Have you noticed rows of bikes in bright colors popping up in a neighborhood near you? We’re happy to see Blue Bikes in New Orleans, La., and bright green Zyp bikes in Birmingham, Al., among many other bike sharing services in the communities we serve. What a fun way to get to school and work or to explore the city! However, bicycle riding has its dangers, and while we sincerely hope that you will never experience a collision on a bike, we wouldn’t be good personal injury attorneys if we didn’t share our knowledge of the best ways to protect yourself in the aftermath of an accident. If you’ve been in a bike wreck, try to do these 7 things:
- Dial 911
- Get an accident report
- Get your version of the incident
- Get details on the accident
- Get medical attention
- Get evidence
- Get a personal injury lawyer
Dial 911. Just do it.
Really. Even if you think you’re okay. People tend to underestimate their injuries at the scene of an accident, partly because they could be in shock (which not only temporarily impairs critical thinking but is itself a medical emergency!) If you were hit by a vehicle while riding your bike, call 911 or ask someone else to call. First responders are vital for getting the help you need immediately and for recording simple information that will be essential later.
Ask Police To Create An Accident Report
Believe it or not, responding officers often do not write an accident report after a collision. Further, many police officers are not aware of the worth of a bicycle and might not grasp that the damage to your bike could be costly – and deserving of a report. Having an accident report can play a significant part in any claim you potentially make in the future. It is also imperative for the local government to keep a record of bicycle-related collisions.
Get Into The Police Report!
Don’t take it for granted that the police officer wants your point of view. Occasionally the police will take a statement from the car driver and will not even try to communicate with the cyclist – so do as much as possible to get your side of the story into the accident report. Report every injury, no matter how minimal, because, shock, and because they might become severe conditions later. If you aren’t able to get your statement to the police at the scene, you can always have the accident report amended in the future.
Gather Raw Information
Warning: the scene of the accident is not the place to argue about fault, evaluate damage or confront anyone! Just gather raw information that can be put together later. The officer compiling the accident report should gather at least some of this information, but can’t always count on that.
- Business card of the responding police officer
- Contact info of all eyewitnesses and bystanders who help you
- Name, address, phone number, and insurance evidence (name of insurance company and policy number) from all drivers involved in the collision
- Photos of all injuries, even the slightest
- Photos of your bicycle
- Photos of the scene of the accident
Get Medical Attention Immediately!
Do not assume that you are okay; you are probably not qualified or in any shape to make such a decision. When in doubt, go to the nearest hospital emergency room. Share all complaints with an ER doctor, urgent care doctor or your own doctor as soon as possible after the accident, no matter how small or insignificant they might seem. Remember, you could be in shock, and critical thinking or decision making could be impaired. Your medical records are important evidence that you were injured and serve to authenticate the extent of your injuries.
You never know when you might need it to prove what happened. Do not fix your bike right away. Leave your bike and any other damaged property in the condition it was in after the accident. Do not try to repair anything or have anything inspected. Do not wash the clothing you were wearing at the accident scene and do not send your bike, helmet, or any other equipment to anyone other than your attorney.
Get Legal Advice First!
Did you know that anything you say to an insurance company could be used against you later? Do not communicate with any insurance companies before consulting an attorney! A personal injury attorney who specializes in bike-related accidents knows the law and can help you receive fair treatment and the assistance and compensation you might deserve.
Morris Bart, LLC, is exclusively a personal injury law firm, which means we don’t just do a few injury cases here and there – we specialize in them! We know the laws surrounding bicycle accidents and fight for the rights of our bicycle-riding clients in New Orleans, Lake Charles, Monroe, Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Shreveport and Lafayette, Louisiana; Mobile, Birmingham, Montgomery and Huntsville, Alabama; Gulfport, Hattiesburg and Pascagoula, Mississippi; and in Little Rock and Texarkana, Arkansas. If you’re the victim of a bicycle accident, call us for a free consultation. We’re available to talk 24/7!