What to Do After Bicycle Accident
If you are reading this article, you or someone you love has been injured in the bicycle crash (We do not use the word accident) and are looking for help from an attorney.
You can be confident that you have come to the right place for information. The bicycle attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman have been winning cases for Boston cyclists for decades.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured while riding a bicycle, the actions that you take at the crash scene and immediately after are critical.
First and foremost, make sure that you obtain medical treatment. We cannot stress this enough. Your health and well-being are most important. Even if your injuries seem minor at the time, it is hard to know how badly you are hurt when the adrenaline caused by an unexpected injury wears off. All too many times, our clients have gone home, only to realized that they needed emergency medical care. Most people do not know that seeking medical care after a crash with a car is almost always covered by insurance. Minor injuries can turn into serious ones. If your injuries are serious, seek medical care, rest up and take care of yourself. You can come back to this article later and check off the other items on our list.Things to Do (and Not Do) After a Bicycle Crash
Here is a list of some post-crash dos and do nots after a crash:
Do: Make yourself safe immediately. If you are in the road, get yourself to a safe location and then call 911. The police will write up and file a police report, which could end up being an important piece of evidence if you decide to seek compensation from a negligent driver or other at-fault parties. If the police issue the driver a ticket, you can use that as evidence, too. Make sure you tell the responding officers your view of how the crash occurred so that they can record it in the police report. Have your medical providers note all of your injuries, even minor ones. Get the police officer’s name and ask how you can get a copy of the report.
Do NOT: Leave the scene of the crash. If you leave the scene, you may be unable to identify the driver who hit you or other parties responsible for your injuries. And don’t refuse medical treatment at the scene.
Do: Ask for contact and insurance information from the driver. Get the license plate number if you can. Do not forget to request contact information from any witnesses. Treat your bicycle crash as you would any car accident. Contact witnesses as soon as possible and ask them to e-mail you their version of what happened before they forget relevant details. Do NOT: Assume that the police report will contain all of the contact information that you might need. And don’t negotiate with the driver. At first, the driver may admit to causing the crash, but later deny responsibility or even deny being at the scene. The drivers who do not want to call the police often do not want to get caught for driving without insurance or a license.
Do: In the case of a hit-and-run incident, try to get the license plate number and the make, model and color of the car. Write down a description of the person behind the wheel. Ask witnesses at the scene for their help.
Do NOT: Chase after the driver or ask anyone else to do so for you. The driver could be drunk, otherwise impaired, dangerous or even fleeing from the scene of a crime.
Do: Write down what happened as soon as possible. People tend to forget details more quickly than you might think, especially after such a frightening and traumatic occurrence. If you do not have pen and paper, you can use your smartphone’s notes feature to jot down details such as how and where the incident occurred. Take note of factors such as the weather and road conditions. If you take notes intended for your Attorney, they are not discoverable by the insurer or the driver in a lawsuit.
Do NOT: Assume that you will remember all relevant details.
Do: Document the crash scene by taking pictures or video of the vehicles involved and any potholes, road defects or roadway hazards that caused or contributed to the crash.
Do NOT: Assume that you wll be able to come back and snap a picture or collect evidence at a later date. For example, if your crash was caused by debris in the road or a malfunctioning traffic light, it is possible that those defects will have been corrected by the time you return.
Do: Document your injuries and keep a daily journal of physical symptoms. Keep track of all medical treatment you receive, including doctor appointments, physical therapy visits and prescription medications. Track lost work days and any psychological effects such as nightmares, anxiety and depression. Use your cellphone to take pictures of your injuries at the time of the crash and throughout the healing process.
Do NOT: Brush off your injuries as minor and insignificant. As we explained above, a relatively minor injury can turn into a serious, permanent injury over time. And do not post about your crash or your injuries on social media.
Do: Preserve relevant evidence, including your banged-up bicycle, dented helmet and torn clothing. Take pictures of all damaged items.
Do NOT: Drop your bike off for repairs or toss your torn clothes until you speak to a lawyer and document your damages. These items may be needed to substantiate your claims. Do: Contact a skilled and experienced bicycle injury attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will provide legal advice and represent you in a claim or lawsuit, if necessary. An attorney can also negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. People who are represented by legal counsel tend to win larger settlements than those who take on insurance companies on their own. Keep in mind that most personal injury cases are settled long before any trial.
Do NOT: Wait too long. If too much time elapses, it will be harder to collect evidence that will support your claim. Do not miss out on your opportunity to collect compensation for your injuries. In Massachusetts, individuals have three years to file a personal injury claim, in most cases. This time limit is shorter if the person is suing a city, state or other government entity. Fauilure to provide proper notice can result in you losing your claim.
DO NOT talk to an insurance adjuster or sign any agreement to a settlement until you have had the opportunity to consult with a lawyer. You could inadvertently say something that undermines your case. Insurance companies often ask deceptive questions that are aimed at mitigating their risk. While an adjuster may seem friendly, the phone lines are recorded and they are paid to save insurers money by fighting claims.
It iss important to note that once you sign off on a settlement, you can never go back, even if your injuries are more substantial than they first appeared.
To learn more about how our bicycle lawyers can help with an injury claim, contact The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC today at (617) 777-7777 or via our electronic form. There are no fees unless we obtain compensation for you. Call us anytime so that we can help to guide you when the road takes an unexpected turn.