If you are ever riding a bicycle and are hit by a car or a truck, it is vitally important that you take certain steps to seek immediate medical treatment, mitigate the damage from the accident and document all of the facts surrounding the circumstances of the accident.
The fact is that when a bicyclist is injured in an accident with a vehicle, the potential for serious damage and harm is enormous. A bicyclist has no real protection in such a collision, certainly not the protection another driver might have in a car.
But the truth is whether or not your bike accident involves a car, it's important to remember a few steps to take to protect your ability to recover damages to compensate your for medical and other expenses resulting from the accident.
Call and Wait for Police: Oftentimes, when a driver hits a bicyclist, they immediately admit blame and apologize and some may want to negotiate a settlement there at the scene. Never negotiate a settlement at the scene in any circumstance. You should always wait for police to arrive to document the circumstances of the accident and their observations. They could also ticket the driver, which would pressure the driver's insurer to settle.
Get Immediate Medical Treatment: After an accident, a bicyclist may be reticent to seek immediate medical treatment, but that is absolutely the wrong thing to do. Even if you don't believe you have injuries, it's important to be seen by a physician, who can examine you for soft tissue injuries, whose symptoms may not reveal themselves for weeks or even months. Unnecessarily delaying medical treatment can exacerbate injuries, and insurers and courts often reduce damages to plaintiffs who do.
Ensure that Your Version of Events is Included in the Accident Report: Sometimes only the vehicle driver's version of events will make it into the police report. Ensure that your side of the story is represented (especially your injuries), if not at the scene, request to have the report amended to ensure your version of the story is included.
Obtain Driver and Witness Contact Details: Whenever possible, get the name, phone number, address and driver's license number of the driver at the scene. It's important you not assume these details will be contained in the police report. You will need to be able to contact the driver if you later seek to file a personal injury claim.
Document the Circumstances of the Accident: Take notes of everything that occurred leading up to the accident. Road conditions, traffic lights, time of day, weather conditions, everything matters and can support your claim. So as soon as you are able to write everything down, don't hesitate to do so.
Preserve Your Evidence: It's likely that the condition of your bicycle may be an indication of where it was hit and how fast the car may have been going. This is important evidence you will want to preserve for any possible personal injury claim. It can support your version of events and even prove your case.
Seek Professional Counsel: Getting the support of an experienced personal injury attorney is exceedingly important when you are the victim of an accident. A skilled accident lawyer can help build your case by identifying possible witnesses, preserving evidence, securing expert testimony and negotiating the wide array of damages for which you may be eligible.
If you have questions about filing a personal injury claim, seek the experience of the personal injury attorneys at Panio Law Offices in Chicago. We work hard to secure the highest possible compensation for your injuries. Call us at (708) 928-8680. We can help.