When you’re in an accident on your bicycle, call the police. Of course, if you’re badly injured, you’ll have to rely on a witness to do this for you. If you feel fine, you still must call the police. You might find more damage to your bicycle than you first thought. You don’t want the driver to leave without having a way to get hold of that driver down the road.
That said, the very second thing that should be done is to be checked by paramedics. Remember that you’re going to be filled with adrenaline following an accident. You could have serious injuries and not realize it because the adrenaline is masking the pain.
Bicycle and vehicle collisions are not uncommon. In just Los Angeles County, 4,139 bicyclists were injured or killed in traffic collisions in 2016. That’s just one county. If you look at a few other counties and cities, Orange County had 1,156 injuries and deaths, Sacramento County had 665, and San Francisco had 597. If it happens to you, there are steps you should follow immediately after the accident.
What Do You Do While Waiting for the Police?
While you wait for the police, take a lot of photos of your bicycle, the other vehicle, the road signs and traffic lights, road conditions, and other details of the crash. A helmet cam is useful if you have one. If you do, safely store the footage before and during the collision.
If there are witnesses, ask if you can have contact information for any witnesses. You’ll want this information to give to an attorney. You also need insurance information and contact information for the driver. Jot down the license plate number, make, and model of the vehicle, too.
Don’t let the driver push you into it being your fault. Some drivers don’t realize they are legally obligated to share the road with bicyclists. They do not have priority at intersections simply because they are in a car and you’re on a bike. If the driver is being aggressive when you ask for insurance information, walk away and let the police get the driver’s details.
What to Tell the Police
When the police arrive, make sure they take your statement. They may go right to the driver. Don’t let them only hear the driver’s side. You want to make sure everything is documented. If you have camera footage, ask where you can send that footage. Verify that the file is received and plays correctly.
If you’re injured, you won’t be able to get a statement at the scene. If a police officer does not come to the hospital for your statement, stop by the police station on your way home. Make sure you have a chance to fill out an accident report. Ask for a copy of the final accident report.
Keep Copies of Medical Bills and Reports
Ask for copies of every medical bill and test result you get. Keep track of the names of doctors who treat you. If you need prescription pain relievers, keep track of the bill from the pharmacy. If you need medical equipment like crutches or a wheelchair and have to rent it while you recover, keep track of those bills.
Store Your Bicycle and Equipment in a Safe Place
Do not get your bicycle repaired. Keep your bicycle in the exact condition it was after the crash. Do the same with your clothing and bicycle helmet. If a personal injury lawsuit is filed, this will all be evidence that can help show exactly what happened when the vehicle hit you.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Talk to a personal injury lawyer to see if you have a case. The other driver may be at fault, but that’s not the only situation where you can sue. If the shoulders were full of potholes and broken pavement, the state or city’s transportation department may be to blame for delaying or avoiding making repairs. The bicycle may have had defective equipment that you were unaware of. It’s always best to have a lawyer look at the case and see who is responsible.
When you talk to a bike accident attorney, have the accident report, video footage or photos, witness statements and information, and bicycle and bike helmet available for viewing. The more evidence you have, the easier it is to get a judgment that covers your pain and suffering, loss of income, and medical expenses.
KJT Law Group is ready to listen to the details of your bike accident and determine if you have a case. Consultations are free and you’ll be able to focus on healing knowing an experienced lawyer is working on your lawsuit. Call (818) 873-0181 or contact us for a free consultation.