According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the number of bicycle accidents has been rising in the last ten years. For people who love cycling, this means you need to be extra cautious every time you are on the road. However, if you ever find yourself in a bicycle accident, here are some steps you should take.
Self-Assess for Injuries
Unlike cars with a metal body to protect the drivers, bicycles do not have such. That means if you are hit by a car, the possibility of injuries is high. The first thing is to check whether you have any cuts, gashes, or broken limbs. Check whether you feel dizzy or you cannot walk well. Concussions are common after head injuries. If you are in pain and see some injuries, avoid moving. Wait for a medical team to come and give you first aid or take you to the hospital.
Call the Police
Once you have checked for injuries, the next thing should be to call the police. You and the other driver are legally obligated to stay at the scene of the accident as long as property damage or injuries are involved. Even if you feel you are okay, you should still sit tight and await the police. You may assume you are not injured, only to find out later that is not the case. Once you leave the scene, tracking the motorist can be tricky. As you wait for the police, avoid negotiating with the other driver or placing blame. Some motorists apologize and admit responsibility only to change their minds later when the police come. Let the police get there and take statements from both of you, as that report will help you when dealing with the insurance company.
While it is good to avoid engaging with the other driver, it is important to exchange insurance information. It will help you in making a claim for the losses suffered.
If you can, document what just happened. Take photos of your injuries, the bike, car, and immediate surroundings. A lot of cyclists wear a Go Pro Camera that captures what happens. This is the time for you to ensure the accident has been captured and saved. You should also write down whatever you remember. The accident details are still fresh in your mind, and there is a high chance you will write accurate information. If you wait, details can get fuzzy. If you notice any witnesses around you, get their contact information as well.
Contact an Attorney
The next step should be contacting a bicycle accident attorney and getting to know how they can help you. Talking to an insurance company before talking to a lawyer is never a good idea. They can use whatever you say against you later on. If they approach you, let them know that you will contact them later after consulting with an attorney. Another reason you should never speak to the insurance company without a lawyer is that they may try to give you a lower settlement than what you deserve. After a car accident, you are entitled to compensation for various losses, including:
- Medical costs
- Loss of income
- Loss of enjoyment
- Pain and suffering
- Cost to repair or replace your bicycle
- Ongoing medical care
You may assume that you only need compensation for immediate medical care and the cost of repairing your bicycle only to find other expenses later on. A skilled attorney knows all about making a claim for the damages suffered, and they will walk you through the process.
As a cyclist, you have as much right to be on the road, just like car drivers. Therefore, if you are involved in an accident due to a driver’s negligence, seek legal counsel and get compensated for the damages caused.