Crucial Steps To Take If You Are Involved In A Bicycle Accident
As recently as 2015, over 467,000 bicyclists were involved in accidents each year, with more than 1,000 of them dying from their injuries. In most instances, accidents occur due to a motorist being negligent or careless while behind the wheel. Whether impaired due to drugs or alcohol, distracted by a cell phone, or simply ignoring basic rules of the road when around bicyclists, these and other factors lead to numerous unnecessary accidents. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, it is important you know exactly what to do at that moment. Not only will this keep you safe, but it can also play a significant role should you file a lawsuit. To learn about these important steps and how a personal injury lawyer can help, here are some key details to remember.
Don’t Say You’re Uninjured
When involved in a bicycle accident, don’t tell the other driver or anyone else at the scene you are not injured. Since you will be going on adrenaline due to the stress, you may not realize you are injured until hours or even days later. In fact, simply saying “I’m okay” can come back to haunt you, since this could complicate negotiations your bicycle accident lawyer may conduct in seeking compensation for your injuries.
Call Police to the Scene
Even if the accident is relatively minor, call police to the scene. By doing so, police and rescue personnel will arrive to evaluate the accident and any injuries you or others sustained. In addition, police will file an accident report, which will include the officer’s determination as to who or what caused the accident. This can be crucial, since your attorney from West Coast Trial Lawyers can use this in court or when conducting settlement negotiations with the driver’s insurance company.
Obtain Driver’s Contact Information
If at all possible, make sure you obtain the driver’s contact information. Rather than just exchanging phone numbers at the scene, always write down the driver’s name, address, phone number, license plate number, and insurance information. By having this information, you can then turn it over to a bicycle accident lawyer in Los Angeles who will know how to fight hard, such as those at West Coast Trial Lawyers.
Speak to Witnesses
When an accident occurs between a motor vehicle and a bicyclist, chances are there are people nearby who witness the accident. If this is the case, make sure you don’t leave the scene until you have been able to speak to those who witnessed your accident. Just as with the other driver, make sure you get the necessary contact information such as name, address, and phone number. But also, make sure you write down anything important they tell you regarding the accident, since this could prove to be pivotal in you being able to win a lawsuit. In addition, give all witness information to your personal injury lawyer, since it is likely your attorney will want to speak with everyone who witnessed the accident. In some cases, witnesses may be called upon to testify in court, so don’t overlook this important step while at the accident scene.
Gather as Much Evidence as Possible
If you can do so, try to gather as much evidence as possible while at the accident scene. If your smartphone was not damaged, pull it out and start taking photos and even videos of the scene. For example, take photos of your bike and the damage it sustained, injuries you incurred from the accident, skid marks that may indicate the vehicle was speeding, stop signs or traffic lights near the scene, road conditions, and anything else you think may be relevant. In these situations, it is far better to have too many pictures than not enough, so don’t hesitate to take a photo of anything you think may be important to your case. If your bike was damaged in the accident, always get an estimate for any repairs needed, or get the cost of a replacement bike if yours is totaled.
Get Medical Treatment
Whether or not you think you are seriously injured, always seek medical treatment beyond what is given to you at the accident scene. In these situations, you can either allow yourself to be transported to a hospital from the accident scene, or you can visit your primary care doctor soon afterward for an examination. However, if you choose to visit your own doctor, do this as soon as possible after the accident. The longer you wait, the greater the chances the driver’s lawyers and insurance company will claim you were not seriously injured or in fact not injured at all due to the accident. By getting medical treatment promptly following the accident, any injuries you sustained will be documented in your medical records, giving your bicycle accident lawyer more evidence to use in your favor when arguing your case in court or negotiating a settlement.
Steer Clear of Social Media
If you are involved in a bicycle accident and file a lawsuit, it is often best to steer clear of social media as much as possible until your case is resolved. Unfortunately, many accident victims fail to do this, and the results are often detrimental. For example, by going on Facebook or Twitter and posting pictures of yourself doing various activities, you may make it appear as if you were not injured in the accident. Also, if you make comments about the accident or the other driver, you may say something that could be used against you in court. Remember that in today’s world, it is likely the other driver, insurance investigators, and attorneys are monitoring your social media accounts for anything they can use against you.
Rather than lose out on the ability to gain compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages, turn to a bicycle accident lawyer Los Angeles accident victims know will fight for them every step of the way. To do so, schedule a consultation with West Coast Trial Lawyers.