Suing for a Bike Accident: Do's and Don'ts
As a premier Orange County personal injury lawyer, our firm has seen it all. Few accidents are as devastating—or result in as many serious injuries—as bike accidents. If you were injured in a bicycle wreck caused by someone else, you may be eligible to file a bike accident lawsuit.
Bicycles are a fantastic mode of transportation, especially in the city. Not only does riding a bike improve physical health, but it can also help you save on gas money and reduce your carbon footprint. However, cycling does come with at least one massive downside: vulnerability.
Like it or not, it’s still a car’s world. Californians who choose to bike must do so in the company of cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other large vehicles, and when collisions happen, the cyclists rarely fare well. They may suffer catastrophic injuries that require expensive medical treatment or be left with permanent disabilities.
What does a bike accident victim do in these situations? Unless they’re very wealthy, there’s a good chance they won’t be able to pay for their medical treatment without going into substantial debt. If their injuries render them unable to work, they may even face financial ruin and destitution. In these cases, it’s critical they seek out an experienced bicycle injury lawyer.
At Case Barnett Law, we’ve been helping injury victims find justice in Southern California for years. We know exactly what it takes to win a bike accident lawsuit—and the mistakes that can sink the case. Keep reading to learn the essential do’s and don’ts of filing a successful bike accident lawsuit.
Did you suffer serious injuries in a bicycle accident caused by someone else? If so, you shouldn’t be left footing the bill. Contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Bike Accidents: What to Do after the Crash
No one expects to be in a brutal accident, and as a result, many cyclists never take the time to think about what they would do in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, failing to prepare for the possibility of a collision can leave cyclists vulnerable to making critical errors that jeopardize their health and their claim.
If you regularly bike around the city, you need to have an accident plan. By following these seven steps after a crash, you can give yourself the best chance of winning a bike accident lawsuit, should you decide to file one:
- Wait for the police to arrive. In the aftermath of an accident, many cyclists are in shock and don’t realize the severity of their injuries. Even if you think you’re not injured, you need to call the police so they can file an accident report documenting the scene; this report will serve as invaluable evidence should you decide to pursue a lawsuit.
- Give your version of events. Sometimes police will take a statement from a motorist but fail to get one from the cyclist. Don’t let that happen. Ask the officer writing the report to listen to your version of the incident and document it. If they refuse, you may be able to have the report thrown out.
- Get driver and witness contact information. Try to get the name, address, phone number, license plate number, and insurance information from the driver. If there are any witnesses, make sure to speak to them and get their contact information, as it may not be included in the police report.
- Document the scene. If you’re able to, take pictures of the scene—your bicycle, the car that hit you, your surroundings and injuries, etc. Try to write down some basic information about the environment, including the time of day, weather and traffic conditions, and other relevant details. The more information you can give your bicycle accident attorney, the more they have to work with.
- Seek medical attention. Again—accident victims don’t always realize they’re hurt until the shock wears off. However, waiting to seek medical attention may work against you in the event of a lawsuit. Make sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible and keep documents pertaining to your injuries and treatments.
- Preserve evidence. Keep your bike, helmet, and other damaged property in the same state without fixing them. Don’t wash the clothes you were wearing and take pictures of everything.
- Call an Orange County personal injury lawyer. There are some things that you shouldn’t attempt without a professional. Your best chance for winning your bike accident lawsuit depends on gathering the critical evidence and delivering it to an experienced attorney.
By knowing the steps you’d take in the event of a bike accident, you can give yourself the best chance of filing a successful claim and securing the compensation you need for recovery.
Bike Accidents: What NOT to Do after the Crash
In many emergency situations, knowing what NOT to do is almost as important as knowing what actions to take. If you ever find yourself the victim of a bicycle accident, you may want to take the following don’ts into account:
- Don’t attempt to negotiate with the driver. The driver may seem repentant and even take full responsibility for the wreck at the time, only to deny any negligence later. Even if the driver apologizes and takes the blame, it isn’t a good idea to negotiate with them without a lawyer.
- Don’t leave the scene without filing a report. If the driver who hit you is apologetic, it may be tempting to simply take their insurance information and leave without filing a police report. This could be a huge mistake, as the police report will be an invaluable piece of evidence if you pursue a lawsuit.
- Don’t tough it out without medical treatment. Your health and safety should always be the number one priority. Even if you’re unsure about the severity of your injuries, allow a healthcare professional to examine you as soon as you leave the scene.
- Don’t settle for the insurance payout. If you were clearly injured by the driver, their insurance company may offer you a settlement. Although you’re probably anxious to be done with the entire ordeal, it’s a good idea to speak with an attorney first. Insurance companies are still businesses, and as such, they rarely pay injury victims fairly. An experienced attorney may be able to get you a better deal.
Accidents involving cars and bikes are typically complex, and navigating a fair settlement is difficult without legal assistance. By following these simple do’s and don’ts, you give yourself and your attorney the best chance of securing the compensation you deserve.
Case Barnett Law: Top Bicycle Accident Lawyers in Southern California
Cyclists deserve to be safe just as much as automobile drivers and pedestrians do. Unfortunately, they often get the short end of the stick.