Helpful Steps to Take After a Bicycle Accident
There are several steps that should be taken when a cyclist is hit by a car to protect your interests, equipment, and most importantly, your health.
Keep an Eye On the Driver
Watching the driver reduces the chance that the driver will flee. We=ve had several cases where the driver stops to render aid, then leaves the scene – “slipping away” while bystanders aid the cyclist.
Call the Police
Officers will investigate and file a thorough and detailed police report. Even if your injuries seem minimal to you, 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 any assistance they provide, and ask any witnesses to wait until police to arrive.
Do Not Apologize or Accept Blame
This can be used against you.
Get the driver=s information, including their auto insurance information, driver=s license, license plate number, and personal phone number. Try to collect names and contact information of all witnesses. If you are seriously injured, ask a bystander to do the work 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.
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
A provider=s medical records are the best way to document your injuries, so discuss your injuries in detail with all providers, and relate your injuries to the accident. Also, take clear photos of your bodily injuries i.e. 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. An experienced bicycle accident attorney can often cut through the denial and gain coverage.
Do Not Give Recorded Statements to Any Insurance Company
Do not provide details or a recorded statement about the accident to either insurance company. Unfortunately, it is easy to say things that will damage your case. At Bike Guardians we rarely allow our clients to make recorded statements, and if we do, we are always present for the recording.
Never Sign Paperwork from an Insurance Company
Often, the driver=s insurance company will ask you to sign ‘standard paperwork’ which includes medical records authorizations. Providing them with an authorization can potentially give the insurance company unlimited access to your medical history that can damage your case. Also beware of a property damage Arelease@ 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 discussed the impact of your injuries, economic losses, and other damages 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. An accident case can be difficult, time-consuming, and physically and emotionally exhausting. At Bike Guardians, we understand that our job is to shield you from all of these issues, get you the best medical treatment, and attain the maximum possible compensation. Call us today.
Seek Advice from a Bicycle Injury Lawyer
There are many other pitfalls involved in a bicycle accident case. A bicycle accident lawyer can advise you how best to proceed, given the details of your case. At Bike Guardians, initial case consultations are provided free of charge 7/24 by one of our experienced bicycle accident attorneys – not by intake clerks or marketing firms. In your consultation, 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 Bike Guardians, please contact a bicycle injury lawyer to protect your interests.