When it comes to traffic accidents, bicycles are less safer because they don’t offer much protection to the rider as compared to other vehicles. So, as unfair as it sounds, if a car hits your bicycle, you will likely suffer the brunt of the crash. At the same time, any other motor vehicle probably won’t have a scratch on it. Thus, bicycle riders are recommended to take specific steps to protect their legal rights in such a situation. If it is undoubtedly the fault of someone driving an SUV or a Harley Davidson, don’t be intimidated by a big vehicle. You need to be aware of your legal rights and make sure you follow these steps.
1. Call the law enforcement agency
Calling in the authorities can make a huge difference. It is never wise to attempt negotiation on your own. In the worst-case scenario, if not for the police, the other driver may later deny any involvement and refuse to take any blame. It is best to call the police to document the accident.
If there was any injury or serious property damage inflicted, involving the police can have major implications for the outcome of any lawsuit that you file as well. Calling the police is the first step if you intend to file a lawsuit and hire a bicycle accident attorney to fight your case. A little patience is worth the fruit in the long run.
2. Get the driver’s identification
The driver’s name, address, phone number, and insurance details are crucial in such a situation. The accident site is the only place where you may get a hold of the driver. Be wise and take the driver’s identification information to not leave without anything to base your claims on when questioned about the accident and its details. Also, remember to jot down the vehicle’s model and license plate number. Such information would be necessary for the police if the driver flees the scene and they have to track them down.
3. Note down exactly what happened
You may know what happened at the moment of the accident, but if you have faced some injury and are just processing all that occurred in your mind, you might forget the details later. Don’t trust your memory in the matter. Documenting the happenings should help out. Write down the exact time, place, and details of the accident once you can stand up and think clearly. It is a good idea to use illustrations, maps, and diagrams as well. If possible, take pictures of the scene and write about any injuries you faced and any damage to your bicycle.
4. Get the police to take your statement
Unfortunately, in most cases, the police are concerned more about taking a report of the incident from the motorist’s point of view. It is your legal right to give your statement as well. The police report will play an important role in how the insurance company handles the problem later. When documenting the incident, remember to state what happened, mention any injuries, as minor as they may sound, and record any damage done to your bicycle.
5. Collect evidence
If you intend to file for a personal injury lawsuit, substantial evidence to back your claim is necessary. Such evidence could include pictures of any injuries you suffered, your medical report, the contact information of witnesses who can support your claim, etc. If you can get a copy of the accident investigation report from the police, it will help as well.
6. Negotiate with the insurance company only after consulting a lawyer
Don’t settle on any negotiation from the insurance company unless your lawyer has recommended it. Insurance companies attempt to reduce the payment they have to make as much as possible. They might take advantage of a naïve subject and sell them an offer that is not in their best interest. You may even be offered a quick settlement anticipating that you would agree to it because you need urgent money. Don’t fall into the trap. Agreeing to it is likely to prevent any additional compensation later.
7. Consult a professional
It is best not to talk to the insurance company unless you have consulted a lawyer first. Attorneys are experienced in dealing with insurance companies on legal grounds and are more knowledgeable about your legal rights as a citizen. Insurance companies often attempt to convince you of an agreement that denies you your basic rights. An attorney can better negotiate on your behalf, hire a professional to investigate the accident, and represent you later in your personal injury lawsuit.
Bicycle accidents are quite common, and bicycle riders are more likely than others to suffer harm. However, you must not forget that as a bicycle rider, you have the same legal rights as others. In such an unfortunate event as an accident, you need to take the proper steps to protect yourself. If you have suffered damage in a bicycle crash due to the fault of another driver, remember to file a report and proceed with a personal injury lawsuit. Act wisely, and don’t let the insurance company exploit you.