As the number of leisure and commuter bicyclists increases, bicycle accidents are also occurring at alarming rates. While some of these accidents result in only minor injuries, many are serious, life-altering occurrences. When an accident occurs, and the bicyclist is able, certain steps can help assure the bicyclist receives due compensation for his or her injuries and losses.
Seek Medical Attention First
Even in cases when the bicyclist does not feel that he or she has sustained a serious injury, it is advisable that he or she seek the attention of a trained medical professional as soon as possible after the accident. Some injuries do not reveal themselves until well after they are sustained. A physician is the best person to determine whether or not it is safe to resume normal activities without exacerbating an injury.
To avoid discrepancies that can occur in the recounting of events leading up to an accident, it is important to provide as much documentation as possible to substantiate the bicyclist's position. As soon as possible, the bicyclist should write about any pertinent information about when and where the accident took place. If there are witnesses, their names and contact information should be collected, as well as the names and contact information for any individuals who were directly involved in the accident.
Immediately after an accident, a cell phone with a camera can be the bicyclist's best friend. Should the case go to court, it is useful to have pictures of the accident site, as well as photos of any damages to the bicycle itself and any equipment, such as a helmet. If there are cuts or bruises on the body that can be photographed at the scene of the accident, these can also come in handy for documentation purposes.
A police report is another crucial piece of documentation to obtain as soon as possible after a bike accident. However, a more important reason to telephone the police after the occurrence, is because police officers know how to administer emergency medical attention and can help alert any other services, such as those of an ambulance or paramedics, quickly and efficiently, as needed.
Filing a police report is common practice after a bicycle accident. The bicyclist should also request a copy of the report for his or her own records. The clothing worn during the accident and the helmet worn by the bicyclist can sometimes be used as evidence. It is also important to retain receipts for any repairs necessary, or for any accessories that are lost or damaged as a result of the accident.
When a bicyclist is injured by a motor vehicle, it is not uncommon for this person to be contacted by the insurance company of the driver. It is important that the injured party not make general statements about the accident, and that he or she avoid expressing opinions about who was at fault.
The injured party should obtain the name, address and phone number of the company, as well as the claim number. It is also fine to ask for information about the limits of the insurance company's medical coverage. However, discussions about settlements should be avoided. This discussion should only take place between the bicyclist and a licensed professional attorney.
If you have sustained an injury in a bicycle accident and would like to speak with a professional plaintiff attorney who specializes in handling bike injury cases, please contact us at your earliest convenience to set up an appointment for a consultation.