Bicyclists are particularly vulnerable in accidents involving other vehicles. Bicyclists usually only have a helmet, if even that, to protect them in accidents. In the most common types of accidents, a car or SUV collides into the bicyclist, causing the bicyclist to be ejected from the bicycle and to land on pavement. Almost all bicycle accidents cause injuries, and serious injuries are common.
The most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are from 2013. They show that 904 bicyclists were killed in accidents while about 494,000 were treated in emergency room for bicycling injuries.
Many bicyclists aren’t aware of what to do after being involved in a collision with a motor vehicle, nor do they have an understanding of their legal rights. Keep these suggestions in mind.
Remain at the Scene and Contact the Police
Many bicyclists lose consciousness at least briefly. Remain at the scene of the collision and request medical assistance by calling 911 or asking that someone do so. If you request an ambulance, the police will almost always investigate the accident and prepare a report. If you don’t seek to be transported, in any case report that you are injured to first responders.
Tell Police What Happened
If it’s at all possible at the scene, tell police exactly how the bicycle accident happened. If the at fault driver fled give your best description of the vehicle that caused the accident. The investigating officer will interview any witnesses, and the driver if available, and then complete an accident report. The accident report, if one is prepared, is very important in establishing responsibility of the at fault party.
Be sure to save your bike. It can be important evidence. The insurance company may want to inspect it. It may be very useful in proving your case.
From Head to Toe, Tell Paramedics What Hurts
The paramedics will examine you at the scene, note your complaints of pain and any objective signs of injury like cuts, bruises, abrasions or obvious fractures. That’s your first medical record in your case against the driver. Your next record will be from the emergency room. Insist on being taken there, at least for an examination. Any complaints of pain and objective signs of injury will again be entered on another record. That record will be used to tie in your injuries to the accident in the future.
See Legal Assistance After Emergency Treatment
It’s basically never too soon to contact an attorney to represent you. As soon as you are released from any emergency treatment, or as soon as you have left the scene of the accident if there was not emergency treatment, that’s the time to be looking to have an attorney represent your interests.
Don’t Delay or Miss Treatment
The emergency room doctor might discharge you and refer you to your own doctor or a specialist. The attorney you hire may have suggestions regarding medical treatment. Don’t delay following up on recommendations.
The insurance company of the driver who hit you will be entitled to copies of your medical records from the accident. They’ll scrutinize them. Any gaps in treatment or missed appointments can raise issues. Don’t give them the opportunity to raise those issues. Continue on with any and all treatment or therapy until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement and you’re discharged.
Never Talk With the Driver’s Insurer
The insurance company of the driver who hit may contact you and request a written or recorded statement from you. You’re under no legal obligation to provide that, and in fact you want to avoid providing a statement. You may damage your case if you do give them that statement. There’s a time and a place for any such statement, and that’s with your attorney being present. Never give an opposing insurer or its attorneys any type of a statement without an attorney representing you being involved.
Eric Woods is a highly experienced, compassionate, aggressive and successful Las Vegas personal injury attorney. Contact our offices at (702) 737-0000 as soon as you can after any accident for a free consultation and case evaluation. No attorney fees are due unless or until we win.