What Should You Do After a Bike Accident?
When a bicyclist collides with a moving vehicle, the outcome can often be catastrophic. If you are an avid bike rider, it is important to know what to do immediately after the accident happens. Understanding what to do in the aftermath of a collision can play a huge role in your ability to protect your rights as well as your ability to recover financial restitution. Obtaining financial compensation can be vital in your journey to recovery from your injuries and can also be beneficial in repairing any damaged property you may have accrued. The following steps can help you protect your rights and interests in the aftermath of an accident.
Wait for a Responding Police Officer to Arrive
When an accident happens, it is likely that you will be disoriented and/or injured. In the aftermath of an accident, however, it is highly important to wait for a responding officer to arrive at the scene. The officer will make a police report that can help you when filing a personal injury claim.
When being involved in an accident, many accident victims fail to recognize their own injuries. In a majority of cases, this happens because emotions can play a role in a person’s ability to feel pain. According to the Hormone Health Network, when triggered, a person can experience a sudden adrenaline rush, which disallows a person’s ability to feel pain. Every person’s reaction to an accident will be different, and while it may take people a few hours to feel any pain, others will experience pain days after the accident has happened. Leaving the scene of an accident because you are unable to detect pain may cause you to lose the ability to recover compensation for your losses.
Another key reason to wait for the responding officer to arrive is so that your avoid negotiating with the other driver. In many cases, drivers will often accept blame for the accident and apologize, only to later retract and deny any wrongdoing. Some drivers can also attempt to deny that they were even involved in the accident. Waiting for a police officer to arrive can help to document the incident, which will often secure your version of events. Additionally, the officer may also cite the careless driver, which could be beneficial when settling the case with an insurance company.
The report also serves as a physical document, which is a key piece of evidence in the claims process. The officer will typically allow you to review the report and you should be vigilant about having your understanding of the accident documented.
Obtain Contact Information
If you are involved in an accident where your injuries do not prevent you from moving, attempt to obtain contact information from the driver or drivers involved in the accident. The following details can help you in securing the identification of the driver:
- First and last name,
- Phone number,
- Home address,
- Driver’s license number,
- Insurance information such as policy number and company name, and
- Vehicle license number and/or Vehicle Identification Number
Additionally, you can also obtain the contact information of individuals who witnessed the accident. This can also be supplementary when defending your version of events.
In the event that you are unable to collect this information because of your injuries, you can ask a bystander to do so for you. Your safety should always be your number one priority.
Documenting the Event
As soon as you are able to, it is important to make a detailed note of the events that led to the incident. This should be done soon after the incident, as it can be easy to forget crucial details. Things that should be particularly noted include:
- What happened before the accident;
- How the accident happened;
- Where did the accident happen;
- When and at what time the incident occurred;
- Road and traffic conditions; and
- Weather conditions.
Almost every person these days carries a cell phone equipped with a camera. If you are able, photograph the scene of the accident, injuries, road conditions, road signs, street markers or lines and more. The more photos your attorney has available, the stronger your claim could be.
Seeking medical attention immediately after an accident is fundamental in ensuring your rights and interests are protected. This is a crucial step that should never be overlooked, even if the injuries appear to be minor. The fact that you have pursued medical aid will serve as evidence that you have been injured, and established medical reports will document the extent of your injuries.
Other forms of documenting injuries involve taking pictures of injuries shortly after an accident as well as starting a journal with any physical symptoms you may be experiencing. Journal entries should be made every few days and should also be dated.
The Preservation of Evidence
After an accident, especially if the incident has been emotionally painful, many victims will decide to get rid of any property that was damaged. Similarly, if a bicycle that is used for commuting was damaged, many accident victims will attempt to fix the bicycle for continual use. Any property that was damaged as a result of the accident should be kept in the same state after the accident in effort of preserving any evidence. It is encouraged that accident victims take pictures of the damages for safekeeping and not send damaged materials to anyone else but his or her attorney.
Obtaining Advice from a Legal Professional
When an collision / accident between a moving vehicle and a bike happens, the aftermath can involve various highly complex legal challenges. If you have been injured as a result of an accident while riding your bike (or a scooter accident), you should consider seeking the legal advice of a professional attorney who has experience in handling bicycle accident cases. An attorney with the right skills and experience can help you with the following:
- Negotiating with insurance companies;
- Representation in a lawsuit; and
- Advising in how to proceed.
While you can speak to insurance companies on your own, a majority of these companies will attempt to quickly settle your case for a minimum amount. Regrettably, many accident victims will often choose to quickly settle a case because of mounting medical bills. Seeking the support of a proficient attorney, however, can help to ensure that an insurance company pays you what you the compensation that you deserve.
Attorney Scot Thomas Moga, a fellow rider and avid cyclist, has many years of dedicated experience in handling bicycle accident cases in the State of California. He was also a victim of a bike vs. automobile collision so he understands exactly what you are going through. Attorney Moga is devoted to aggressive legal representation assisting bicycle riders who have suffered severe personal injuries as a result of another driver’s negligence. Learn more about Scot Moga.