If you’ve been in a bicycle accident, take these steps to immediately protect yourself!
By Attorney Terry Rogers
While drivers are becoming more aware of cyclists sharing the road with them, it is still likely that you may get into a bicycle accident. Most frequently, bicycle accidents are caused by other cars sharing the road. I myself was injured in a bicycle accident when an inattentive motorist turned right in front of me. I collided with the passenger side of the car, flew over the top of the vehicle, and landed on my head and shoulder. In the aftermath of my accident, there were many mistakes I made that I don’t want you to make.
Many people who are injured in bicycle accidents do not successfully win a claim against the person who harmed them. This is because the injured party usually does not have sufficient information to support their claim. A bicycle accident can take a huge emotional, physical, and financial toll on you, and it’s important to take steps to protect yourself so you can lessen these burdens. If you end up in a bicycle accident, here are some immediate steps you can take to help and protect yourself:
At the Scene of the Accident
- Call 911 even if you do not feel injured or in pain. Often, you may not feel any pain until after the accident. It is extremely common for injured bicyclists to feel pain many hours, or even days, after the accident. If you have your injuries documented, this will help your case if you decide to pursue one.
- Get the names and phone numbers of witnesses, if there are any. This way, you have witnesses of the crash who can help your case, should you decide to pursue legal action.
- Make sure the person who caused the accident gets a ticket. Even if you get ticketed, it doesn’t always mean that you are at fault for the accident. If the police officer ticketed you, hang on to your ticket. If they ticketed the driver, make sure you get the citation number and case number from the police officer. In addition, you should get the business card of the officer in case you need to correspond with them further.
- Get the insurance information of the person who caused the accident. Ask them for their policy number and company name. Take pictures of their policy card or write down the necessary information.
- Don’t tell anyone you are “alright” after an accident. Don’t tell anyone you are “not hurt” or you are “alright”, even if you really do feel okay following the accident. You may not feel pain or realize you are injured until hours, or even days after an accident. Often, bicyclists experience a rush of adrenaline and do not immediately realize they are injured after an accident. Take note of your symptoms in the days following your bicycle accident. Document your symptoms as thoroughly as possible.
- Take photos of the vehicles and/or bicycles involved. You will need this information later should you decide to pursue a claim. Speak to the person who caused your injuries and take notes, if possible.
- Go to the ER. Do not decline ambulance transport, even if you feel okay in the moment. Go to an Emergency Room, even if your injuries do not seem that serious.
At the Emergency Room
- Provide your health insurance information. Give them your health insurance information – not your car insurance information. Describe the accident and what happened as thoroughly as possible.
- Make sure you tell each person you talk to everywhere you hurt. Don’t leave out any details—having everything documented will help you later if you decide to pursue legal action. Do not minimize your injuries or the accident. Do not discuss any pre-existing injuries, unless medically necessary.
- Ask for an MRI if you have any neck, back, or knee pain. Pain in these areas is extremely common after a bicycle accident.
- Take photos of any bruising, swelling, or lacerations. You will need this information if you decide to pursue legal action.
- Get specific follow-up instructions from the doctors taking care of you. If possible, write down the care instructions from the doctors.
- Get a copy of your bill from the hospital before you leave, if possible. If you get your bill mailed to you later on, be sure to save a copy of it.
Following these steps will provide a good foundation for your future medical care and injuries. It is incredibly common for injured bicyclists to not pursue legal action because they believe they don’t have a strong claim. But, many injured bicyclists do have strong claims, and should be compensated for their suffering. If you have been in a bicycle accident, and you are unsure whether you have a claim or not, contact a Bicycle Accident Attorney practicing in your state or country. You can also contact a Personal Injury Attorney in your area, but they may not understand the particularly stressful issues bicyclists face.
About the Author:
Attorney Terry Rogers is a Bicycle Accident Attorney practicing in the greater Phoenix, AZ area. He has practiced personal injury law for over 25 years thorought Arizona and Colorado. His law firm, Bicycle Accident Attorney Scottsdale, helps bicyclists injured in the greater Phoenix area.