With what appears to be a record number of bicycle accidents, there also has been an increasing demand for bicycle accident lawyers. It seems prudent to review what every cyclist should know regarding auto-bike crashes. With that knowledge, you can take critical steps to preserve your rights and protect yourself in both the immediate aftermath of your crash and in what could be a lengthy legal process.
Thomas M. Hunter is a respected bicycle accident lawyer. You may contact his office to schedule an appointment to address any questions you may have.
Thomas Hunter’s 10 Tips for Bicycle Accidents
1. Call 911 Immediately
Hopefully, by now, you’re aware of the importance of a cell phone while cycling. It’s not just for cool tracking apps as a cyclist, but your cell phone is your best tool in the event of an accident for various reasons. First, it is critical to immediately call 911 for any medical assistance required. Then, call a relative or a close friend to come out and assist you in any way possible, including photographing the accident, collecting your bike, providing you with transportation, or meeting you at the hospital. These calls preserve important information, identify people with knowledge of important aspects of your claim and can establish a clear trail of evidence for your injuries. Calling 911 can also mobilize the police to the scene of your collision and to conduct police reports and investigations. Naturally, there is also the ambulance issue to consider. By dialing 911, medical providers will be dispatched to the scene. They will ensure that you are appropriately assessed for injuries and may transport you to the nearest hospital, if necessary. It is important that you permit examination, treatment, and, if necessary, transportation to a hospital. Don’t worry about Insurance and medical bill concerns at that time; your first concern should be for your safety and well-being.
2. Seek Medical Assistance
Seek medical attention immediately, if you were injured. Emergency medical following an accident is a given, but, once that emergency care has been provided, you should immediately schedule whatever follow-up appointments were suggested by emergency care personnel. The sooner you get medical care, follow-up or otherwise, and the more aggressively you treat for your injuries, the better your ultimate result is likely to be and the sooner you are likely to reach maximum improvement. Delays or gaps in treatment will be viewed negatively by insurance companies and will negatively impact their valuation of your claim. If you do not get treated immediately after an accident, they will content you must no have gotten hurt. If you treat sporadically, or miss appointments, they will contend that you must not have been hurt very much. There is no “downside” and no substitute to getting treated for your injuries.. Chiropractic care, physical therapy, and orthopedic care are some examples of standard medical treatments.
It is critical to maintain contact with these medical providers until they officially discharge you from their care. If you have a significant other, involve him or her in helping you keep track of appointment days and times. Use a calendar, or multiple calendars to serve as reminders of those visits. Doctors sometimes conclude that, if you did not come in for an appointment, then you must not have needed to come in for that appointment. A favorite tactic of defense lawyers is showing juries the appointments that an injured plaintiff missed and suggesting that the plaintiff did not keep the appointment because the plaintiff was not hurting and, therefore, did not need to see the doctor. Make your appointments and keep your appointments. It is that simple. If you have trouble scheduling those appointment – for whatever reason – your lawyer may be able to help. Just know that NOT seeing your doctors or NOT following their recommended treatment plans will be bad for your health and bad for your legal claim against a negligent motor vehicle driver. Your physician visits and treatments all contribute to the required paper trail.
And, of course, do what your doctors say to do and do not do what your doctors say not to do. I know that is common sense, but it is very important. A successful claim requires compliance and consistency with doctors’ advice.
3. Take Lots of Photos
If you can, take as many photos as possible of the accident scene. Attempt to document the damage to your bike and the motor vehicle and your injuries. Take photographs of streets, lighting, road conditions, nearby construction, and anything else that appears to be significant. If you cannot take photographs due to your injuries, seek assistance from a nearby witness or anyone present and willing to assist. The more photographs that are taken, the better. If possible, avoid moving the bicycle or vehicle until after a few photographs have been taken. Take pictures of the driver’s license and insurance card of the at-fault driver. Again, it is acceptable to seek assistance from someone, if you are unable to do it yourself.
4. Compile a List of All Witnesses’ Names and Contact Information
If you can, take the time to obtain the contact information of witnesses, so that your attorney can contact them in the future. Ask them to remain on the scene until the police arrive to provide a statement for the official report. Take photographs of their contact information and, if they permit it, of them. Sometimes, locating witnesses later proves to be more difficult than you might think. Collect as much information as possible to assist you or your bicycle accident attorney in locating them.
5. Inquire About the Driver’s Contact Information
This includes the make, model, color, and license plate number of the driver’s vehicle and the driver’s contact and insurance information. Use your cell phone to photograph documents and things. If you cannot collect this information due to your injuries, ask someone nearby to assist you. Gather as much contact information as possible. Later on, it may prove to be significantly more challenging.
6. Avoid Posting on Social Media
Even though social media is a popular way for some people to connect or communicate in our society, use no form of social media after your accident. Do not mention your accident or your injuries. Do not post pictures. In fact, shut all of your social media down immediately after your accident. If you claim results in a lawsuit, the other side will gain access to your social media accounts, see everything you have posted, see the places you have been and the things you have done and question people with whom you connect – all with the single-minded purpose of making it look like you are not hurt and are just trying to get something you do not deserve. They know that finding a photo of you bungee-jumping from a bridge in Belize, while you are claiming to be hurt, spells disaster for your claim.
Insurance companies can pay to scan and collect social media information from parties involved in accidents. They use this data to bolster their arguments. Avoid all social media and other apps that track or document your activities and whereabouts.
7. Remember To Retain All GPS And Tracking Data Leading Up to Your Accident
This data stored on a GPS-equipped device may provide helpful information about the events leading up to and during your bicycle accident. In addition, numerous devices record valuable data such as the road’s percent grade, your speed, the time of day, and the weather. This information can aid in establishing your innocence in the event of a bicycle accident and provide necessary details when battling an insurance company. Occasionally, police officers issue incorrect citations to cyclists, which are more easily overturned when we have data to support our position.
8. Do Not Converse with the Driver About the Bike Accident Case
It is wise to err on the side of caution when speaking with the driver. Occasionally, cyclists inadvertently apologize to the driver, even when not at fault. While it is natural to be sorry for an accident, this should not be interpreted as claiming responsibility. However, in today’s world, that could be what a jury believes. These statements can and will be used as admissions of liability by insurance companies and at-fault drivers. When the police arrive and begin taking statements, the driver may inform the officer of your “I’m sorry” statement and believe you were at fault. It is perfectly acceptable to listen to the driver go on and on about the accident, even more so, if they admit fault, however, you should never speak about the accident to the driver. Seriously, say nothing. Simply collect their information. Only talk about how the accident happened, when you speak with the police officer.
9. Do Not Leave the Scene of the Accident Until the Police Allow
In many states, leaving the scene of an accident may be a criminal act. Never leave until you’ve been assured it’s okay and safe. You may also be apprehensive and anxious to the point that you want to leave, but, remember that people may judge your actions adverse to you in the future. If you leave the scene before help arrives, people will conclude you must not have been injured. They may conclude the collision was your fault. Nothing good will result from your leaving the scene before help arrives. Maintain your composure and stay until you are free to depart and it is safe to do so.
10. Seek The Advice Of An Experienced Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Personal injury lawyers are widely available, but not all attorneys will give your claim the attention it deserves. They may have no idea what motorist versus cyclist bias is or how to deal with it in our legal system. They may not understand the challenges a cyclist faces on the roadways. You will want a lawyer who will can put your claim in the best position possible for full and fair compensation
You need someone familiar with the community’s cycling ordinances, statutes, and regulations. You need someone who is willing to go to court and who is not afraid to litigate with an insurance company, if needed. There is a genuine bias among motorists toward cyclists. Educating police officers, drivers, and insurance companies about cyclists’ rights is the only way to handle these cases reasonably. Often, that education occurs as a result of the lawsuit. An experienced bicycle accident attorney can assist in identifying the critical issues in a bicycle accident that contribute to a more favorable medical and financial recovery. No cyclist should have to settle for less simply because they were riding a bike and not driving a car when involved in an accident.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Happens If You Get Hit By a Cyclist?
As soon as it’s safe to do so, call the police and an ambulance, if you’ve been hit by a cyclist. Although the biker may say that they are okay, they could have hit their head or be in shock or have their injury masked by adrenalin.
What is the Most Common Bike Injury?
Although soft tissue injuries and musculoskeletal damage are the most common bicycle injuries, brain injuries account for the majority of fatalities and long-term impairments. In addition, musculoskeletal problems, compression neuropathies, and other problems are common.
Should I Report a Bike Accident?
You should always report a bike accident to the authorities as soon as possible. This includes an injury to yourself or damage to your bike. If a car is involved, request the driver’s insurance information, but do not discuss the accident with them or accept any financial offer until you have sought legal advice.
Hire a Trusted Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Work with a trusted bicycle accident lawyer like Thomas M. Hunter, Attorney at Law, as he has handled similar cases over his long career. Mr. Hunter knows how to gather all of the facts needed to prove your case and will not back down from insurance companies when battling liability and negotiating.
Don’t put off seeking legal guidance during this challenging time. Let Mr. Hunter guide you through this complex legal process.