Post Bicycle Crash Checklist
Bicycle accident personal injury cases can be complex. It’s important to make sure to follow certain steps to ensure that you have the documentation and evidence needed for your claim. The steps outlined in our bicycle crash checklist can keep you and your case organized.
If you have suffered injuries in a serious Los Angeles bicycle collision due to someone else’s negligence, attorney Michael Stephenson of Los Angeles Bicycle Law can pursue monetary compensation on your behalf, and if necessary, represent you in court.
Get Off the Road
Immediately after the accident, get off the roadway, or ask someone to help you move to the side of the road. Once you are in a safe place, don’t rush to get up. Take time to take stock of any injuries that may have occurred. Check your body and your helmet. Bike accidents come unexpectedly, and you may be disconcerted. Try to evaluate your injuries before you try to get up.
Speak With the Police Officer On-Scene
The next step on our bicycle crash checklist is to call and speak with a police officer immediately following your accident. Or you can ask any witnesses to contact the police, and to also give you their contact information. After the accident, wait for police to arrive at the car crash scene, and request that the officer writes a report. The police report will contain a written record of how the accident happened, and cam be a powerful piece of evidence for your case. If there are any mistakes or discrepancies, you should contact the reporting officer and request that a change be made. If you didn’t file a report at the accident scene, you can do so later at the police station.
Tell Your Side of the Story
Make sure that you tell the police your version of events. If you have a suspicion that the driver was texting or using a cellphone, tell the officer this and make sure they include it in the police report. The driver’s phone bill can provide proof of distracted driving, and the police can you give you instructions on how to get a copy of the bill.
Do Not Speak to Anyone About Your Accident
An important step on our bicycle crash checklist is to refrain from speaking with others following your accident. This is because anything you say to another driver or witness can be used against you later on in the process. If you are unsure as to whether or not you have sustained injuries, a good response is, “I’m not sure right now, I am still in shock.” In many bicycle accident cases, symptoms do not manifest themselves until several days after the accident occurs.
You should also refrain from accepting responsibility for the accident. This is because an apology at the accident scene will be viewed as an admission of guilt by the insurance company. Such an admission may make it more difficult to prove your case and will likely reduce any settlement offers that the insurance company places on your case.
The next step on our bicycle crash checklist is to obtain contact information. You should gather insurance information for anyone else who was involved in the accident. Get down driver’s license information, license plate numbers, etc. This step is necessary because in some cases, the contact information listed on the police report inaccurate. Moreover, it can be expensive to obtain this information later on.
Take Good Notes
Another step on our bicycle crash checklist is to take good notes and preserve evidence following your accident. You should always write down the what, where, why, and how regarding the accident – including when the accident happened. Document everything in as much detail as possible. You should also document the weather conditions, injuries sustained, pain levels, and medical care and treatment received.
It’s a good idea to keep a detailed injury diary so that all of your notes are in one place. Keep a daily journal documenting your pain, showing proof of economic losses, notes recording any conversations you had with people about the accident, etc. Settling a bike accident claim can be a long and frustrating process, so the more thorough and organized you are, the better chance you have for a successful outcome.
Preserve and Gather Evidence
Take photos of the accident scene, or ask others to help take photos — your injuries, your bike, the car, the road, etc.
If there are witnesses, make sure you get their names and contact information. Don’t rely on the police officer for this. You can ask a bystander to assist you, especially if you have injuries. Also, make sure to follow up with witnesses soon and ask them to email you their description of the accident while it’s still fresh in their memory. Memories can fade quickly, so the sooner you can do this the better.
Make sure you preserve your bicycle in its post-crash state. You should also preserve any evidence of your ride. For example, if you used a GPS tracking application such as Strata, keep the data. Don’t try to ride your bike again if you can.
When you take your bike to the shop, let them know that you plan on filing a claim and that the damages were from a crash. The bike shop can help you detail the damages to the bike, which can help when settling your claim.
Seek Medical Care Immediately
You need to prioritize your health. If your injury requires immediate medical care, call 911, or ask others to do so for you.
Even if you don’t need to go to the hospital right away, but suffered an injury, make sure you get medical treatment as soon as possible. Often, the effects of injuries aren’t noticeable until days after the accident. When you go to a doctor, describe your pain, discomfort, and other symptoms thoroughly. Having this documentation in your records is key to your bike accident claim.
Do Not Speak With an Insurance Adjuster
The final step on our bicycle crash checklist is to refrain from speaking with an insurance adjuster following your accident. The insurance company is never on your side. Their goal is avoid paying claims. They will try to contact you in the hopes of getting you to say anything they can use to discredit your claim. Therefore, even an off-hand remark can put your financial recovery in jeopardy. They will record everything you say and use it to refute your claim if and wherever possible. You should never speak with the insurance company without first contacting a personal injury lawyer.
Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have suffered injury in a Los Angeles bicycle crash, a personal injury attorney can safeguard your legal rights and pursue monetary recovery on your behalf. Completed the steps outlined in our bicycle crash checklist. Then contact attorney Michael Stephenson of Los Angeles Bicycle Law online, or by calling (424)230–3240.