After a Bicycle Accident
Steps to Take After a Bicycle Accident:
Keep an Eye on the Driver
Watching the driver reduces the chance the driver will flee. We have had several cases where the motorist stops, then leaves the scene – “slipping away” while bystanders render aid.
Call the Police
The police will investigate and prepare a detailed accident report. Even if your injuries seem minimal at first, they can develop into serious problems.
Photograph the accident scene before moving anything, including: your bicycle, your injuries, the scene, the car, the vehicle’s license plate, and the driver.
Don’t Discuss the Accident with Anyone Besides the Police
Often, drivers are polite and apologetic, but sometimes they can be agitated and hostile. Thank them for their assistance, and be certain to ask witnesses to wait until police to arrive.
Do Not Apologize or Accept Blame
This can be used against you.
Obtain the driver’s information, including: their auto insurance information, driver’s license, license plate number, and phone number. Try to collect names and contact information of witnesses. If you are unable to do so, ask a bystander to do it for you.
Once the Police Arrive
Explain how the accident occurred to the officer slowly, clearly and calmly so that it is accurately recorded in the police report. Report all injuries, no matter how minor, and do not minimize your injuries.
Allow Paramedics to Evaluate You
The adrenal response may make you believe that you are not injured, but Paramedics are able to objectively evaluate your condition. Allow them to evaluate you, and take their advice. If they advise that you need immediate medical care, allow them to transport you to a hospital emergency department.
Seek Medical Attention
Go to a hospital emergency department or urgent care immediately if you have any injuries, feel any pain, or are having any cognitive issues, such as cloudy thinking, poor memory, dizziness, etc. Be sure that the doctors and nurses understand that you were in an accident and that your injuries were caused by the accident.
Document Your Injuries
Medical records are the best way to document your injuries, so discuss your injuries in detail with all of your medical providers, and explain that your injuries are a result of the accident. Also, take clear photos of your injuries, e.g. scrapes, cuts, bruises, abrasions, road rash, etc. And finally, take a few minutes to write a description of the accident and your injuries as soon as possible. Include as many details as you can recall. This write-up can be extremely valuable later in your case.
Verify the Police Report
Request a copy of the accident report, witness statements, and any photographs the police may have taken at the scene. Your bicycle accident lawyer can gather this information for you and thoroughly review the report for any inaccuracies. If any are found, we will contact the officer to discuss corrections.
Review Your Automobile Insurance Policy
You may have uninsured or underinsured insurance coverage or medical payments coverage on your automobile policy that can apply to your bicycle accident case (even though you were not using your automobile). Insurance companies often try to deny insurance coverage to bicycle accident victims. BikeGuardians can often refute the denial and obtain coverage.
Do Not Give Recorded Statements to Any Insurance Company
Do not provide details or a recorded statement about the accident to any insurance company. Unfortunately, it is easy to say things that will damage your case. At BikeGuardians we rarely allow our clients to give recorded statements, and if we do, we are always present for the recording.
Never Sign Paperwork from an Insurance Company
Often, the insurance companies will ask you to sign ‘standard paperwork’ which includes medical authorizations. Providing an insurance company with a signed authorization can potentially give the insurance company unlimited access to your medical history and can damage your case. Also beware of a property damage “Release” that also releases the driver from all liability for your injuries.
Do Not Rush to Accept an Offer
Never sign a release or accept money until you have discussed the impact of your injuries and losses with a lawyer who can properly evaluate the claim. Insurance companies may try to settle your bicycle accident claim quickly – often before the full extent of your injuries is known.
Focus on Your Recovery
Your job is to recover from your injuries. BikeGuardians’ job is to shield you from legal and insurance issues, get you the best medical treatment, and attain the maximum possible compensation.
Seek Advice from a Bicycle Injury Lawyer
There are many issues involved in a bicycle accident case. BikeGuardians can advise you how best to proceed, given the details of your case. At BikeGuardians, initial case consultations are provided free of charge by one of our experienced bicyclist attorneys – not by intake clerks or marketing firms. You will receive specific information to guide you through the next critical steps you should take in your case. Even if you do not call BikeGuardians, please contact a bicycle injury lawyer to protect your rights.