As Americans increasingly seek to remain physically active and more mindful of their health than in past decades, bicycling has become increasingly popular. Nevertheless, it can prove deadly when a collision occurs between a bike and an automobile.
Many bike/auto accidents are the result of driver negligence. This can lead to complex legal disputes over liability and lengthy arguments with insurance companies. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a biking/auto accident, you should seriously consider hiring an experienced bike attorney.
Too often, bike accident victims experience serious injuries, and they can be susceptible to an insurance company representative’s attempts to get their statement on the record. You should remember that the insurance company is working on behalf of their client, the motorist, and is seeking to protect its interests – not yours. It’s almost always best to decline an insurance company’s offer to negotiate quickly and provide a statement about the accident.
What should cyclists do when in an accident with a motor vehicle?
Wait for the Police to Arrive. Allowing the police to view the accident and file a report – even if you’re not seriously injured – is imperative. You may not think you’re seriously injured, but many cyclists don’t realize how injured they are until several hours after the accident.
Don’t Negotiate with the Driver. Some drivers immediately apologize and accept blame but then deny any responsibility when the police arrive, or the insurance company interviews them. Having the policy report will be helpful, especially if the police cite the driver as being responsible for the accident. And, make sure your version of the events makes it into the accident report – not just the motorist’s version.
Secure Driver and Witness Contact Information. If possible, get the name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, vehicle license plate number, and insurance information from the driver. Also, if there are witnesses to the accident, obtain their contact information, as well.
Document The Accident and Your Injuries. If you are able, make mental notes about the accident, including the location, the weather at the time, traffic, etc. Also, seek medical attention immediately for your injuries, even if they seem minor to you.
Preserve Evidence. Don’t try to fix your bike, wash your clothes or heal your injuries without documenting the evidence. Take photos of the damaged equipment and clothes.