What to Do After Being Injured in a Bicycle Accident
Riding your bicycle is a great way to get around town. The freedom that mode of transportation provides is unmatched, but you still cannot downplay the possibility that you may be involved in a bicycle accident.
You cannot ignore the fact that you are more vulnerable to accidents using a bicycle. Even a small bump from a nearby car can knock a bike rider off balance and cause severe injuries. Drivers may also hit you because they were not paying attention.
Bicycle accidents can be troublesome in more ways than one. Learn how to handle them better by continuing with the rest of this article.
The Steps You Must Take Following a Bicycle Accident
The way you act in the immediate aftermath of a cycling accident can have an enormous impact on the outcome of your personal injury lawsuit if you choose to go that route. If you do not handle the situation properly, you could lose out on compensation that you might be entitled to if you partner with a Baltimore bicycle accident lawyer and file a personal injury claim.
Highlighted in this section are the steps you must take after your bike crash. Follow them closely to ensure that things go as well as possible for you.
Examine Yourself for Injuries
Falling off your bicycle can lead to you getting badly hurt. Examples of common injuries you may sustain following an accident like that include scratches, road rash, broken bones, and even brain injuries, such as concussions.
Before you do anything else, you need to check yourself for injuries. Try to ascertain your current condition to determine if you need immediate medical assistance.
Do this right away so you can prevent your condition from getting any worse.
Place a Call to 911
Were you injured after you fell off your bike? In that case, you need to immediately call 911.
Call for emergency assistance to get your injuries treated as soon as possible. If you can move around, try to sit on the sidewalk or another safe spot so you can protect yourself from approaching vehicles. Stay there until help arrives.
You should still call 911 even if you were not injured during your accident. Call the police right away so they can work on investigating your accident and provide you with a police report. Do not go anywhere until the police arrive.
Speak to the Driver Who Hit You
Once you have called 911, the next conversation you need to have is with the driver who hit you.
Speaking to the driver who caused the accident is important because you need to get their information. You will need their name, contact details, driver’s license number, plate number, and insurance information. You must gather all those details to pursue legal action against that negligent driver.
Do Not Talk to the Driver Any More Than Needed
If possible, you should end your conversation with the driver once you have obtained their information. Nothing good can come from continuing with that conversation at this juncture.
However, you may notice that the driver is interested in talking to you. They may be interested in discussing the accident. Although they may admit that they did some things wrong, they may still put forth the idea that you should also bear responsibility for what happened.
Do not fall victim to that tactic. The driver may be doing that because they know that Maryland follows the principle of contributory negligence.
In states where contributory negligence is in effect, the law can bar you from recovering damages if you are even one% responsible for the accident. That means the driver may not owe you anything if they can get you to accept even an ounce of blame for what happened.
Avoid talking any further with the driver no matter how much they insist on continuing the conversation. If they still want to keep talking, feel free to refer them to your Baltimore bicycle accident lawyer.
Start Collecting Evidence
The driver who hit you probably will not hand over the payout you are seeking without a fight. Expect them to dispute your claims and foist blame onto you so they can evade responsibility for the accident.
You obviously cannot allow them to do that. To counteract their efforts, you should work on collecting evidence.
Go around the accident site and start looking for any pieces of evidence available. If you are not sure that something is evidence, note it anyway in case it becomes useful later.
Taking plenty of pictures is highly recommended. Hopefully, your phone is still intact, so you can use that to take pictures of the accident site. You can also record videos if you feel they will better capture the scene.
Aside from physical evidence, you can also start collecting witness statements from people nearby since they can be valuable. They may even detail your accident as it unfolded.
Record or write down the statements you receive from the witnesses. Also, remember to ask for their contact details before they leave. You and your bicycle accident lawyer may need to speak to them again, so make it easier to get in touch.
Talk to the Police Officers
After some time, the police officers should finally be at the scene of the accident. Take this opportunity to speak with them.
Give the police your official statement. Try to be as thorough as you can while describing what happened. Mention everything you can remember and talk about the injuries you sustained from the accident.
Make sure the police take down your statement. Do not let the driver dictate the narrative of that incident because they will likely take every chance to paint you in a negative light.
Do not forget to ask for the officers’ contact details after you give your statement because you will probably need their help again.
Go to Your Doctor
Next up, you need to head in for a check-up with your doctor. We touched on the injuries you can get from bicycle accidents earlier. Injuries like wounds and broken bones are obvious right away, but concussions are different.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, some of the symptoms caused by concussions do not make their presence felt immediately. In some cases, concussion-related symptoms only emerge days, weeks, or even months after you were originally injured.
You cannot assume that you are completely healthy after being involved in a bike accident. Go to your doctor for a thorough examination to see if you are suffering from any serious issues.
Apart from learning more about your current condition, you should also go to the doctor because they can provide additional evidence to help your case. Your doctor’s diagnosis of your condition can be another crucial piece of evidence that proves how negligent the driver was.
The amount of compensation you receive may also be affected by what your doctor says. Your medical expenses will help determine the damages in your case. If your lawsuit is successful, the defendant will need to pay for all the treatment you need for your accident-related injuries.
Hold on to Your Damaged Equipment
No matter how damaged your cycling gear is, hold on to everything. Keep the bike, your helmet, and anything else you own that received damage during the accident.
Hold on to those items because you can use them as evidence. Use them to prove what happened to you. Store them somewhere safe so they remain intact.
Avoid Talking to the Driver’s Lawyer or Insurer
It will not be long before the other side starts taking action. The driver or their representative may contact you under the guise of wanting to smooth things over. To be more specific, your driver’s personal injury lawyer or a representative of their insurer may be the one who comes calling.
You do not need to speak with the other party’s lawyer or insurer. Many lawyers would even advise you against you carrying on with that conversation. The other side’s representative may be luring you into a trap so they can pin the blame for the accident on you.
Their representative may also be calling because they want to settle the matter out of court.
It is up to you to decide if you want to settle but remember that the offer you are getting is probably significantly lower than the potential compensation package you could receive. After all, they are still trying to avoid handing over that massive payout.
If you have no interest in settling your case, then you do not need to continue that conversation. Tell the driver’s representative to contact your lawyer if they have something they want to discuss.
Partner Up with a Bicycle Accident Attorney
As you can see, the services provided by a bicycle accident attorney are essential in the wake of a bicycle accident. You will need their help to get through this ordeal and secure compensation.
A good personal injury lawyer will also aid in evidence collection and negotiations. If you are too injured to manage your case, your lawyer can take over with no issue. They will also ensure that everything is filed on time so you will not need to worry about the statute of limitations for your bicycle accident lawsuit.
How to Stay Safe While Riding Your Bicycle
Cyclists can be confident that they can claim proper compensation if they are ever involved in an accident. Even so, it would be best to avoid bicycle accidents altogether. Also, you should try to protect yourself more before heading out.
Detailed below are some tips you should follow if you want to stay as safe as possible while using your bike.
Get a Good Helmet
We cannot overstate the importance of getting a good helmet if you are an avid cyclist. If you have an accident, the helmet could be the main reason you can avoid a serious head injury.
When searching for a bike helmet, the CDC recommends looking for something that features the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s label. Bike helmets with that label have met federal safety standards, so you can feel confident about wearing them.
The CDC also suggests getting a new helmet if the one you are using has already been involved in a crash. Helmets damaged from crashes no longer provide the protection you need, so go ahead and replace them.
Take Your Bike to the Shop Regularly
Like cars, you need to service bicycles regularly to stay in good condition. You should inspect your bike before and after each ride to ensure it has not sustained serious damage of any kind.
Regular riders should have their bikes professionally serviced every three months or so. If you don’t ride on a regular basis, every twelve months is recommended for a professional tune-up.
Make Yourself Highly Visible
Many bike accidents occur because drivers do not see cyclists ahead of time. Try to prevent that problem by wearing highly-visible gear.
Put on a fluorescent vest and some bright pants so drivers can see you easily, even at night. You can also add lights to your bike so other motorists can spot you from far away.
Take the Time to Plan Your Long Ride
Are you planning to go on an extended bike ride? Before heading out, you should take the time to plan your ride.
Try to create a route full of bike lanes and roads that are in good condition. Avoid the more challenging paths if you can.
You should also check for any weather advisories. Do not get caught biking in bad weather because that significantly increases the chances of you getting into an accident.
Communicate with the Drivers around You
Communication can also prevent bicycle accidents.
When you are at an intersection, try to let drivers know where you are going so, they can account for you as they move. You can also use your bell to let drivers know of your presence if you enter their blind spot. Most important is to know and follow Maryland’s traffic laws for bicycle riders.
Making a crucial mistake in the aftermath of your bicycle accident could cost your dearly. Ensure something like that does not happen to you by working with us at Leppler Injury Law. Contact us today so we can help with your bicycle accident case and provide you with sound legal advice.