Riding a bicycle is usually an inexpensive and convenient means of transportation for most people until the unexpected happens. Bike accidents occur almost every year, with as high as a thousand crashes reported. According to outsideonline, there were as many as more than eight hundred cycling fatalities in 2016 alone.
Most bike accidents usually involve the cycler getting hit by a car or some other kind of vehicle. The most susceptible areas to injury are usually the neck, arms, and areas above the waist. Severe injuries can include, but are not limited to, fractured bones, lost teeth, hemorrhage, dislocations, skull fractures and in some cases, death.
Safety is of the utmost importance when it comes to cycling, this includes wearing the proper gear. But we know accidents happen, whether or not you are doing everything right. If you find yourself the victim of a bicycle accident, follow these steps to ensure your safety and solid financial and health rehabilitation:
STEP 1: – Move to a safe area, if you aren’t already in one.
If you had the accident on a major road, highway or freeway, it is advisable to move out to a safer spot to help lessen the risk of further injury, if you are physically able to do so. If you are unable to help yourself, you could also request help from passers-by in moving to safety.
However, try to remain as close as possible to the scene of the accident until the cops arrive and have finished taking the accident scene report.
STEP 2: – Seek medical attention immediately.
Cyclers can come out of accidents with varying degrees of injuries from minor bruises to skull fractures and concussions. Prompt medical attention should be given after a bicycle accident, especially in the case of a high-impact collision. Even if you believe that you are not seriously injured, it is important to consult with a doctor.
Proper examinations might reveal unknown injuries that can escalate if not for discovered right away. All lacerations, bruises, and fractures should be examined immediately for treatment to also reduce any chance of infection.
STEP 3: -Inform local police and obtain local witness reports.
Be sure to call the police in cases of severe bodily harm or even death. The cops will ask questions and ask for statements from nearby witnesses. Witnesses can serve as important sources of information, including the sequence of events that lead up to the accident and if the cycler or the vehicle driver was disobeying traffic lights or speeding.
STEP 4: -Exchange important information and take lots of pictures.
Exchange key insurance information between you and the other party, even in the absence of immediate damage to property. Later findings might reveal issues for which you will want to make an insurance claim.
Don’t panic if you do not have insurance on your bicycle. While car insurance does take care of your bike, your personal injury protection will handle your medical fees.
After the exchange of information, take pictures of your damaged bike, the car involved and your surroundings and anything else you think might be important. This will add important visual details. You should also be aware that insurance claims can take some time to go through as several forms and documents will need to be filled out and submitted properly.
STEP 5: -Preserve the evidence.
Do not get your bike or other non-essential damaged property fixed. Leave them in the same state as they were at the scene of the accident. It is advised not to send any of the affected items to anyone except your attorney. This is because such items can be presented as exhibits if the case progresses to court.
Keep all the pictures you took in step 4, specifically those depicting damage to personal effects and protective gear (knee-pads and helmets).
STEP 6: – Get in touch with an attorney right away.
There is a possibility of a legal tussle in most bike and car accidents. You might experience difficulties filing your claim(s) and this is where a personal injury attorney gets involved. Your personal injury attorney should be licensed and have the experience and expertise to handle your case.
Do not approach any of the insurance firms before consulting a lawyer as your own words could be used against you later. A letter from your attorney to the insurance firms involved should resolve the issue in most cases, without the need for court hearings.
Accidents happen and filing personal injury claims can stressful. But, remember, your immediate safety and health are your top priority. Seeking necessary medical assistance should always be done before calling the cops, before taking photos of anything that has been damaged in the accident and before hiring an attorney.
Be careful out there cyclers!