When riding a bicycle on public roadways, many people are nervous about the possibility of an accident. Bicyclists are unprotected from the force of many deadly crashes, so they are vulnerable to greater injury than motor vehicle occupants. Some courts are prejudiced against bicyclists, meaning that they are more likely to pin the blame for a crash on the cyclist. If you have been in an accident, you will need a bicycle accident lawyer to guide you through the process of receiving justice.
This article will guide you through the aftermath of a bicycle accident and what you need to do to make sure you have proper compensation for your injuries.
The Fear of Accidents
Many bicyclists fear having a collision with an automobile. This fear sometimes keeps bicyclists off the road. Cars are meant to treat bicycles equally with cars, but in practice, drivers fail to look out for bicycles when they are on the road. This creates a dangerous situation with potential for catastrophic injury.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Agency (NHTSA) has released the grim statistic that fatal car-bicycle crashes rose by over 6 percent between 2017 and 2018, with a total of 857 deaths.
Who is Liable in a Bicycle Crash?
As with other types of accident, the blame in a bicycle crash could fall on the cyclist, the driver, or both. The problem could also be caused by poor road conditions and manufacturing defects of the bicycle or equipment. No matter who is at fault, the accident is the result of negligence. If another party has been negligent, the cyclist has the legal right to be compensated for their injuries.
In the case of a car-on-bicycle collision, you will need to negotiate with the driver’s car insurance company to compensate you. Your negotiations with the insurance company will focus on who was the negligent party and whether the responsibility is split between you and the driver. If you can get the insurance company to agree that the driver was at fault, you will receive a settlement.
The problem is those car insurance companies operate with regard to their profitability. Insurance companies are primed to deny claims as much as possible.
Having a personal injury lawyer on your side can go a long way toward ensuring that you will be paid for your injuries and the distress of being involved in the accident. Cyclists who have suffered more than minor injuries should consider discussing their case with an experienced attorney before talking with the driver or their insurance company.
What You Should Do After an Accident
The period after a bicycle crash is frightening and stressful. Most drivers who have caused an accident will apologize and accept the blame at the scene, but after they have had a chance to think about the implications of their words, will claim that the bicyclist was negligent. They may even refuse to admit that they were at the scene of the accident.
It is important to wait for the police to arrive at the accident scene to facilitate the filing of an official report. Not all cyclists know right away that they have been injured. They may walk away not knowing of their injuries until it is too late.
You should also refrain from negotiating with the at-fault driver. The driver may not be forthcoming about their insurance coverage, vehicle ownership, or even their identity. If you wait for the police, you can depend on their authority to get the correct identity, license, and insurance coverage information.
It is also not a good idea to tell the police officer or the driver that you are “OK.” You should always get medical attention after a collision. You need to be evaluated by a doctor for hidden injuries. The driver’s insurance company shouldn’t have the information on record that you said you were OK.
Make sure that the accident report written by the police is accurate. This report will include any statements made by the driver and other witnesses. The responding officer has the choice to ticket the driver, which can be useful when settling the case.
You need to make sure that your statement is part of the accident report. Sometimes the officer will decide that the cyclist is at fault without even talking to them first.
After the Accident
The scene will have to be investigated. The police officers will need to obtain skid mark measurements, photograph and diagram the accident scene, and speak with additional witnesses.
Even if you feel OK, be sure you see a doctor. In some cases, traumatic brain injuries are not noticed right after the crash but could prove fatal hours or days later. Getting prompt medical treatment will create a paper trail for your attorney and the insurance company.
Most bicyclists are very safe on the road, but others are negligent. Make sure that you wear a helmet, travel in the correct lane, and take all necessary precautions. If you are involved in an accident, contact a qualified accident lawyer right away. These lawyers will be able to manage your case and the legal implications of the accident.