Bicycle Incidents Are On the Rise
We represent cyclists who have been injured by motorists, pedestrians, unsafe road conditions, other cyclists, or defective cycling products. If you have been injured in a bike accident, or by a defective bicycle product, and want to discuss your case with an experienced bicycle accident attorney, call for a free consultation at 415.979.0480.
Being hit by a vehicle is the thing people fear most about cycling. Although collisions can cause great harm, they're fairly uncommon. Most bicycle accidents are one-off accidents caused by a defect or some road or trail hazard. Whether a bicycle accident is solo or involves a collision with a vehicle, it's usually the result of someone’s negligence-- the cyclist, driver, both, the product manufacturer, or the government entity responsible for keeping up the roads and trails.
In a bike/vehicle accident, if the vehicle driver was negligent, a cyclist has a legal right to be compensated for his or her injuries. Negotiations with the driver’s insurance company focus on which party was negligent, and to what degree. If the cyclist and the insurance company can agree on the question of negligence and the amount of damages, the case will be settled. If they can't agree, the cyclist has to file a lawsuit and prove that the driver was negligent in court to get compensation for injuries.
Despite the threat of a lawsuit, or maybe because of it, almost all bicycle injury cases are settled out of court. However, because the facts of the accident and the legal issues can be complicated, cyclists who have sustained more than minor injuries should discuss their case with an attorney who is experienced with bicycle accident cases before talking with the driver or the driver’s insurance company.
What To Do If You Are Involved In a Car-On-Bike Accident?
Always wait for the police to come to the accident scene, so that an official police report can be made and filed. Some cyclists don't realize that they have been injured until several hours after an accident. Minor injuries can develop into serious and permanent injuries. By then, it may be too late to identify the at-fault driver.
Do not try to negotiate with the at-fault driver. The driver may not give you accurate information about his or her identity, insurance, or vehicle ownership, even though this is legally required information. Many drivers who cause bike accidents will apologize and accept blame for an accident at the scene. But later, after they've had time to consider the consequences of their negligence, they'll deny that they were at fault, or even at the accident scene!
If the police write an accident report at the scene, read it to make sure that it’s accurate before you sign it. The accident report will include the driver’s statement as well as all other witness statements. The responding officer may ticket the driver for breaching the vehicle code, which can be useful when trying to settle the case with an insurance company. The accident report should also include the cyclist’s statement. If you can, make sure you give your statement to the officer. Regardless of whether an accident report is written, make sure that you have the driver’s name and contact info, as well as the names and contact info of any witnesses. If you are too badly hurt or shaken to get this information, ask a witness to do it for you.
The accident scene should be investigated for evidence about how the accident occurred. The investigation should include obtaining skid mark measurements, photographing the accident scene, speaking with additional witnesses, and measuring and diagramming the accident scene.
Seek prompt medical treatment for your injuries. This is proof that you were injured, and the medical records will help establish the extent of your injuries. Have several photos taken, from different angles and under different lighting, of your injuries as soon as possible after your accident. Keep a journal (injury diary) of your physical symptoms, starting immediately after the accident, and detail your symptoms and treatment every couple of days.
Leave your bike and other damaged property such as clothes, helmet and kit, in the same condition they were after the accident. Do not get them repaired - they are evidence. Take photos of all your damaged equipment and accessories.
Do not communicate with an insurance company - even your own - before consulting an attorney. Be aware that when you communicate with an insurance company, they can use your information as they need to later for their own purposes.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or another personal injury attorney who understands bicycling accidents. While many attorneys are competent to handle general injury cases, make sure your attorney has experience and is familiar with:
- Bicycle traffic laws
- Negotiating bicycle accident cases with insurance companies
- Trying bicycle accident cases in court
- The prevailing prejudice against cyclists by motorists and juries
- The names and functions of all bicycle components
- The speed bikes travel as well as braking and cornering
- Bicycle handling skills, techniques, and customs
- How to get full replacement value property damage for your bicycle
- Experienced bicycle accident reconstruction experts
- Licensed forensic bicycle engineers
- Establishing the value of permanent diminished riding ability
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, whether in a solo accident that may have been caused by someone's negligence, or in a collision, contact 415.979.0480 or email@example.com for a free consultation with bicycle attorney and cyclist Debra Bogaards.