Bicycle accidents happen to the best of us. Even if you are an exemplary rider, it makes no difference when you come head to head with a driver that’s not paying attention. Regardless of who was at fault, there are some basic things you should know about your bicycle accident claim, before you file.
Let’s talk about bicycle accidents and how you deal with them in an effective manner.
13 Things you should know about Bicycle Accidents
If you have been knocked off your bike, read this first…
1 – You NEED a lawyer
If you have been knocked off your bike and you are injured, then you need to get a lawyer. If you live in the Portland area, check out Marc Johnston, who should be able to help you get back on your feet in both a figurative and a real world sense. Marc has handled many bicycle accident cases in Portland and has great results to speak of.
2 – Visit the ER
Before you go any farther, a trip to the ER is essential. It doesn’t matter if you think you are injured or not, you should get the check-up, anyway. The same rule follows for contacting the police. Why do we do this? To ensure that there is a formal record that we can point towards as evidence in a court of law.
The doctor will record your injuries while the police will create a detailed report on the accident itself. This way, if details are mis-remembered, these two things are at least certain. There’s also your health to consider. You may feel fine but be suffering from shock which is numbing your pain or even have a concussion.
3 – Call the Police
It seems like a lot to do at once, but as soon as your accident happens you need to be thinking about getting out of it. If you live in the US and you pay your own medical bills, this becomes vital for your ongoing well-being.
So, when you crash, we call for help, we call the police, and we call a lawyer. The police and ER record the accident happening and detail your injuries, while your bicycle accident attorney will visit the scene of the incident and gather evidence on your behalf. This becomes even more necessary if you are incapacitated.
4 – Take Pictures
Visual evidence is often in short supply. While you might not have called an attorney, you will need to gather the evidence if they can’t. This evidence gathering should primarily consist of taking pictures of the scene of the crime. This will help prove where things are and help the insurance company get a good idea of who was where.
5 – Find Witnesses
Another aspect of evidence gathering is collecting witness statements. If you can, try to find witnesses that were there on the day you crashed, that can help give an official statement on what they saw. The more witnesses you have, the better your chances of proving to the insurers that you have a claim. All you need is their contact details to begin with, you can get a full statement later or just pass their details to your lawyer and the police.
6 – Don’t Talk!
Unless you are so injured that you need medical assistance there and then, try to avoid any communication with the motorist. In this case, everything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. If you say sorry, that it was/wasn’t your fault, or otherwise make accusations, you may lessen your chances of getting the justice you deserve later on down the line.
7 – Make Sure the Police took your report and have your details
It isn’t always enough to call the police, sometimes you need to corner an officer and have him/her/them take your statement. This ensures they have detailed information on your version of events, that they might have missed if you hadn’t cornered them. Making sure they can call you is a good idea, too. Full cooperation is expected if you are to go to court.
8 – Document your Injuries
It’s one thing to have a hospital report to present at a hearing. It is another to have photographs of your wounds that you can pass around the room. This puts a real, human face on your pain and suffering and allows them to calculate a figure with that still in mind. Personal injury claims (and bike accident claims) are much realer when the recovery process is effectively recorded.
9 – Make a Thorough Account
Now that the dust from the accident is settled a bit, you are almost free to recover in peace. There’s still one thing left to do though, and that’s to take a full accounting of all your costs involved. This accounting should include your medical bills, any time off work you had to take, loss of earnings, recovery time, and even the cost of your bike and the clothing you were wearing on the day.
10 – Think about your Mental Health
There are two or three different types of health, so after a bike accident you need to consider your emotional and mental health, too. Your physical injuries might be minute, but you may have had your life flash before your eyes regardless. If your accident has left you with PTSD, seek help while you can, before it eats into other parts of your life.
11 – Attend All Appointments
Seriously! All of them. If you need a physio, a therapist, a holistic session – whatever your doctor recommends – you attend the full course prescribed. You take any medications you are given and you ensure your recovery is full and complete. All of your appointments will be held as evidence that you needed the help.
12 – Don’t talk about your Case
Once you have decided to try and get some money back from your accident, or file with a lawyer, you shouldn’t talk about the accident with anyone. The insurance firm might send people to check your social media accounts for evidence, if you talk, you risk losing your case.
13 – You (Probably) won’t go to court
When your lawyer has gathered enough evidence, they will put together a pack to be sent to the judge. The judge will set a date for a hearing, which you probably won’t have to attend. Things should move forward without you as long as you have a good lawyer.