Cycling is fun and has many benefits for our bodies. However, this pleasurable activity can end up in terrible accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 50,000 cyclists are injured in vehicle accidents yearly. The figure is usually high in Florida due to the increased number of bicyclists on the road.
There are different types of automobile vs. bicycle accidents. A common accident is the left cross collision, where a vehicle turns left directly into the path of a bicycle going in the opposite direction. There’s also a high incidence of a right hook collision, where a car overtakes a cyclist and then makes a sudden right turn in front of the cyclist. Another usual scenario is a vehicle door opening into a cyclist’s path.
If you’re a cyclist, you should be alert and take quick action because what you do after an accident is critical if you’re planning to seek compensation for damages. Here are the immediate things to do after an automobile vs. bicycle accident.
Call And Wait For The Police To Arrive
Both the bicyclist and motorist have a legal obligation to remain at the scene of the accident and wait for an officer to make a police report. This is the proper procedure even when bicyclists are responsible for a Florida car accident. Be sure to wait for the police even if you don’t have any visible injuries, as these may become evident after a few hours or even days.
If you flee the accident scene, it can be challenging to determine who is at fault. Also, when you leave, the other driver leaves too, and there would be no way to track them down.
While at the scene, avoid negotiating with the motorist. Even if the driver apologizes and admits that the accident is his fault, don’t fall for it. It’s best to wait for the police to make a full report. This is because you don’t know the extent of your injuries. Also, the motorist may retract his statement later on.
The police will interview witnesses and examine the extent of the damage. You can use the official police statement when you file a damage claim.
Gather Important Information
After an accident, collecting relevant information is crucial as it can be used as evidence when you file a lawsuit. Start by obtaining the driver’s name, license number, phone number, home address, vehicle model, license plate number, insurance company name, and policy number. If witnesses are on the scene, get their contact information as well.
If possible, take pictures of the scene and record a video when taking the motorist’s information and any admission of fault. Stories sometimes change when drivers realize they’re in trouble.
Also, take a quick video of the witnesses stating their names, contact information, and a brief narrative of what happened. If you’re injured, ask a passerby to help you collect all the important information.
By doing all these things, you can gather evidence to support your claim and receive proper compensation. However, you will need an experienced car accident lawyer so that you can use the evidence to your advantage. A lawyer knows best how to use all the collected documents to demonstrate the essential elements of negligence and establish the other party’s liability.
Ensure The Police Record Your Version Of The Story In The Report
It’s essential that the police get your side of the story. After the officer records the motorist’s version, be sure to give your account of the events that led to the accident. Report all your injuries, even if they appear slight at the time, as they may become severe after a while.
If for some reason, the police officer fails to record your statement, you can have the report amended with the help of a lawyer. So, make sure to have the complete details of what happened, how it happened, when and where it occurred, and the road situation at the time of the accident. This is one of the best ways to protect your rights and interests should you file an injury claim against the at-fault party.
However, you should also be mindful when providing information about the accident to the police authorities. Be sure to avoid giving statements that might incriminate you, as it could affect your chances of winning your case.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
After an accident, it’s essential to seek medical attention immediately, even if you don’t have any apparent injuries. This is because some injuries may take a few hours or days to appear.
Getting proper medication helps you recover quickly and resume your normal activities. On the other hand, neglecting a medical check-up and treatment may worsen your condition and prolong your recovery. If you have serious injuries, see a medical specialist with adequate experience in treating accident injuries. An experienced medical professional can promptly and properly diagnose your injuries and provide the right treatment. Also, they may have connections with legal representatives who know best how to expedite your claim.
Furthermore, the hospital bill and medical records indicating the full extent of your injuries will serve as valuable documentation when you file a claim for damages. Also, remember to take photos of your injuries right after the accident or before getting medical treatment. These can help you prove the relationship between your injuries and the accident, making it much easier to get compensated and hold the defendant accountable for what happened.
The Bottom Line
Bicyclists are vulnerable road users prone to serious injuries in vehicular collisions. As such, you should be thoroughly familiar with the immediate steps to take after an automobile vs. bicycle accident.
Whether you decide to file a claim for damages or agree to an out-of-court settlement, you may need the services of an experienced bicycle accident attorney. Nonetheless, ensure to gather documentary evidence, such as photographs, videos, medical reports, police reports, and witness statements, as these would have a significant bearing on your case.