What to do if you are involved in a bicycle accident
Georgia is a gorgeous place for biking. Avid bikers hit the roads early in the morning or late in the evening to squeeze in a few minutes on the road before and after work. Teams of bikers hit the Georgia backroads every Saturday and Sunday morning to make the most of the weekend ride.
If you have ever biked on a Georgia road, you know that bikes and cars are a dangerous combination. Fortunately, the good news is most bicycle accidents do not involve cars. But if you have ever been in a bicycle accident, you know the steps you take after the accident will have a major impact on how well you will be positioned to recover from your injuries and recoup damages to your bike.
The worst case scenario is that the steps you fail to take after a bicycle accident have an impact on the outcome of lawsuits that may arise following a bike accident.
We certainly don’t want that to happen to you.
Here is what to do if you are involved in a bicycle accident:
Call 911 and wait on the police
It is crucial that you call 911 (or the local police department) to make sure that the police arrive to your scene and file a proper police report, even if you do not believe you are injured. It is easy to be in shock after an accident and not feel an injury until hours after an accident. Also, sometimes minor injuries develop into more serious or permanent conditions. Staying at the accident scene and waiting on police also ensures you have the contact information of the other driver.
Negotiating with the driver is never a good idea. Some drivers may apologize or accept the fault of the accident, but later turn and deny their negligence or even their presence at the accident.
Another advantage of waiting for the police to arrive at the scene of the bicycle accident is that the police might go ahead and ticket the driver. This could prove useful if you need to file a claim or settle a case with the insurance company.
Tell your side of the story
When the police arrive, be sure to speak up and tell your side of the story. Sometimes, a police officer might take a statement from the person driving the car and neglect to talk to the cyclist. Make an effort to speak with the police officer and make sure he or she takes your statement. Remember to report your injuries, also, even if they still seem minor at the time. You never know when those injuries will develop into something more serious and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If the police refuse to include your side of the story in the statement, you can always ask to have the report amended later.
Gather contact information
You need to obtain the name of the automobile driver, along with his or her phone number, address, driver’s license number, car tag number, and insurance information. If possible, gather names and contact information from everyone at the scene, especially those who witnessed the accident. The police report may not include all of this information.
If you are injured and cannot gather this information on your own, ask a bystander to help you gather the information.
Document the events
Take a moment to recount what happened in the accident. How did the accent happen? Where was it? When was it? What were the road, traffic and weather conditions like? As soon as possible, write down all of this information for your records. You may need this information later.
Seek Medical Care
You need to seek medical care as soon as possible after the bicycle accident, even if your injuries seem minor. If the injuries do become a larger issue, seeking medical attention early will be proof that you sustained injuries in the accident. The medical records will document the injuries and the extent of your injuries at the time. Also, take photos of any injuries you sustained after the accident.
Keep a journal of your symptoms and keep the journal up to date with notes and photos of your injuries.
Preserve the evidence
If your bicycle or other property was damaged in the accident, do not fix anything or have it inspected. Take photos of any equipment that was damaged (bike, helmet, clothing, etc), and keep it in the exact same state it was on the day of your accident. Do not wash your clothing. Be prepared to send your equipment to your attorney if requested and no one else.
Seek an attorney
Accidents involving both cars and bikes are a complex legal situation. You will want to seek out a personal injury attorney in Georgia who understands bicycle laws and has handled bicycle accident cases in Georgia. We can advise you on what to do after your bicycle accident, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, or represent you in a lawsuit if needed.