Cycling accidents occur a lot more frequently than you might have thought. In 2015, over 800 people were killed, and over 45,000 people were injured in bicycle-related accidents. In this article, we are going to tell you what you need to do after being involved in a cycling accident. It is important that you follow every step listed in this article, assuming they apply to you so that you have the best chance of receiving compensation and justice for your injuries. Here is what you need to do after being involved in a bicycle accident.
Visit a Doctor or Phone an Ambulance
Injuries vary in severity and can range from inconsequential to severe. It is always worth visiting a doctor in the wake of a cycling accident, though an ambulance is not always necessary. The only time that you should call for paramedics is if you are bleeding heavily, have fractured, sprained, or broken a bone, or are seriously concerned about your injuries. If you do not act quickly with serious injuries, they can spiral out of control and you can wind up with much worse injuries than you might have initially had.
Identify the Person Responsible
After your accident, you need to identify the person responsible. By identifying the person who caused your accident, you can properly take legal action against them, without the police having to launch an investigation to identify them. Identification can be a photograph, a vehicle license plate, or a name and number. Usually, the person responsible will come forward and offer their details to you, though in rare cases people try to evade detection (hit ‘n’ runs) and escape without identification. Identifying the culprit early improves your chances of compensation.
Witnesses to the Accident
Along with identifying the culprit, you should also ideally gather together the names, license plates, and phone numbers of anyone who witnessed the accident. In a personal injury case, witnesses are a necessity. Your witnesses may be called in the future to affirm your claims. If nobody can affirm your claims, and there is no direct evidence, there is a strong chance that your case could be thrown out or might not even make it to court. Some people are reluctant to act as witnesses, but an audio recording or written statement is usually good enough in the way of evidence.
Photographs and Video Evidence
Another important thing to do on the scene of your accident, assuming you are fit to do so, is to take photographs and video evidence. Evidence is paramount to the long-term success of your claim and can produce the outcome that you desire. You will also need to take photographic evidence of your injuries or receive a written certificate from a doctor. If you can, take videos and photographs of the person responsible, their vehicle, and any other pertinent details. Cases without direct evidence tend to be a lot harder to maneuver.
Phone the Police
On the scene of a cycling accident, presuming you have been injured badly, or have been hit by a car, you need to phone the police. While you may not be able to tell whether or not the person responsible for the accident is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, simply by virtue of being so negligent that they hit you, this is a concern. The police, after arrival, should likely check the driver’s alcohol levels. If they do not, then this means they are not concerned about the driver’s sobriety, and thus, you should not be either.
If a driver was responsible for your injury, then you should take their insurance details. Do not accept financial compensation from them or mention a claim until you have consulted a lawyer. Many people will attempt to buy your silence on the scene, but this can mean your case does not stand a chance in court. Insurance claims are tricky territory, that only a trained and professional lawyer will be able to navigate for you. If the driver reports the incident to their insurance company, the company may attempt to offer you a low claim more or less immediately – do not accept until you have consulted an attorney.
On the Subject of Attorneys…
An attorney should be your second point of call, just after your doctors’ surgery. A trained and professional bike accident lawyer will be able to run through your claim with you and advise on a sensible course of action, whether it be taking the person to court, or leaving it alone. The latter will usually be the case if there is no evidence and no witness testimonies. You may be able to find a no-win-no-fee attorney to represent you if you are struggling financially.
Once you have a lawyer on board, you can begin working on your settlement demand. When you make this, be sure to make it with your injuries in mind. People have a tendency to make settlement demands that are way too high and cannot be justified by the injuries. Work out how long you will be out of work, how the injuries will impact your life, and how you will survive, then claim accordingly. A settlement demand should be thought through carefully and should never be made solely with the intention of getting as much money out of the person as you can.
Stick to the Truth
When you are making any sort of claim, it can be easy to exaggerate your injuries. Most of us even exaggerate our injuries to ourselves! The best piece of advice that I can offer is that you stick to the truth. If you are caught at any point lying about, falsifying, or exaggerating injuries, you will find your case dismissed, and you could have legal action brought against you. Always stick to the truth and do not make false claims, even if you can get away with them.
Cycling accidents occur with alarming frequency. Because of this, be as careful as you possibly can be when you are out on your bicycle. Stick to marked tracks, the sides of roads, and wear a high-vis at night-time. If an accident does happen, then be sure to visit here first.
Photo by VISHAKHA JAIN on Unsplash