What to do if you are involved in a wreck with a car or truck: It’s important to take a few actions at the time and place of the accident.
When bikes are involved with accidents with cars, there are usually big injuries. Try, if possible to keep your wits. The next few steps will have an incredible impact on whether and how much you might recover for your bodily injuries and your bicycle.
If you’re injuries are not too severe, Wait for law enforcement to arrive at the scene.
You need a police report, even if you don’t initially think you’re hurt. The police will fill out a police report and detail the nature and cause of the accident. Many times bicyclists don’t realize they are hurt until hours after the accident. Leaving the accident scene may mean there is no identification of the other driver and which party was at fault.
Wait to negotiate with the driver. Even if the driver accepts blame, wait for the police to arrive to document the accident in the police report.
Make sure your version of accident is part of the Accident Report
Explain your version of the accident. Report all of your injuries, no matter how minor. Don’t be macho. It happens where someone gets home with what they thought was a bruise or kink that ended up being a broken bone or torn ligagment.
Even if you don’t get to make a statement, you can contact the officer later with your own written description of the accident.
Get Driver and Witness Contact Info
Try and obtain the name of the car’s driver, as well as his or her address, phone number, driver's license number, vehicle license number, and insurance information.
Further, get names and contact information for everyone who WITNESSED the accident. If you are injured and cannot get this information yourself, request a bystander to help you get it.
Document What Happened
If you can, make mental notes about the accident: what happened; how it happened; where it occurred; when it occurred; and road, traffic, and weather conditions. Afterward, make written notes while the memory is still fresh in your mind. I would prefer you do this after consulting with me or another attorney and at the request of the attorney so that it is protected, if need be, by the attorney-client privilege.
Record Your Injuries
Get immediate medical attention for your injuries, even if they are minor. Going to visit a doctor will help corroborate that you were injured, and medical records will document the extent of those injuries. Take photos of your injuries as soon as possible after the accident. Keep a journal of your symptoms and pains every few days. Take photos of your bike and the vehicle that struck you.
Refrain from attempting to fix your bike until you’ve consulted with an attorney. And don't send your bike, helmet, or any other equipment to anyone other than your attorney—this affects the custody of the evidence. Again, photograph your damaged equipment. Keep your helmet and clothing.
Seek Advice from a Professional
Accidents between bikes and vehicles can involve complex legal issues. Consult a personal injury attorney who understands bicycling or has handled bike accident cases.
Don't communicate with the insurance companies before consulting an attorney. Anything you say to the insurance company could be used against you later. Sometimes a letter from an attorney to the insurance company will resolve issues while avoiding legal pitfalls.
In certain situations, and especially if contacted in close proximity with the date of the accident, the lawyers at Sanders Law Firm, PLLC can hire an accident reconstruction expert to investigate the bike accident. That expert might obtain skid mark measurements, photograph the scene, speak with additional witnesses, and/or measure and diagram the accident scene.
The attorneys at Sanders Law Firm, PLLC have handled cases ranging from broken humerus requiring a permanent rod to quadraplegia with severe brain damage. If you have a biking accident, call us to discuss at (336)724-4707 or email email@example.com. We'll evaluate your case at no cost to you. We represent bicyclists statewide in North Carolina (NC). If the event happened out of state, we will assist you in finding local counsel out-of-state.
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