turning. I then was rushed to ER. The police report states I was the one who caused the collusion due to dangerous speed, and the fact that I was riding on the sidewalk which is prohibited in Los Angeles County (Manhattan Beach area), California. The officer omitted the fact the motorist admitted his fault from the police report. I’m unemployed, no health/car insurance, medical bills stacking. Do I talk to the other parties insurance company myself or do I hire an attorney, which I can’t afford, when the report is against me?
In many cases, the client cannot afford to pay court costs and expenses as they are incurred. Counsel can agree, but is not required, to advance expenses on behalf of the client. Ordinarily, the client is ultimately responsible for the payment of costs and expenses. However, attorney and client may agree to make the repayment obligation contingent on the outcome of the case. [CRPC 4–210(A)(3); Ojeda v. Sharp Cabrillo Hosp., supra, 8 CA4th at 9, 21, 10 CR2d at 235, 243–244]. In such event, of course, the attorney has a right to repayment only if the client prevails in the action (by judgment or settlement) as specified in the agreement (see ¶ 1:169). As to insurance companies, many of them use “in-house” lawyers to handle routine cases. Unlike “independent” counsel who are retained on a case-by-case basis to defend selected claims, these defense attorneys are full-time employees of the insurance carrier. In-house counsels usually are specialists in the defense of bodily injury claims. But for settlement purposes, they typically are used only as “conduits” between claimant’s attorney and the claims representative—i.e., as a vehicle to communicate the positions of each side. Claims personnel are less likely to be persuaded by the settlement recommendations of their own legal staff—particularly where the opinion markedly differs from their own. On the other hand, claims personnel generally are more amenable to the settlement recommendations of independent counsel. Thus, so long as you can convince such attorney of the merits of the claim, you are likely to have greater success in settling at your “bottom line” figure than if negotiations had continued through the carrier’s in-house counsel. (Of course, if the carrier does assign in-house counsel to the case, you should continue negotiations with an open mind; if a compromise cannot be achieved at this stage, there is still a chance for success at a later time—e.g., deposition, arbitration hearing, mandatory settlement conference, etc.). It is best to consult a lawyer in order to help you with your personal injury case.
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