When pursuing a claim for a bicycle accident, there’s too much at stake to make any errors. To help you successfully navigate the aftermath of a bicycle accident, you’ll find steps to take below.
1. Ensure safety and seek medical attention
The first and foremost priority is your safety and health. If you're able to, move yourself and your bicycle off the road to prevent further harm.
Even if you feel fine, it's important to get medical attention as soon as possible. Adrenaline and shock can mask pain. Plus, some injuries, such as internal bleeding or concussions, don’t always produce immediate symptoms.
Also, preserve any damaged personal property (e.g., bike and helmet) as they can serve as evidence later.
2. Report the bicycle accident to police
Reporting a bicycle accident to the authorities is one of the most important steps. An officer will arrive at the scene and conduct an initial investigation. They will also document any evidence they find in a detailed police report.
This includes the location, date and time, and information on the parties involved in the bicycle accident. It may also include witness statements, arrests or citations, and a diagram indicating how the collision likely occurred.
A police report provides an official account of the incident, which can be valuable for your claim. If possible, obtain a copy of the police report. An attorney can also obtain a copy for you.
3. Document the scene and gathering information
If you're capable, gather as much information as possible from the bicycle accident scene. This includes:
- The driver's name, contact information, and insurance details.
- Vehicle details such as the make, model, color, and license plate number.
- Names and contact information of any witnesses.
- Photos of the crash scene, including road conditions, traffic signs, your bicycle, and any injuries you sustained.
4. Notify your insurance company
Notify your own insurance company about the bicycle accident. Some insurance policies include coverage for accidents involving uninsured or underinsured motorists. This can be beneficial if the driver who hit you lacks adequate insurance.
Avoid giving too many details, especially about who was at fault. The evidence collected by an attorney can help establish negligence.
5. Seek legal help
Handling a bicycle accident claim alone can be risky, especially when dealing with insurance companies. To successfully pursue a claim, it’s important to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who knows how the process works.
An attorney experienced in bicycle accidents can help you understand your rights and guide you through the process of seeking compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Plus, they can thoroughly investigate your bicycle accident and use the evidence to build a strong case on your behalf.
6. Keep track of medical treatments and expenses
When pursuing a bicycle accident claim, meticulously document and track all medical treatments and expenses. This documentation is important for valuing your claim and ensuring you receive adequate compensation.
Here’s a list of medical treatments and expenses you should keep track of:
- Records and bills from any emergency room visits or ambulance services immediately following the car accident.
- If you were hospitalized, keep detailed records of the duration, treatments received, and all associated costs.
- X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, blood tests, and other diagnostic procedures to assess your injuries.
- All visits to healthcare professionals, including general practitioners, specialists, physical therapists, chiropractors, or any other medical practitioners.
- Receipts for all prescription and over-the-counter medications.
- Any physical therapy or rehabilitation required for your recovery.
- If your injuries require the attention of specialists (e.g., orthopedists, neurologists, or surgeons), keep a detailed record of these interactions and their costs.
- Counseling for psychological trauma, if necessary.
- Medical devices and supplies, such as crutches, braces, and wheelchairs.
- Any work you missed or will miss, and any impact on your future earning capacity.
- Keep a journal documenting your daily pain levels, challenges, and how the injury affects your daily life.
7. Be mindful of statements to insurance adjusters
Be cautious when speaking with insurance adjusters, especially those representing the driver who hit you. Avoid making any statements or agreements before consulting with an attorney.
Insurance companies often aim to minimize payouts, and your statements can be used to undermine your claim. Plus, your statements can be construed as admitting fault, which can jeopardize your claim.