Being in a collision with a vehicle while you are on a bike can be a very traumatic experience. Bicyclists have little protection against car accidents, and can easily suffer serious bodily injury in addition to costly bicycle damage. These problems can be extremely costly, and in order to obtain fair compensation from your insurance company or from the vehicle driver, there are a few key things you need to do. If you are ever in a bicycle accident, know what steps to take in order to protect yourself legally.
Following a bicycle accident, make sure you do the following:
- Contact the Police: Whether someone else called 911, or you do it yourself, you need to be in contact with the police. Wait for help to arrive and make sure you receive a police report with a detailed account of the crash. Filing an accident report can help your case down the line, and will make it much easier for you to deal with insurance companies. Even if you don’t think you’re hurt, always do this as a precaution. If you do find yourself injured later on, you will want the access to police reports in order to make a case for yourself.
- Exchange Information: Whether the motorist who hit you is apologetic and kind or angry and uncooperative, do what you can to obtain their contact information and license plate number. If you can, take pictures of yourself, the bicycle, the car, and any other important aspects of the scene.
- Gather Witnesses: If anyone witnessed your crash, ask for their name and contact information. Unbiased bystanders can help provide information about the crash as they saw it. The officers will record this information as well, but it’s always good to cover your bases and obtain the information for your own records, too.
- See a Doctor: Again, even if you feel unharmed, always see a medical professional after an accident. You may have suffered an injury you don’t yet feel symptoms of, like latent whiplash, or the adrenaline could be masking signs of another injury. Get a professional medical opinion and make sure you have your own copies of the documents indicating your injuries.
- Take Notes: After you’ve received medical attention, write down everything you recall about the accident. You may forget later on, so record every detail as soon as possible. Include the time, place, weather conditions, how it happened, and so on. Also include any damages to your bicycle or other belongings.
- Seek Legal Help: Some accidents, especially those involving injury, can get quite complicated. Seeking legal help is almost always necessary, and can make the process much easier for the injured party. A personal injury attorney can advise you on how to proceed, how to deal with insurance companies, and even work with you through a lawsuit. Sometimes insurance companies don’t fully cover the costs of injuries and damages, so seeking further compensation through a lawsuit is the next best option.
If you were in a bicycle accident, contact Donovan & Morello, LLP Law Offices to discuss your legal options. Whether you need help dealing with insurance claims, or are looking to file a lawsuit, our attorneys can help.