Bicycle accidents continue to increase with an average rate of 1,000 deaths occurring on a yearly basis. As of 2019, there were more than 300,000 injured from bicycle transportation-related incidents. Therefore, you need to be prepared for a car accident if you’re a bicyclist. Knowing the proper steps to take will pay off in the long-run. Here’s a guide to what actions to take following a bicycle accident.
Be a Good Defensive Bicycle Rider
Adopting good riding techniques reduces your chance of getting into a bicycle accident. If you are not at fault, it can also increase your compensation claim. Before you head out, check to see that your bicycle is in working order. Inspect the tires and make sure they have a good grip on the road. Test how your bike is moving by riding it down your driveway or a side street and check the brakes.
Ride with oncoming traffic, but distance yourself as far as possible from neighboring drivers. Also, be sure to heed all road signs. These traffic signs apply equally to cyclists as they do car drivers. Signal your turns with your blinkers and hand signals. Never assume that another driver sees you, especially if they are operating a larger vehicle. Yield, and let the driver complete their turn first. Your control needs to be slow and steady, so you are able to change gears accordingly.
Always wear protective gear, like a helmet, knee and elbow pads, and eyewear. Loose-fitting clothing can also be hazardous, because it can get caught in your gears or passing objects.
A bicycle accident can be disorientating, but it is important to stay focused and remain calm. If you are in the middle of a road or bike path, move off to the side, away from traffic. To prevent further injury, act cautiously and do not rush to get up. If you need to, crawl to safety and lie on the ground until help arrives. Maintain steady breathing with as little movement as possible.
Call 911 as soon as possible, even if you see someone else doing so. Tell the responder where you are and what injuries you think you may have. Even if the injuries sustained appear minor, always get a doctor to inspect you after. Some may not feel immediate pain due to the body’s release of adrenaline.
Also, collect everyone’s contact information if they were involved in the collision. This includes drivers, passengers, and witnesses. Provide them with your information, as well. If you are physically unable to collect this information, ask a bystander to. This will also be logged in the police report.
Take pictures of the scene of the accident and immediately write down your recollection of the event while it’s still fresh in your mind. Again, if you are unable to do so, ask for assistance.
Document Your Injuries
For all injuries sustained, collect proof that they were a result of the bicycle accident. Take photographs and document everything that was treated by a medical professional. This includes bruises and small lacerations.
Keep a record of all hospitalization visits following the accident. Collect all hospital forms, like documents that describe your injuries, the treatment or surgery that was performed, and all bills from each visit. This helps determine a monetary dollar amount for a settlement.
In addition, injuries can extend to psychological ones. Civil courts recognize psychological injuries, especially if they amount to a medical condition like PTSD. Go to a psychiatrist if you experience signs of PTSD in the days after the accident. Get a formal diagnosis that your doctor puts into writing. Start pursuing treatments, including inpatient ones.
You should also document the damage done to your property. Take pictures of your bicycle or other damaged personal belongings, like a cellphone or smartwatch. Do not throw out any of your damaged belongings, because they can work as evidence in supporting your personal injury claim.
Go to a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Once you’re physically capable, contact a personal injury attorney. The best types of attorneys should specialize in auto-related accidents, including bicycle accidents. Working with a lawyer has many benefits, as they have the knowledge and experience to speak with the insurance companies and get accident victims the maximum compensation.
When researching personal injury lawyers, take into account how long they have been in practice. Also, look at their record and success rate. If you are interested in pursuing a claim without legal representation, consider at least meeting with an attorney for guidance. Some firms offer a free consultation and work on a contingency basis.
At Alpha Accident Lawyers, we do not charge our clients any legal fees until we win their case. In addition, we offer a no-risk, 100% free consultation to evaluate your accident. If you were injured in a bicycle accident, contact us so we can help get you on the path to recovery.