As spring gives way to summer, many more people will be enjoying bicycling as a form of exercise, relaxation, inexpensive transportation, and a great way to spend time with family and friends. Unfortunately, cyclists are vulnerable to drivers who aren’t paying attention or are driving recklessly.
During 2015, 16 people lost their lives in bicycle crashes with another 1,268 people being injured in crashes. Between 2011 and 2015, the number of bicycle crashes did not substantially change; however, the number of fatalities from bicycle crashes increased.
Even with the best precautions, a bicycle accident can still occur due to driving negligence. Knowing what to do immediately after a bicycle accident is very important to protect your right to receive compensation from the driver who caused your injuries.
Below, our Pennsylvania bicycle accident attorneys put together a checklist of steps to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to protect yourself, your rights, and your future. Read to learn more!
Steps to Take After a Bicycle Accident
#1: Check to See If You Need Emergency Medical Attention
Your health is the top priority. Seek immediate medical attention after a bicycle crash. If your injuries do not require immediate attention, see your physician as soon as possible after an accident—preferable the day of or the day after (we discuss why in the last step below).
#2: Contact the Police
Call the police. If you’re able, remain at the accident scene until the police arrive. Try to make sure that the officer hears all facts from both parties and any eyewitnesses so that the police report is as complete as possible. It’s important not to try to speculate about why the driver hit you when the police get your statement. Only provide the objective facts—not what you think happened or what “likely” occurred.
Keep in mind that while a police report is an official and helpful document, the police officer did not witness your accident. According to rulings from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, their official report still can’t be used as testimony. A police report is not admissible at trial, but it will provide details for your attorney to use as he investigates the bicycle accident.
#3: Gather Contact Information
One of the most powerful ways you can protect your case is to make sure that you can reach other people involved in the incident later. Make sure that you get the names and contact information for the driver and any eyewitnesses to the bicycle accident.
You’ll want to get the following information from eyewitnesses and the other driver:
- First and last name
- Phone numbers
- Email addresses
- Insurance information (from the driver)
- Driver’s license number (from the driver)
- License plate number (from the driver)
Eyewitness testimony is powerful evidence and could strengthen your case. Getting their numbers will save you time and footwork in the future. Your attorney will want to talk to each eyewitness to obtain statements while the accident is fresh in their mind and before memories fade.
#4: Take Photographs
If possible, take photographs of the accident scene, including pictures of the vehicle and license plate. If you are unable to take photographs, ask someone to do so for you.
Take photos of:
- Your injuries
- Your bicycle
- The site of the crash
- The vehicle that struck you
- The part of the car that hit you
- Any road features around the crash
#5: Preserve Evidence
Preserving evidence is more of a habit you practice than a specific task. For example, gather eyewitness evidence as early as possible—memories fade or warp over time. The fresher the memory, the more objective and trustworthy it’s bound to be. Your own testimony is important too. As soon as you can, write down everything you remember about the accident. It’s vital to (at least temporarily) distrust your ability to recall details. The more you write down, the better your testimony will be.
While on the scene, take note of the following things:
- The weather conditions
- Obstructions in the road
- Visual obstructions on the road
- Damaged/unclear road signs
- The time that the accident occurred
Keep your bicycle, any safety equipment you were wearing, your clothing, and any other evidence from the accident scene. Keep copies of all documents, including medical records and receipts related to the bicycle accident.
#6: Go See a Doctor
If you feel fine after your accident, there’s a scientific reason for that:
Your body is in survival mode and furiously pumping adrenaline throughout your body. That means you’re not feeling the soft-tissue injuries or physical trauma caused by the accident—but you’ll definitely feel it within 48 hours. Go see a doctor as soon as possible. Seeing a physician creates a record of your medical needs and treatment, which further protects your claim.
For instance, if you wait a week to see a doctor, the insurance company may claim that any injuries found at the doctor’s appointment were potentially caused by other events, or that your car accident wasn’t that severe. Don’t be macho—get your injuries cared for.
Call (888) 498-3023 for Help from Pennsylvania Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Performing a thorough and complete investigation of a bicycle accident takes time. Our injury attorneys want to begin as soon as possible identifying and preserving evidence. We also want to protect you from aggressive insurance companies, their adjusters, and their attorneys who will seek to take advantage of you in hopes of paying less than you deserve for your accident claim.
Contact the experienced bicycle accident attorneys at Handler Henning & Rosenberg for a free consultation. We want to seek justice on your behalf from the at-fault driver who caused your injuries.