Do you know how many bike-car collisions happen every year?
According to the CDC, there were almost 467,000 bicycle-related injuries in 2015 in the US. Not all of these involved bike-car collisions, but because Georgia law considers bicycles “vehicles” cars and bikes are constantly on the road together. Cyclists are put at greater risk as they are required to share the road with motorists.
Ideally, with the recent law prohibiting motorists from using a mobile device while driving (even if the car is stopped at a light or stop sign,) cyclists will have less to fear on the road from distracted drivers, but should you find yourself in an accident with a car, there are some essential things you should do.
What to do first after a bike-car collision
Initially, after you, as a bike rider, are in an accident with a car, to the extent that you are physically able to you should follow basic accident protocol. Collect contact information, license plate number, and insurance information from the driver of the vehicle. Call the police to come to the scene and request that they prepare an accident report.
Be sure not to move your bike prior to an officer documenting the scene in order to get an accurate report should you need it to support your claim for compensation. You want everything to stay just as it was immediately following the accident.
Secondly, assess whether you’ve experienced any personal injuries that require medical attention. It’s important to seek medical treatment immediately after you’re able to leave the scene of an accident. Any time elapsing between an accident and medical treatment can dilute your case for compensation.
Document everything, including taking pictures of the accident scene and your injuries and maintain records of your injuries and treatment. Having documentation from a certified physician is also important should you need evidence of your injuries down the road for insurance purposes or for a lawsuit.
It may seem like the next logical step is to reach out to the insurance company to begin processing a claim. However, most personal injury attorneys advise against doing this without preparing a statement first.
Insurance companies are looking to pay out a minimal amount for any claim. They can easily take an unorganized statement from you, the victim, and use it against you later in an attempt to minimize the value of your claim. We typically recommend not speaking to the at-fault party’s insurance company without first consulting with an attorney.
Be prepared if things escalate
While the ideal resolution to your personal injury case involves quick and easy compensation, there’s always a chance the battle will be difficult.
Be prepared for this to happen by maintaining evidence you can provide your personal injury attorney should they need to step in to assist you. Keep your damaged bike and the clothing you wore during the accident as they were immediately following the collision.
Don’t repair the bike or clean the clothes. Take pictures as well to document, but keeping things are they were provides you with optimal evidence should you need it. Damaged equipment and torn or stained clothing is better evidence than simply having photographs from the scene.
How to find the right personal injury attorney
Many bike-car accidents are settled prior to the need for any legal action to be filed or pursued. This is due, in part, to the help a personal injury lawyer can provide. If you’ve been injured as a result of a bicycle-car collision we can help.
Contact The Patterson Cozzo Law Firm to schedule a free initial consultation. Receive the personalized attention from our attorneys that only a smaller law firm can provide and get the compensation that you deserve based on the individual facts of your case.