What to do if you’re in a bicycle accident
After you have been in a bicycle accident, don’t automatically assume that you are not injured because you can walk away from it. Too many people have made the mistake of walking away from an accident without being checked out by a doctor. Only later do they find out that they have long-term injuries, and didn’t get valuable information about the person who hit them. If you were involved in a bicycle accident, before you do anything else, stop and think.
Think Slowly and Clearly
- Get Out of the Street ASAP – The street can be a dangerous place to be. You don’t want to be lying down or sitting in the street and have someone rear-end the car that just hit you, having the car hit you once again. Have someone at the accident scene help you move onto the sidewalk. If you are injured and cannot be moved, remain where you are and ask that the police be called to secure the area.
- Always Assume You Have an Injury – Don’t assume that you are not injured just because you aren’t in extreme pain. What initially appears to be a minor injury or no injury at all may very well be a serious one. Far too many people have made that assumption and later found out that they were seriously hurt.
- Call the Police – It’s important to have the police on-site so they can make out a car accident police report, and assess the situation. When the officer arrives he/she will gather all pertinent information, which will make it easier to follow-up on if in fact you are injured. Keep in mind that you could be making it very difficult if not impossible to claim injuries and to find the person who hit you if you don’t contact the police. Also, if the driver is at fault, they will be ticketed. If you have to sue for injuries, your case will be easier to settle if the driver was issued a ticket.
- Never Tell Anyone You Are Not Hurt – Never tell anyone, including the police that you are not injured. You will be asked how you feel, and you do want to be honest about that so that medical personnel can be called. Instead, if a police officer asks if you are injured, say that you are unsure. If you are asked if you can stand, say that you will try with the help of others. But don’t say you are not injured. Leave that diagnosis to medical personnel at the accident scene.
- Provide Details To The Police Officer – Sometimes, police officers will not ask an injured person what happened in the car accident. You want your statement to be included in the car accident report. If the officer does not take a statement from you then, your lawyer can have that information included in the report.
- Obtain Medical Attention – Go see a doctor at least once soon after the accident. There are three reasons for that: First, you need to find out if you have any injuries, even if they are minor; second, you need to document that you were checked out so that if you develop medical problems later on you have a record of it; and third, the driver of the car that hit you may claim you were not injured in the car accident. Remember, there is never a good reason to not be checked out by a doctor.
- Obtain Witness Information – Try to get the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the car accident. If you are unable to do that, ask someone at the car accident scene to do it for you. Do NOT rely on the police to gather that information. Too often, that information is never obtained by them.
- Get The Driver’s Information – Ask the other driver(s) for their personal information, such as:
- Name; License; Insurance company and contact information; License plate number; Make, model, color, and year of vehicle; and contact phone numbers.
Don’t take the others driver’s word for it. Many people will give you false information and then disappear from an accident scene before the police arrive. Verify all information provided to you by looking at their license, insurance information, etc.
- Document What Happened – Make mental notes of what you remember from the car accident. The traffic lights, time of day, weather conditions, whether other people were around you, etc. Anything and everything you can remember will be helpful. At your first opportunity, write that information down so that it can be referred to later on.
- Leave Evidence Intact – After the bicycle accident, do NOT repair any damage to the bicycle, do NOT clean or repair any clothes you were wearing, etc. If your injuries are visible, have someone take pictures of them. As your injuries progress (i.e. bruising and injuries may become more visible over time), it is important that they are documented as well. Any and all pictures or video that are taken need to be marked with an accurate date and time stamp. If you initiate a lawsuit against the person responsible for your injuries, there may be a time when you need to show proof of injuries to your attorney.
- Don’t Communicate with Insurance Company – One of the biggest mistakes people make is to talk with the driver’s insurance company before consulting with an attorney. Insurance company representative’s job is to get you to make statements that could harm any liability case you will initiate. When you talk with the insurance company, reps they will record every word you say, and then use your words against you later on.
- Don’t Talk About The Accident – Most people think it is acceptable to talk about their accident with friends and family. DON’T do it. If you say anything that can be used against you by the insurance company, and the people you told it to are asked to testify, your words may come back to haunt you. Furthermore, when you talk with doctors and nurses, just discuss your injuries and not the accident. The only person you should talk to about the accident is your attorney. It will be the job of your attorney to disseminate the proper accident information to only those who need to know.
- Talk with a Personal Injury Attorney – Personal injury attorneys who have experience litigating bicycle accidents can be helpful to injured persons. If you have any questions about your accident, an experienced lawyer will be able to answer your questions.
Bicycle accidents may seem simple on the surface, but can actually be very complex. A personal injury attorney who has extensive experience dealing with bicycle accidents can advise you how to: proceed, negotiate with the insurance companies, and represent you if you decide to file a lawsuit. At M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers, we have experience in bicycle injury claims. If you decide to retain our services, we will investigate the accident and represent your interests to the best of our experience and abilities. Please give us a call for a free consultation.