Bicycling is on the rise in the United States, driven in large part by the growth of commuters looking for eco-friendly alternatives to cars. The fact that pedal-power is a great way to get and stay fit is another bonus for cyclists. The only real drawback, aside from bad weather, is the risk that comes from distracted drivers on crowded roads.
In the unfortunate circumstance that you experience a crash with a car while riding a bicycle, what do you need to do to take care of yourself and ensure that you can prevail if you need to seek legal recourse? Follow these steps to ensure that you can get what you need in the aftermath of a bike crash:
Make a Police Report
Call the police to the accident scene and make a report. This may seem like overkill, especially if you don’t believe you’re injured, but it’s normal in the adrenaline rush after a collision to miss signs of injury, or mistake the severity of an injury. With a police report, if you realize later that the crash was worse than you first thought, you’ll have clear documentation of what happened. The police may even ticket the driver, which gives you additional latitude in dealing with insurance companies or making a legal claim.
Record What Happened and Who Saw What
While you wait for police, talk to witnesses and get their contact information, as well as the driver’s contact information and insurance information. If possible, make notes about the details of the crash. Your smartphone can be a good place to jot down the location of the wreck, the sequence of events that led up to it, the time of day, weather conditions, traffic, and any other details that seem relevant. You’ll be surprised by how quickly these details begin to blur in your mind, so log the details as soon as you can.
While you have your phone out, photograph the scene and any of your property that’s been damaged, especially your bike. Given that a good bike these days can set you back hundreds or thousands of dollars, you want as much evidence as possible in order to recoup your investment. Don’t rush to get your bike repaired, either. If you need to retain an attorney, you’ll want damaged equipment, including damage to the clothes you’re wearing, preserved as they are. For the time being, save everything from the crash.
See a Doctor
If you suspect you have sustained any injuries at all, however minor, get medical attention immediately after a bike crash. Photograph bruises, cuts, scrapes, and similar injuries, and have doctors document all injuries in their report.
Contact an Attorney
This is the time to reach out to an injury attorney experienced in bicycle crash incidents. An attorney can evaluate your case, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and, if need be, represent you in a lawsuit to recoup your losses.
For best results, do not communicate with any insurance companies until you talk to a lawyer. Insurers have a vested interest in minimizing payouts, and they’re very good at it. Some estimates suggest that, on average, a person in an injury case who is represented by a lawyer walks away with three times more money than those who don’t have legal representation.
Cycling should be a fun and healthy way to get around, but when something goes wrong on the road, the consequences can be huge. You don’t have to go it alone. An experienced bicycle crash attorney in your area can help you get the compensation you deserve.Louis Gertler is a Partner with the Gertler Law Firm in New Orleans, Louisiana. The law firm represents plaintiffs in personal injury matters and focuses on succession planning as well. The information above is not legal advice and we urge you to consult with a local attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.
Gertler Law Firm
935 Gravier Street,
New Orleans, LA 70112