Brad Nakase, Attorney
Around 45,000 bicycle riders are injured every year due to collision with cars.
A collision of the bicycle with a car or some other hazard on the road can cause severe injuries and damages to the bicycle rider. The bike may be wrecked, and it could take months to recover the personal injuries.
What Should You Do in Such a Situation?
You may be involved in an accident while riding a bicycle, and there are damages due to the negligence of another driver. In such a case, you have a right to claim for the compensation of your personal and property damages. You also have a right to claim for your pain and suffering.
Follow the steps given below to successfully claim the compensation from the insurance company of the driver at-fault.
Without significant evidence from the accident scene, your claim will not be entertained. You must collect the following,
Witnesses can be a great help for proving which driver was at fault. You should ask witnesses for their name and contact information. If the witness gives a written statement, then make sure that it contains the date and witness’s signs.
Some witnesses will be willing to help you, while others won’t get involved. There is no obligation on the witnesses to cooperate with you.
Photographs and Video:
You shouldn’t move the cars until you take pictures or make a video of the accident scene. You should try to take pictures from different angles, and get close-up photos of the point of impact.
Videos of the other driver may capture admission of fault or evidence of intoxication.
Photographic evidence can help in protecting you from false accusations and proving the other driver’s fault.
Look out for Hazard conditions of the road:
The accident may take place due to hazardous conditions like an obstruction on the road, some potholes or broken pavement at some point. In such a case note down the exact area where your accident happened by marking the street signs, mile markers, etc.
If you have any device which has a camera such as mobile then take pictures of the surrounding places. Such as street signs and shops because these are reference points to be presented later for the compensation claim.
Information about the location is essential to determine who is responsible for the accident and liable for the damages.
After identifying the jurisdiction of the place where the accident happened, file the compensation claim with the governmental agency who is responsible for that area. The claim must be filed within 30 days of the incident because after that, the statute of limitations is expired, and the agency no longer considers your claim.
The personal injuries are claimed based on medical record and bills, so, seek medical treatment right after the accident and document your injuries.
Cooperation with the Medical team:
Right after the accident, you have high adrenaline. The adrenaline can suppress the pain, and you think that you are alright. But that may not be the case, and actually, you may have some severe injuries. Inform the medical team about every symptom that you may have, no matter how small it is and cooperate with them. There are chances that you may have some severe injuries like internal bleeding or brain trauma etc. If the medical team insists on transferring you to the hospital, don’t refuse and let them move you to the hospital.
Keep following up with your medical treatment:
If you are not transferred to the hospital directly from the accident scene, go to some doctor for your complete medical checkup. Share everything related to the accident, any pain, discomfort, or symptoms that you have started feeling after the crash with the doctor.
The reason behind this is that if you refuse or delay the medical treatment process or don’t cooperate with the medical team, this can be used against your compensation claim. The adjuster can make an argument that your injuries are not directly related to the accident, and hence your claim is undermined.
Take additional Pictures:
Even after the accident, keep taking pictures of your injuries and bruises and swelling. If you cannot do so yourself, ask someone to take your photos because this will help convince the adjuster for compensation of pain and suffering.
Consider a bicycle accident same as a car accident. Many drivers think that collision with a bicycle is not considered as a serious accident and they can get away with it. Instead, the driver must stop and see if there are serious injuries or if medical assistance is required.
If the driver hits the bicycle rider and does not stop, this is a case of hit and run. The rider must inform the police right after the accident.
In almost 90% of bicycle accident cases, the compensation amount is paid to the victim by the insurance company of the driver, not the driver himself. Nothing is paid from the personal assets of the driver.
Organized documents in a formal way help justify your claim and increase the chances that you will get the claimed amount of compensation.
These documents may include:
Police usually respond to accidents where injuries are reported. Make sure to ask for the copy of the official police report. Insurance adjusters consider police reports as an essential piece of evidence. Your claim will be strengthened if the police report shows that the other driver got a citation for traffic violations. Or if the investigating officer decides the other driver caused the accident.
Medical Bills and records:
Medical records have nothing to do with the proving negligence of the driver, but it will prove that your injuries are solely due to the accident. So, take the copies of your medical reports and bills. Include the record of the person who provided them. Also, count the out of pocket expenses and keep a record of your mileage spent on the medical visits. These medical bills will be of great help in calculating the amount for injury compensation.
In case you are recovered from soft tissue injuries like bumps, small cuts, and bruises, you can deal with the insurance company on your own. You may not have to get advice from an attorney.
A fair amount of compensation can be calculated by adding all the expenses for medical treatment, lost wages, and out of pocket costs.
On the other hand, severe injuries are usually high dollar claims. The adjuster will try to convince you to accept a lower amount by showing sympathy with you. They are aware that an average person does not know much about the laws and can’t deal with the legal formalities as compared to a professional attorney.
Compensation for fatal or severe injuries includes much more than the total medical bills. You will need a professional attorney to pursue compensation for consortium claims, lost wages, future care. You also deserve compensation for your pain and suffering.
You have too much to lose by handling a bicycle accident lawsuit on your own. So, do not settle so quickly for a lesser amount. Instead, consult with an experienced attorney to get the maximum compensation for your loss.
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