It is commonly known that cycling accidents injure and even kill thousands of people in the United States every year. If you’re in a bike accident and you’re the one driving it, it’s important to maintain calm after the crash. What you do immediately after the accident may have a big impact on how much compensation you get for your damages. I may also affect the result of any lawsuits resulting from the crash. Read on to learn about the steps you need to take after a bicycle accident.
Steps To Take If You’re Involved In A Bicycle Accident
If you have been in a bicycle accident, below is a list of 9 things you need to do.
#1 Stay Safe!
Make sure you’re safe! If you are in the middle of the road or bike path, move to the side and away from other cars and bicycles.
#2 Wait For The Police To Arrive
Call 911. It is of extreme importance to wait for the police to arrive at the scene so they can file a police report. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think you are injured. You may not realize you got hurt until hours after the accident. Sometimes injuries that seemed mild will develop into serious and more permanent injuries. If you leave the crash scene, you will not be able to identify the at-fault driver.
Wait for the police, and don’t try to negotiate with the driver. Some drivers will apologize and take the blame, only to later deny any blame or negligence. Once the police get there they can ticket the driver, and that could help you in settling the case with the insurance company.
#3 Get Your Version of Events into the Accident Report
Get your side of the story in the police report. Sometimes, the police will take the motorist’s statement but no the cyclist’s. Report all your injuries, no matter how small.
If after insisting, the police still refuse to include your statement in the police report, you can amend the report later.
#4 Exchange Information With Driver
If you can, get the driver’s name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, and insurance information. If there were any witnesses try and get their names and contact information as well. The police report won’t include all of this information. If you have been severely injured and can’t ask for this information, ask a bystander to do it for you.
#5 Document What Happened
If you are able to, take mental notes about the accident. Try and remember what happened, how it happened, when and where it happened. Which road, the traffic, and weather conditions as well. Then, as soon as you can, write it all down. It will be very beneficial to give it all to your lawyer.
#6 Collect Evidence
If you can, record the names and contact information of any witnesses. Take photographs of the injuries and damages in the scene of the accident. Leave your bike in the same position where the accident took place. Don’t fix anything or have anything inspected.
#7 Document Your Injuries
Make sure you see a doctor soon after the accident. Get all the medical records you can. The fact that you saw a doctor will serve as proof that you were actually injured and those records will document the extent of those injuries. Take several photos of your injuries immediately after the accident took place. You can also start a journal of symptoms and keep track of it every few days.
#8 Don’t Engage With The At-fault Party’s Insurance Company Or Lawyers.
Make sure to not communicate with the at-fault party’s insurance company or their lawyers before consulting with your attorney. Anything you tell them could be used against you later. Sometimes a letter from your lawyer to the insurance company will resolve any issues and avoid legal pitfalls. Actually, most injury cases can be settled without going to trial at all.
#9 Hire An Experienced Bicycle Injury Lawyer
Bicycle accidents can involve complex legal issues. You are going to need to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who understands and has handled bicycle accidents.
How To Reduce The Risk Of Being In A Bicycle Accident
Now that you’ve learned the steps to take after a bicycle accident, it is important that you know how to reduce the risk of being in one. There are a number of things you can do to reduce your bicycle accident risk:
- Wear a helmet! – Wearing one can be the single most important way to prevent a head injury. It can reduce up to 50% of the chances of a head injury.
- Get noticeable – A lot of bicycle accidents involving a car happen because the driver couldn’t see the bicycle. Add lights to the front and back of your bike and add reflectors to the frame, tires, and pedals. It’s also a good idea to wear bright-colored clothing.
- Don’t Drink and Cycle – Drunk cyclists experiment with the same impairments as drunk drivers. It can affect their vision, reaction time, and judgment. It is also considered a criminal offense.