After a bike accident, there are certain steps that you should take as soon as possible. Our San Jose bicycle accident attorneys explain what to do after a bike accident below:
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
#1: Call 9-1-1
Call police to the scene if you have been hit by a car or were in a bike accident. Report the crash to the police and if medical attention is needed, they will call for assistance. The police will also block off the accident scene and create an accident report. Make sure that the police get your account of the accident.
Addressing your health needs is of the utmost importance. If you are not assessed at the scene, getting medical attention after you leave the scene is critical. Even if you feel fine, you may have dormant injuries. In addition, documented medical treatment will help tie your injuries to the accident.
#2: Collect Important Information From Involved Parties
If possible, it is critical to collect identifying information from all involved parties. This includes:
- Automobile insurance information
- Driver’s license number(s)
- License plate number(s)
- Contact information
#3: Collect Evidence
Collecting evidence, whether it’s physical evidence or witness testimony, is critical. You need evidence for your bike accident claim. Often, an experienced bike accident lawyer will retain expert(s) to recreate the accident. This is generally necessary for your claim, and their work is dependent on the evidence available.
You should take pictures and videos to document the crash. Document the following:
- Your injuries. Document your injuries with pictures and video. You should also write down symptoms and descriptions of your injuries. Keep damaged clothing, too.
- Your bicycle. Take pictures of videos of damages to your bicycle. Do not get your bike fixed after the crash.
- Visible damage to the vehicle. Taking pictures of any visible damage to the vehicle is critical. Vehicles are often quickly repaired following accidents.
- Crash scene. Document the lighting conditions, road conditions and location of the bike crash. You should also document any vegetation growth or surrounding parked cars at the moment of collision.
Lack of lighting and claims of visual obstructions are often raised as defenses to bicycle crash cases. Documenting the crash scene is therefore imperative, because recreating and evaluating the crash scene months or even years later may be impossible.
Additionally, it is important to determine if the design, construction or maintenance of the roadway and/or surrounding areas contributed to the accident. It is possible a public entity is responsible for your injuries. In California, you must file a claim against a public entity within 6 months of an accident. Therefore, acting promptly after a collision is important to protect your legal rights.
#4: Collect Witness Information
If there were any witnesses of the accident, it is important to collect their contact information. Even if the police speak with witnesses at the scene, collect your own information as well. The identifying information for witnesses is not always listed in traffic collision reports.
#5: Do Not Fix Your Bike
Save the bike in its damaged condition, along with your helmet and clothes. If your case is litigated, it may become valuable evidence. In disputed liability cases, experts are often needed to reconstruct the accident to establish who was at fault for the collision. Inspecting the bicycle and the damage it sustained can be crucial to the expert’s evaluation. It often proves the cyclist’s lack of negligence.
#6: Speak to a Bicycle Accident Lawyer About Your Situation
After a bike accident, it is important to speak to an experienced bicycle accident lawyer about your situation. Cyclists are often severely injured, given a cyclist is little competition to a vehicle that weighs, on average, 4,000 pounds.
The injuries cyclists suffer are often life altering. Therefore, a very large component of a cyclist’s case is the general damages he or she has and will suffer in the future.
Our San Jose bike accident attorneys can help you determine your best legal options. If we decide to work together, we will advocate for you and fight for the compensation you deserve.
How Can a Bike Accident Lawyer Help Me?
We have been representing cyclists for years. When trying some of these cases to juries, it is evident that most people evaluating injury cases brought by cyclists have an inherent bias against the cyclist. The common defenses (or attacks) raised against the plaintiff generally include:
- The cyclist was going too fast,
- The cyclist was not wearing the appropriate protective gear,
- The cyclist could not be seen by the driver who was acting reasonably, and/or
- The cyclist was distracted and not paying attention to the traffic conditions.
Most motorists have had a close call with a cyclist. Because of this, jurors may be quick to see themselves in the vehicle driver’s position and thus are instinctively motivated to protect the driver. Given there are many more motorists on the road than cyclists, prospective jurors are more likely to empathize with the motorist, not the cyclist. These biases are real.
Our bike accident lawyers expect the bias and work to collect evidence and present the injured cyclist’s case in a way that these often unspoken criticisms and negative assumptions are answered and/or eliminated. For example, articulating how the loss of cycling impacts an individual physically, mentally and socially is critical. We relay the pain and suffering experienced as a result of the collision and related injuries.
Contact Our San Jose Bicycle Accident Attorneys
For many individuals, the benefits of bicycle riding far outweigh the risks. But, the risks are real. Taking precautions before and during a ride can go a long way towards keeping oneself safe.
If a cyclist is unfortunate enough to be injured in a collision, there are immediate steps to take to protect one’s interests and rights. Hiring a bicycle accident attorney who understands and has handled such cases is definitely an advantage.
Contact the bicycle accident attorneys at Needham Kepner & Fish LLP to get started discussing your case. Call us at (408) 716-1668 or fill out our online contact form.