Under California law, if you were injured by a motorist while riding your bicycle, you're entitled to be compensated. However, the steps you take right after your collision can have a direct bearing on the strength of your claim and the amount of money you receive in your settlement. Here are six things you must do to protect your health and legal rights.
Step #1: Get Medical Care
Call 911 for an ambulance or go to the emergency room if you know you suffered injuries, no matter how minor.
Even if you don't believe you were hurt, you should be examined by a doctor within 24–to–36 hours. You could have suffered a hidden injury that could get worse without medical treatment.
Additionally, seeking prompt medical care creates documentation that helps you avoid disputes with an insurance company about what caused your injuries or how serious they are.
Step #2: Alert the Police
Call the police to the accident scene, and remain there until they arrive. The officer’s police report contains important information that can help you prove your right to compensation, such as:
- Narration of how the crash occurred
- Your statement, as well as those of any witnesses and the driver
- Officer’s conclusion as to who was at fault
- Whether any citations were issued
Step #3: Obtain Contact Information
Make sure you or someone else can get contact information for the driver, his insurance company, and any witnesses to your bike accident. This information helps ensure that you don't lose evidence that can help prove the driver’s negligence.
Step #4: Take Pictures
Use these photos to document the damage to the vehicle that hit you, your bicycle, your injuries, the accident scene, and anything else you think might be helpful. This is another type of evidence that needs to be gathered as soon as possible after the accident to help support your case.
Step #5: Preserve Evidence
Leave your bicycle and any other damaged property in the same condition as they were in after the accident until you consult with a lawyer. Don't wash your clothes or throw them away—just leave them as they were at the time of the crash, especially if you were too injured to get photos.
Step #6: Hire a Qualified Attorney
Contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your collision. He'll collect the evidence you need to hold the negligent driver accountable, file your claim, and negotiate a settlement so that you receive what you deserve.
Were you or a family member hurt in a bicycle accident? I've helped bike accident victims in San Diego and throughout Southern California secure their rightful financial recovery. To find out how I can assist you, call my office to schedule a free consultation today.