What to do first in a bike accident?
1. Gather Evidence
If you are still at the scene of the accident, gather as much evidence you can. Photographs of any car involved, photograph the damage to your bike, the scene, driver’s license, insurance information etc. If there are any witnesses who pulled over or bystanders, don’t be afraid to approach them to ask if you can get their number as a witness to what occurred (you may be surprised how helpful people are upon being asked). Try to obtain a police report if feasible. Unfortunately it is normal for police reports to be against a bicyclist due to the high degree of bias against bicyclists. Don’t fret, your case is still alive and a police report can be used to gather important evidence, the police officer’s opinion as to fault is not admissible in your injury case. If there are nearby businesses, check to see if they have security cameras that may have captured the accident (be aware, footage is usually deleted after 30 days).
2. If it’s a hit and run
To protect your insurance coverage, attempt to make a police report and make every attempt to provide as much information about the car that hit you as possible and provide witness information. A hit and run is a crime. Also, you’re failure to report the hit and run may end up preventing you from making a claim for insurance benefits as many insurance policies emphasize attempting to make a police report following a hit and run. Report the accident to your own auto insurance company as soon as possible (ideally an attorney is hired and can take care of this for you) as you may be entitled to “uninsured motorist coverage” which applies when you are a bicyclist involved in a hit and run accident.
3. Seek immediate medical care
Seek immediate medical care. Options include ambulance, emergency room, urgent care, primary care physician, or chiropractor. It is extremely important to see a medical professional as soon after the accident as possible. Insurance companies pay claims based on how strong the documentation is, and the strongest first step is seeing a medical professional as soon as possible. You must report any and all symptoms you noticed since the accident occurred, and stress that all symptoms started after an accident.
4. Skip talking to insurance, hire an attorney
An insurance company has invested millions of dollars in perfecting a system of minimizing how much they pay out. There is nothing an insurance company would love more after an accident than an unrepresented person calling them and speaking with them. The old saying is “what you say may be used against you” is 100% true.
Call an attorney as soon as possible and get a professional on your side. Haling Law provides free consultations.
Different types of Car Accident Claims
Car accidents, despite how unfortunately common they are, can be broken down into many categories. Each category requires special expertise and knowledge to properly handle. Below is a listing of many, but not all, of the different types of car accident claims Haling Law specializes in:
- Marked crosswalk accidents
- Unmarked crosswalk accidents
- Bicyclists getting “doored”
- Side swipes
- Hit and Runs
- Drunk Drivers
- Underinsured Motorist Claims
- Uninsured Motorist Claims
- Unsafe turns
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Unsafe lane change
- Dangerous Roadway conditions
- Bus Accidents
- Public Entity (Police, Fire, City) vehicle accidents
- Uber or Lyft Accidents
Common Injuries from Car Accidents
A wide variety of injuries are possible from pedestrian accidents. Each person’s body is unique, re-creating the exact physics of every single possible accident scenario is not feasible. Below is a listing of the most common injuries, but by no means does this mean that an uncommon injury cannot occur from an accident:
The force of whiplash can cause damage to the tissue, the discs, the nerves, and even the bones compromising the neck’s spine. Injuries can range from the less severe muscle soreness to the more serious disc injuries or even fractures. Significant injuries can include conservative care, pain management, or cervical (neck) disc replacement, fusion or discectomy.
These injuries range from damage to muscle and tissue, the lumbar discs, the nerves, or even the bones comprising the back’s spine. Significant injuries can include conservative care, pain management, or lumbar (back) disc replacement, fusion or discectomy.
Head and Traumatic Brain Injuries
People are becoming more aware of how dangerous head trauma and brain injuries can be. A lingering concussion can cause headaches, memory problems, depression and many other symptoms for months or even years after an accident. Brain injuries are difficult to diagnose as a person may not be fully aware of how injured they are as the result of mental fogginess and confusion. These types of injuries can ruin personal lives and careers.
Ligament Tears or other Tissue Tears
During an accident, the force of thousands of pounds crashing into you at high speeds is not something the human body is designed to endure. The force exerted on a person in an accident can exceed the amount of force a ligament, tendon, or other tissue can handle and a tearing occurs. Sometimes the tearing is not noticeable at first, but like nylon the tear becomes worse over time. Surgical intervention is often required or the injury will simply become worse as time goes by.
A human body’s bones are not built to withstand thousands of pounds of a car crashing into your body at a high rate of speed. Accidents can easily cause a variety of fractures including spiral fractures, stable fractures, oblique fractures, compound fractures, oblique fractures or comminuted fractures. Treatment can range from conservative casting or interventional surgery with installation of medical hardware. Sometimes joints themselves require surgical replacement. The resulting injuries can put you at risk long past the end of treatment as you are increasingly at risk of arthritis or other complications down the road.
What type of compensation can I recover from a bike accident?
Damages in a case is typically split into two separate legal categories: Special Damages and General Damages. Special Damages consist of items such as medical bills, future medical care, out of pocket loss, lost wages, loss of earnings, loss of future earnings, etc. Think of Special Damages as anything that you can assign a number for, show documentation of the dollar amount, or have a receipt. Even if your health insurance paid the bill or an employer paid your sick time, these are damages you are still entitled to recover. General damages is also labeled as pain and suffering, this is about the actual pain you felt or continue to feel, the impact on your life, the damage of relationships that medical problems can cause, the additional stress, the loss of enjoyment in your favorite activities etc.
Even though you are a bicyclist, your own auto insurance policy can provide you with coverage if you are the victim of a hit and run or when the person that hit you does not carry any insurance or not enough insurance.