These days, more people are turning to cycling to commute and stay fit. They like the idea of getting their daily dose of exercise through cycling while reducing their carbon footprint. And while cycling is a great way to stay healthy and help the environment, it does come with some risks.
Cyclists are vulnerable to severe injuries in collisions with motor vehicles. These accidents can happen even when cyclists follow all the rules of the road. Every year in the United States, 1,000 bicyclists die, and 130,000 get injured from road crashes.
You may already know how to take every possible precaution to keep yourself safe while on the road. But what about if you ever get into an accident? Understanding the basics of filing a bicycle accident claim will give you the best chance of getting the compensation you need to cover your medical bills and other damages.
Here’s what you need to do if you ever get into an accident while using a bicycle on the road.
Get Medical Attention Right Away
This is a crucial step, even if you don’t think you have any physical injury at the moment. There is no need to wait for the pain to start or for you to feel discomfort to get medical attention. Many injuries, such as internal bleeding or a concussion, may not present themselves immediately. That’s why it’s essential to seek professional help as soon as possible after the accident.
If you don’t go to the hospital or see a doctor right away, the insurance company may try to say that the accident did not cause your injuries. And even if you don’t have any visible injuries, it’s still a good idea to get checked out because some injuries may not immediately appear.
Keep all your medical records and bills as proof that you sought treatment for your injuries. These will come in handy when you file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
Get the Contact Information of Witnesses
If there are witnesses to the accident, be sure to get their names and contact information. This way, you can contact them and have them testify on your behalf if needed.
The police may also collect the statements of witnesses when they arrive at the scene of the accident. But it’s always a good idea to get this information, just in case.
If you are with someone during the accident, consider asking them to act as witnesses. They can provide their account of what happened and help back up your story.
Take Pictures and Videos of the Scene
Pictures and videos can indicate that you indeed got into an accident and incurred injuries during the incident. You can also use this as proof that your bicycle got damaged during the event.
If you have a camera or a smartphone, take pictures of the scene of the accident. Take shots from as many angles as possible. Don’t forget to also document the person who caused the accident, their vehicle, and their license plate number. It would also help to take videos of the scene.
If there are any visible injuries on your body, document them as well. And if you have to receive treatment for your injuries, take pictures of those too. The more evidence you have, the better.
File a Police Report
It is a must that you file a police report after the accident. This will serve as an official document of the incident. Be sure to get a copy of the report for your records.
In the police report, include all the pertinent details of the accident, such as what happened, where it happened, when, and the people involved. If there are any witnesses to the accident, include their information in the report.
If the police officer on the scene doesn’t want to file a report, be persistent. You can also ask for the name and badge number of the officer and file a complaint later.
Contact Your Support System
Your family and friends can provide you with the emotional support you need during this difficult time. Let them know what happened, and lean on them for help. You should also contact your insurance company as soon as possible to start the claims process.
If you have a lawyer, let them know about the accident, too, so they can start working on your case. If not, start searching for a reliable bicycle accident attorney to help you with your case. Find one with lots of experience representing cyclists who have been in bicycle accidents, have a reputation for winning many related cases, and even have many good reviews from their previous clients.
The lawyer you hire will be your biggest ally as you fight for the compensation you deserve. They will handle all the legalities of your case and deal with the insurance company on your behalf. This way, you can focus on recovery while they work on getting you the best possible outcome for your case.
Bicycle accidents can be serious and even life-threatening. If you’ve been in one, you should take the necessary steps to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve. Be sure to seek medical attention, document the accident, and contact a reliable attorney as soon as possible.