According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), over 780 cyclists were killed in traffic in 2017, and the number of accidents has been increasing since 2009. While there are many causes behind these accidents, the reality is that cyclists face considerable hazards every time they get on the road. Drivers who are distracted, speeding, or who simply don’t look for cyclists can turn a pleasant ride into a deadly accident. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident while riding a bike, the best thing you can do is contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney right away.
The bicycle accident attorneys at the Barnes Law Firm have the experience and knowledge you need to get the compensation you deserve. We provide our clients with aggressive legal representation to make sure they are made whole and can move on with their lives. From dealing with the insurance companies to going to court, we’ll fight for your rights. Call us at 865-805-5703 or visit us online to schedule a free consultation and discuss how we can help you.
Contact the Police
Many bicycle accidents are hit and run. If the driver fled the scene, however, you should still contact the police right away. If the driver didn’t flee the scene, don’t let them talk you out of contacting the police.
When the police arrive, they will take down what happened and interview any witnesses. They will generate an accident report, which will be invaluable later on when you make a claim. The accident report will confirm several important details about the accident, such as the date, time, and location. The accident will then become a matter of public record and can be very persuasive in the event that a dispute arises.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Your health is your most valuable accident. If you weren’t treated at the scene of the accident, you should still get a thorough medical examination. Many injuries may not be immediately apparent. If you had prior injuries, you may have been re-injured in the accident and may not have immediately made the connection. The sooner you see your doctor, the sooner you can get the treatment you need.
In addition, you should schedule whatever follow-up appointments are necessary if your symptoms don’t improve or you begin experiencing new symptoms. Getting hit by a car is a physically traumatic experience, and it may take more than one examination to get the correct diagnosis.
Thorough medical care is necessary in order to make a full recovery from the accident. It will also document the extent of your injuries, the treatment you need, and any resulting limitations. These records will be the foundation of your claim later on, so be sure to keep copies of all of your medical records in a safe place.
Lastly, you want to be sure to follow your doctor’s orders. It may be difficult to stay home from work or not ride your bicycle, but failing to follow your doctor’s orders can be used against you later on when you make a claim.
Contact Your Insurance Company
You will also want to notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Your insurance policy most likely requires that you promptly report any potential claims. If you wait too long, your insurance company may decline coverage.
That said, you have to be careful when dealing with insurance companies. They may seem like they want to help you and even offer a quick cash settlement. The reality, unfortunately, is that they are only looking out for their own interests. They are attempting to limit the amount they pay out in claims, so they want to settle your case quickly and for as little money as possible, well before you know the full extent of your injuries.
Your insurance company may also use anything you say against you to deny your claim. As a result, limit your comments to the basic facts of the accident. Do not admit fault in any way, even if you think you were partially to blame. Do not speculate as to what extent you are injured; simply tell them that you are undergoing medical treatment.
Document the Scene of the Accident
As soon as you are well enough, you should return to the scene of the accident and document it. This can be extremely helpful in reconstructing the scene later when you make a claim. Here are some suggestions to help you document the scene:
- Take plenty of pictures. You want to photograph the scene from multiple angles and perspectives. Take pictures of any pertinent signs, road features, or other details that help explain what happened. The more pictures you take, the better.
- Sketch a picture of the scene depicting the streets in question, the location of the accident, the direction you were traveling, and the direction the driver was traveling.
- Use google maps. Google maps can be a very helpful tool in documenting the accident. You can use their satellite maps to provide an overhead view of the scene of the accident.
Keep in mind that you will have to explain what happened to someone who is unfamiliar with the area and maybe has never been to where the accident happened. Careful documentation can help create a vivid picture that demonstrates exactly what happened.
Get Statements from Your Witnesses
Witness statements can be incredibly helpful because they are considered to be neutral observers. However, their recollection of the accident will fade over the weeks and months it may take to settle your claim. As a result, you should ask the witnesses to provide you with a statement as soon as possible. Ideally, they will provide you with the statement in writing or otherwise recorded – a statement in their own words will be far more persuasive. In addition, it will memorialize their statements and ensure greater consistency later on.
Write Down Everything You Can Remember from the Accident
For the same reasons you want to get statements from your witnesses, you should also write down everything you can remember about the accident. It may seem hard to believe, but your memories can become clouded over time. The insurance companies and opposing parties will use even minor inconsistencies against you, arguing that your claim should be denied.
Call a Knoxville Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, you need to act quickly – time is not on your side. Contact the Knoxville bicycle accident attorneys at the Barnes Law Firm today. We can discuss your case, what options you have, and how we can help. The first consultation is free, so contact us today by calling 865-805-5703.