7/05/2020- Updated As Of
Were you injured in a bicycle accident? The first things you do and say, and the information you gather will have a huge effect on your compensation, insurance settlement, or personal injury case. Here is some advice from Greg Veralrud, one of Oregon’s best personal injury attorneys, on what to do if you get into an accident while riding your bicycle.
Getting into an accident while on your bike is a very scary proposition. Cars on the road are bigger, faster, and more protected than you are. The two most common car-bicycle accidents are
- The right hook: A car passes a cyclist riding in the same direction on the right shoulder or in the bike lane, then makes a right turn immediately into the path of the cyclist.
- The left-hand turn: A car turns left into the path of someone riding into an opposite direction. Most times, the driver didn’t see the bicycle until it became too late.
AT THE SCENE OF THE ACCIDENT:
1. Assess Yourself for Serious Injuries
Do a quick check and try to assess the damage done by the accident. Call 911 immediately if you have a medical emergency.
2. File a Police Report
Call the police and file a police report. Some drivers will want to not get the police involved and handle it personally. Always make sure to call for a police report. You might feel fine now, but you never know if the small nagging pain you feel will turn into long-term joint or muscle issues. Make sure to get your side of the story into the accident report, and make sure to report all the injuries you have received (no matter how small they seem).
3. Get Driver and Witness Names and Contact Information
Get the motorist’s name, address, phone number, insurance information, driver’s license number, and vehicle license plate. Also talk to any witnesses and ask for their name and contact information.
4. Don’t Admit Fault
Under no circumstance should you apologize for an accident, to the police or the driver of the car, at the scene of the accident. Even if you think the accident was caused by you, just check yourself for injuries, make sure everyone at the scene is safe, and file the police report. Do not say anything or admit to anything that you do not have to.
AFTER THE ACCIDENT:
1. Document the Accident
Take mental notes on how the accident happened. Try to remember road, weather, and traffic conditions as well as the what/where/when of the accident. If you have a smartphone or camera ready at the time of the accident, try to take pictures of the accident scene. Make sure to take as many pictures as you can, including traffic signals/signs as well as the place of the accident. (If you are unable to do this due to injury, ask a friend or family member to go back and help you out as soon after the accident as possible.)
Leave your bike, gear, and the clothes you were riding in untouched after the accident. Take good pictures from many angles so that a person could judge the severity of the accident based on those pictures.
2. Document Your Injuries
Go to the doctor immediately after your accident, even if you think you only have minor injuries. Again, you might feel fine, but there might be underlying medical issues caused by the accident. This will establish a record that you were injured, and the doctor will put on record the injuries caused by the accident.
3. Document Your Recovery
To get full reimbursement from the insurance company, take detailed notes and photographs of your injuries and medical care. Jot down the names and addresses of any doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, and other medical professionals you were referred to by your doctor. File any bills, forms, test results, and other paperwork you receive.
It would make sense to start a journal of your auto accident injuries and treatment.
- Make an entry every day or every couple of days recording your injuries, pain level, medication taken, and any decrease in your quality of life stemming from being injured.
- Make an entry every time you talk with a nurse or doctor about your injury. If you communicate by phone, after you get off the phone with them, write down a summary of the conversation and put it into the journal. Keep your e-mails, too.
- Record travel expenses to and from your doctor visits.
- Save your medical bills and receipts (such as co-payment, prescriptions, special food and nutrition, and other equipment).
4. Consider Calling an Oregon Personal Injury Attorney
If you followed all the steps above, you have done everything right in the situation. Unfortunately, in today’s imperfect world, simply doing everything right does not mean you will get the compensation and restitution you deserve for your accident and injury. The truth is, a lot of the time, insurance companies and at-fault parties will do anything in their power to not have to make things right, or pay as little as they can. Hiring an Oregon personal injury attorney is a great decision; you will have a team of legal professionals on your side to handle the insurance claim and lawsuit (if one is needed) and make sure that you get the treatment and compensation you deserve.
Call Greg Veralrud today for a free consultation about your accident. Greg will listen to your side of the story, review your case with you, and discuss your legal options, all without any charge.
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