In the event that a bicyclist is involved in accident with a vehicle, or has an accident as a result of a roadway hazard, there are important steps that should be taken to ensure the bicyclist can file a legal claim and receive fair and just compensation for any damages.
Actions to Take at the Scene of the Accident
Call 911, and advise that you’ve been involved in an accident. Request emergency medical services. If a driver is involved in the accident, request their insurance and personal information, including name, address and phone number. You’ll need the name of the driver’s insurance company, the policy number and the phone number.
Avoid Discussing Who Is at Fault
It’s important that you not make any statements until the police arrive. The police will prepare a report that will serve as evidence in any legal case you may pursue. The police can provide you with a reference number for the report, and you can pick the report up at the police station a few days after the accident. There is typically a small fee to obtain a copy of the report.
Point Out Any Witnesses
If there were any witnesses to the accident, point them out to the police so the police can take their statements. Witness statements are included in the police report and can be beneficial in legal proceedings.
Get Any Needed Medical Treatment
Even if you think you may not have been injured, accept any medical care that is offered, including transport to an emergency room. Adrenaline is often flowing after an accident and it can mask pain you may have from injuries, so it’s important to be evaluated. Let the professionals decide whether you’ve sustained any injuries.
Compiling the Evidence for Your Case
While still at the scene of an accident, take as many photos as possible, using a camera or cell phone. Photograph anything broken or damaged on the bike or vehicle. Photograph street sign, guardrails, skid marks or anything damaged in the area by the collision. Photograph any injuries, or torn or bloody clothing.
Follow Up Personally with Witnesses
Ask witnesses at the scene for their contact information for your records. Ask if they’ll write a brief statement regarding what they witnessed, and ask them to sign and date each page of the statement. If you are unable to ask due to injuries, ask someone else at the scene to help you with this. Make note of any statements the driver might make taking responsibility for the accidents. Drivers will sometimes says things like “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you,” or “It was my fault.” This type of statement can later be used as evidence in court to help establish fault.
Make Note of Hazardous Road Conditions
If your accident was the result of colliding with an object in the road, such as a broken pavement, make a note of exactly where the accident occurred. Make note of street signs, landmarks or mile markers. Take photos of the scene where the accident happened, along with photos of reference points, like area businesses or street signs. This information can be useful in determining what entity is responsible for the maintenance of the roadway. You can file an injury claim with the appropriate government division this way. Do be aware that some state and county governments may require a claim be filed within 30 days of the date of injury.
Make Good Notes and Get Follow up Treatment
Soon after the accident, ideally within a day or two, it’s important to write a detailed account, making note of everything you recall. Don’t leave out any details, even if they seem unimportant to you at the time. Follow the instructions of the emergency room doctor regarding follow up care. Emergency care immediately following the accident and any recommended follow up care is critical to proving any injuries sustained were as a result of the accident and not something else.
Don’t Trivialize Bicycle Accidents
A collision between a car and a bicycle can be just as serious as a collision between two cars. A driver must stop at the scene and wait for police. Failing to do so can be considered a hit and run, which can result in a felony conviction. If a driver should flee the scene, notify the police during your 911 call.
Drivers may express remorse for having caused an accident, and while you may feel compassion, remember, their regret will not pay your medical bills and other damages. Don’t simply accept their apology and let them off the hook for their responsibility. Remember too, most personal injury claims are paid by the driver’s insurance company and will not have to come out of the driver’s pocket.
If you were injured during the accident, you may want to speak to an attorney who can advise you on what your legal options are and how to get adequate compensation for your injuries. Our network of experienced accident attorneys can assist you. Call us at: 855-272-6990.