Are you aware that 12.4 percent of Americans cycle regularly, making the number of cyclists 47.5 million in one recent year? For some, biking is a reliable means of transport that helps navigate congested cities. For most people, however, cycling offers a platform for adventure and exploration while boosting fitness. As beneficial as cycling is to people and the environment, it also poses some risks.
While out on your excursions, you share the road with vehicles, putting you at risk of collisions. According to the CDC, cyclists are at greater risk of sustaining crash-related injuries and death compared to vehicle passengers, even though bicycles carry a small proportion of U.S. passengers. Data shows over 467,000 bicycle-related injuries and 1,000 fatalities in just one recent year.
Regardless of the type of bicycle accident, depending on the at-fault party, the cyclists deserve compensation. Such compensation may cover injuries, lost wages, and damage to the bicycle and other property.
If you love cycling, you should be aware of the risks that you face. More importantly, you must know the steps to take if you are involved in an accident to increase the chances of getting compensation. Read on to find out the key do’s and don’ts by our bicycle accident attorneys if you are hit by a vehicle while cycling.
1. Protect Yourself
At times, the most significant risk for cyclists is not the initial crash but the danger of being run over by the vehicles that follow. If you are knocked off your bike and still lying on the road, try and get to the sidewalk or ask for assistance from passersby.
Proceed to call an ambulance or request someone to do so for you. It is not uncommon for accident victims not to feel pain and notice injuries. This often occurs due to the flurry of emotions, focusing on the ordeal, and adrenaline. Therefore, even if you do not feel like you have sustained any injury, get a professional assessment.
If the injuries do not seem like they warrant calling an ambulance, make sure you seek professional assessment afterward. This is a very crucial step. It demonstrates that the accident resulted in injuries, and medical records will showcase the extent of the injuries.
Even after the assessment, maintain a record of your injuries. After a few days, make entries on how you feel and the progress.
2. Call the Police
One of the worst mistakes you can make at an accident scene is to try and resolve it with the other party. Even if they seem fairly reasonable, it can prove detrimental to your claim. It is not uncommon for drivers to accept blame in such situations and apologize. However, they also deny being culpable or even being present at the scene.
This is why it is crucial to call the police. As you wait for law enforcement officers to arrive, do not discuss the accident, and more importantly, do not accept blame in any way. The benefit of calling the police is that they will make a report on the accident and take the driver’s details.
In some cases, the effects of an accident may begin cropping up several hours after the accident. Without a police report, it will be difficult for you to prove your version of events, reducing your chances of receiving fair compensation.
At times, officers may only take the motorist’s version of events. It is vital to make sure that you give your account so that it can be included in the police report. Give all the details, especially those related to injuries. Should an injury that appears to be minor become more serious, having it documented increases your chances of getting compensation.
If the police don’t take your version of events, make sure they amend their report later.
3. Gather Evidence
After walking away from an accident with injuries, the last thing you want is a “your word against mine” situation with the driver.
Thus, gather evidence by:
- Talking to witnesses. After calling an ambulance and the police, try and engage the witnesses if your injuries are not restrictive. If you cannot do so, ask someone to help you. Along with their version of events, ask them if they are willing to testify. If yes, you should also get their address and contact details.
- Checking for surveillance cameras in the area. Once you finish talking to eyewitnesses, check the building around the accident scene for surveillance cameras. Even if you do not see any, try and talk to building managers to be sure. Any footage of the accident can eliminate any doubt as to what happened and simplify the claims process.
- Not messing with anything. Are parts of your bicycle lying all over the place or damaged? Good. Do not in any way try to fix or collect them. This helps paint a clear picture of the severity of the accident. Also, take pictures of the scene and your injuries.
4. Document What Happened
Many emotions and thoughts can run through your mind after an accident. This increases the chances of forgetting subtle details about the accident. To avoid this, make mental notes about the accident.
- What happened
- Where it happened
- How the events unfolded
- Time of the accident
- Weather conditions
As time passes, there is an increased likelihood of forgetting some details. As such, you should try and get somewhere to write everything down as soon as possible.
Seek Legal Help From a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Even if everything seems straight forward, accidents involving bicycles and cars are often complicated. Therefore, get in touch with a bicycle accident attorney experienced in such matters. They will guide you on the right steps to take, assess the value of your claim, handle negotiations with insurance companies on your behalf, and more importantly, allow you to focus on recovering.
Were you in an accident with a car while cycling? Get in touch with an experienced bicycle accident attorney today for legal support.