What to do after a bicycle accident
While bicycling is a great form of exercise and a wonderful mode of transportation, a bicycle accident can be a very serious, life changing event. Even though you can’t predict when or if a cycling accident is going to occur, you should make sure that you are prepared and know what to do in the event of an accident. Taking the appropriate steps in the aftermath of a bicycle accident can go a long way in protecting your legal rights and helping you obtain full compensation for your injuries.
The attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers have years of experience helping accident victims recover the financial compensation they need to get their lives back on track after an accident. Our lawyers are caring and compassionate professionals who understand the difficult challenges that lie ahead. To help protect you and maximize your chance of achieving an optimal outcome in your case, we have outlined seven steps you should take after a bicycle accident:
- Remain at the Scene of the Accident. The first thing you should do is to stay put and make sure that everyone is okay. Even if no one appears to be hurt or you believe that your injuries are minor, you should never leave the scene of an accident until the police arrive.
- Call 911 and Contact the Police. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately. You should also ask the police to make an official report of the bicycle/motorist accident. Because some law enforcement agencies have a policy of not taking a report unless someone is injured, you need to make certain that you convey all injuries, no matter how minor, to the officers. You should also ensure that you receive the traffic accident information card with the accident report number so that our firm can secure a copy of the police report.
- Gather Information from the Driver and Witnesses. Be sure to get the contact information (names, addresses and phone numbers) of the driver and any witnesses to the accident. You should also get the driver’s license and insurance information. Because our lawyers and investigators may need to get in touch with witnesses, collecting this information before you leave the scene of the accident will be vital to your case.
- Document the Accident and Take Pictures. If possible, write down everything you can remember about the accident, including what happened, the time and location of the accident and the weather and road conditions. If you have access to a cell phone or camera, you should take photographs of the accident scene as well as the damage to your bike, your equipment and the vehicle(s) involved in the accident.
- Seek Medical Attention. Even if your injuries seem minor, you should be checked out at the hospital or in a doctor’s office as soon as possible after the accident. Injuries often do not become apparent until days or even weeks after a bicycle accident has occurred. Your health care provider will make a complete medical record of your injuries, which will be a critical document in proving your injuries.
- Watch What You Say. While you may be flooded with emotions, it is important to watch what you say at the scene of the accident and elsewhere. You should never apologize or suggest who may be at fault for the accident. Remember, any statements that you make about the accident can be used against you later on.
- Get the Help of a Lawyer. One of the biggest mistakes accident victims make is to try to handle their case on their own. Bicycle and motorist accidents tend to involve complex causation and damages issues that are best handled by a skilled California bicycle accident lawyer. It is important to speak with a qualified attorney before you report the accident to your insurance carrier or provide any statements to the other parties’ insurance companies. Your lawyer will help you take the right steps to maximize your chances of getting full and fair compensation for your injuries.