Bicycle accidents are particularly frightening because you don’t even have the insulation of a larger vehicle to protect you in the event of a collision. This is why bicyclists are more likely to be seriously injured and killed when they are involved in an accident.
If you ride a bicycle as a hobby, or use it regularly for transport and find yourself tangled in an bicycle accident, here are some of the things you need to do.
1.Get medical attention
If you are able to, make an assessment of your injuries. If they are serious enough to warrant medical intervention, seek help immediately. Do not walk away or ride away from the scene of an accident thinking or hoping everything is fine. There’s a chance that the nature and scale of your injuries may not be immediately apparent.
There are several instances where bicyclists have abstained from getting medical treatment after an accident, only to find that they are plagued by injuries subsequently. Worse, they can’t hold anyone liable for their injuries, since there is no medical record to show their injuries are the result of the accident they were involved in.
Obtain physical records of any treatment you undergo for your injuries and keep them in a safe place.
2. Do not admit liability for the accident
An accident can confuse and disorient you. There’s a chance you can do or say things that can come back to haunt you.
One of these is admitting liability for the accident. You may be surprised at how seemingly innocuous things you say could be interpreted. This is why the less you say, the better off you’ll be.
Be sure to get the contact details of the other party or parties. Beyond that, it’s best you sit silently and wait for the police and/or medical help to arrive on the scene.
3. Get witness contacts
It may be a good idea to get the contact details of anyone who saw the accident as well. If you decide to take further action, it will not just be your word against the other party. Witnesses can provide important facts that you may not have been aware of.
4. File a police report
Ensure that your version of events gets entered into an official accident report such as the one taken by the police. This is important, since the police report is one of the primary documents that will be used by insurance companies to settle your claim, or lawyers and the court system if they become involved.
5. Document the scene of the accident
Having your own independent record of the accident scene, whether it’s the extent of your injuries or the damage to your bicycle can be helpful. It will help you remember things about the accident that you may forget as time passes. It will also provide an important source of evidence.
6. Don’t negotiate with insurance companies if they contact you
If the other party is at fault, they, their lawyer or their insurance company might contact you to negotiate a settlement.
You may be tempted to accept, but you shouldn’t. Accepting a settlement may preclude you from going to court later. It has been shown that you are also likely to be paid less than if there was a court decided settlement. You may also be unable to claim more at a later date if your injuries are more severe than first believed.
The other party’s lawyers and insurance company know all of this, which is why they will try to rush you into a settlement. If this happens, it may be time for the next step.
7. Hire a lawyer
You might be a bit sceptical at this step because most people don’t want the trouble of legal action. They just want the situation to go away.
Unfortunately, it may not go away that easily. The other parties may decide to sue you. The insurance company may be offering less in compensation than you deserve. The other party may not be admitting liability, even if they are at fault. This is why you may need to get a lawyer. In this case, a bicycle accident lawyer may be best since they specialise in this type of injury.
If you’re undecided about a lawyer, understand it may be better to have someone who understands the law dealing with the insurance companies, collecting evidence on your behalf as well as filing your legal paperwork.
Getting tangled in a bicycle accident may not be your fault, but it’s your responsibility to extricate yourself as quickly and advantageously as possible. Following this advice will enable you to do just that.