Bicyclists face a higher risk of injury and fatality from accidents than occupants of motor vehicles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drivers are obligated to share the road with other drivers as well as bicyclists, but sometimes their negligence leads to serious accidents. It is important for bicyclists to know the steps to take after a bicycle accident so that they can help ensure favorable outcomes in their lawsuits and maximize recovery for their damages.
It is common for those involved in an accident to avoid the hassle of waiting for the police or dealing with insurance companies. In the immediate aftermath, cyclists may not realize they are injured or may think that the injuries they sustained are minor and will heal on their own. Many injuries do not surface until hours later and some may develop into something more serious than originally thought.
It is also best not to negotiate with the other person involved in the accident. They may seem apologetic or willing to settle outside of court, but then later change their mind and deny responsibility.
Therefore, you should wait for the police to arrive and create a police report. This will ensure that there is proof of the accident and that all identifying information for the driver is documented. It will also give the police an opportunity to write down their assessment of the accident, which may later be used by the insurance companies in determining who was at fault.
Be sure to get the driver’s name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, and insurance information. Contact information for witnesses may also be helpful to your case. If the police officer does not ask you for a statement, try to get your version of events included in the police report.
It is also important to have your own documentation regarding the accident. How and where the bike accident happened, what traffic and weather conditions were like at the time of the accident, and what injuries you suffered because of the accident, are important details that should be written down. Take pictures of all damages, including your injuries, as soon as possible. After seeking immediate medical attention, maintain a journal documenting the progression of your injuries over time.
Your bicycle and other damaged property should be preserved as evidence. Resist the temptation to have your bicycle washed, repaired, or inspected. The only person other than you who should have possession of items associated with the accident is your attorney.
Do not speak to the insurance companies before consulting a lawyer. Insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind and may use what you tell them against you. As your advocate, a lawyer can advise you on how to proceed and assist you in avoiding legal pitfalls.
If you were injured in a bicycle accident, contact the experienced bicycle accident lawyers in Middlesex County at Davis & Brusca, LLC. We can give you advice on how to proceed, help you negotiate with the insurance company, and represent you in your lawsuit. From our offices in Princeton, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout the state in Middlesex County, Essex County, Hudson County, Union County, Morris County, and Hunterdon County. Contact us online or call us at 609-786-2540 to discuss your case today.