After a bicycle accident, collecting as much information and evidence as possible is important. This includes taking photos of your injuries and bike damage and writing down everything you remember about the crash.
Seek medical attention, even if your injuries seem minor. Some injuries don’t show up until hours or days after a collision.
Talk to a Lawyer
Write down all the facts you can remember about the accident as soon as possible. If you can, ensure your statement is included in the police report. If the officer refuses to include your statement at the scene, you may be able to have it amended later.
Take pictures of the accident scene, your injuries, and any damage to the vehicle that hit you. If there were any witnesses, get their names and contact information. Also, make a note of the weather conditions at the time.
Wait to speak to the driver’s insurance company until you talk to an experienced New York bicycle accident lawyer. Insurance companies are for-profit entities that try to deny or minimize claims as much as possible. A Hartford bicycle accident attorney will know how to deal with these companies and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. A reputable attorney will never charge you upfront but instead work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid when your case is won or settled.
The big problem when you do not discuss the case with a qualified attorney is that you are most likely going to make mistakes during the claims process. According to law, you are not required to have an attorney represent you. However, when you take this route, the other parties involved are going to take advantage of your lack of legal knowledge.
Having the attorney in your corner basically guarantees that your rights are going to be properly respected. Without the lawyer, there is a good possibility you are not even aware of all your legal rights.
Get Medical Attention
If you are hurt in a bike accident, you must seek medical attention at the scene. This is important to ensure your injuries are properly treated, and all your symptoms are documented. It is also essential that you do not ignore any symptoms, even those that seem minor at first. Sometimes, injuries do not show up until a few hours or days later due to shock and adrenaline.
Before moving around, you should check to see if your limbs move normally and if you can feel any pain. If you cannot do this yourself, ask someone else.
Try to get all the information you can at the crash scene, including the driver’s name, contact information, license plate number, and insurance information. If you can take pictures of the crash scene, your injuries, and your bicycle, do so. Pictures can be extremely helpful in proving what happened but more about that later on.
When you receive medical attention, make sure you get the associated paperwork. Every single medical report can be of huge help when it comes to receiving the financial compensation you are entitled too.
Also, it is important to understand that after any collision you might be suffering from an injury without being aware of it. The best example of this is a concussion. You might think you only have a small headache when the reality is that you are concussed. Unfortunately, concussions can have long-lasting effects. If you do have one, your medical costs will go up and the claim has to include financial mentions of this.
Report the Accident
The next step is to get the police to the accident scene as quickly as possible. The police will create and file a report documenting the accident in detail. This is important because sometimes injuries don’t become apparent until a day or two later, and minor problems may become permanent.
The police will want to interview witnesses as well as take your statement. They will also need to inspect the vehicles and their damage, take skid mark measurements, and perhaps speak with others who saw what happened.
If the police don’t include your statement in the accident report at the scene, ask if you can have it added later. Also, please only say something to the driver or their insurance company once you talk with a lawyer. Anything you say can be used against you later. The lawyer can also hire an expert to obtain additional evidence, such as speaking with other witnesses and taking photos of the accident site. And, they can get in touch with accident reconstruction specialists capable of proving that your story is the correct one.
When you can do so (or have someone else take pictures for you), get multiple shots of the accident scene, including any damage to the vehicle(s), your bicycle, and any other property damaged. In addition, get a picture of the surroundings, including any nearby signs or buildings. It is important to have this picture before any evidence disappears, such as when the road is repaved, or new signs are added. Likewise, make sure to photograph any visible injuries. Even a seemingly minor injury could develop into something serious later on.
Try to record the license plate of any vehicles involved in the accident. You may also want to photograph any witnesses to get their contact information. Take video as well, which can help to show things that are difficult to capture in photos, such as traffic flow and blindspots. In fact, videos have been proven to be particularly effective when it comes to proving the circumstances of bicycle accidents.
Being involved in a bicycle accident can have shattering long-term repercussions. Fortunately, the law is in your corner and you are allowed to receive financial compensation whenever someone caused the accident and your injuries. But, it is important to never take the situation lightly. One of the worst mistakes you could make is not hire an experienced bicycle accident attorney to represent you. They will only be paid when the claim is successful so there is no reason not to consult them.