6 Things to Do After a Bicycle Accident
You're a responsible cyclist, but even when you take safety precautions and follow traffic laws, you're still at the mercy of vehicles around you. If the worst happens and you're injured in a bicycle accident, here are six of the most important things you can do to protect yourself.
Take your time and assess the situationYou’ve just been in a serious accident. Before getting back up, give yourself a moment to breathe and check yourself for injuries. Make sure that your arms and legs are moving in all directions without pain. Take note of any cuts, scrapes, or bleeding. See if your neck hurts when you look around. As you start getting up, check to see if you can stand and walk. Inspect your helmet to see if it was damaged in the accident: if it was, you should get checked for a concussion.
Call the policeDon’t be afraid to get the proper authorities involved. Even if you don’t want to get the driver that hit you in trouble, you need a police officer to document what happened in a bicycle accident police report. The driver may insist that the accident wasn’t a big deal and there’s no reason to call the police, but it is extremely important to get a legal authority to record the incident.
If there is no documentation, you won’t be able to get the compensation and coverage you deserve if you end up missing time from work or requiring medical treatment. Never negotiate with the driver while waiting for the police – even if they apologize or take the blame for the accident. You may have injuries you don’t yet know about, or the driver may have a change of heart and deny the accident later.
Document everythingWhen it comes to getting the compensation you deserve, written and photographic evidence is as good as gold. Try to record everything you can remember about the accident as soon after as possible, including:
• When and where the collision took place
• What the traffic was like
• What you were doing
• Where you were looking when the crash happened
If you have a cell phone handy, take pictures of the scene of the accident, any damage to your bike or the vehicle that hit you, and especially of any injuries that you sustained.
Talk to the other driver and write down their contact information. If anyone witnessed the accident, try to get their contact information and a brief account of what they saw. Independent witnesses can be the difference between winning and losing your case.
Seek medical attentionAs soon as possible, get to the hospital. If you are seriously injured, this should become priority number one. Talking to the police about the accident and gathering evidence can wait until after you are adequately cared for.
Even if you feel fine and you can’t see any injuries, you need to be evaluated by a doctor. Because of the speed and forces involved in bicycle accidents, you could have sustained injuries that are not immediately apparent. These can include soft tissue injuries like whiplash, herniations of the spinal discs, or internal bleeding or damage to your organs. Getting prompt medical care and monitoring can be critical to making sure any potential injuries are fully treated.
Preserve evidence and get photosDon’t throw away or try to wash your clothes or any other items that were damaged in the accident. Definitely don’t take your bicycle into a shop to be repaired. Showing the damage these items took can play a major role in getting you the money you need to recover and move on with your life. Try to take pictures of the bike or any other damaged items. Your attorney will also want to take photos of the damage and may be able to securely hold the items while your claim is underway
Talk to an experienced bike accident lawyerWhile your health is the most important thing, your legal rights are nearly as important – and sometimes they go hand-in-hand. After all, pursuing a claim for damages can often be the difference from affording first-rate medical care and having to forgo the treatment your body requires to get better. As soon as your injuries are stabilized, look for a skilled bicycle accident attorney to handle your claim as soon as possible.