I Was Hit by a Car While Cycling
It started out as a wonderful day for a bike ride. Now, your bike lies broken at the side of the road, and you lie broken in an ambulance. Accidents are known for happening fast, and this is one that you never saw coming. Now, it’s too late. The damage is done, and at this point, you can’t help but wonder: Do I have any legal recourse?
The answer is yes. However, if you’ve been hit by a vehicle while cycling on the road, there are a few critical steps you’ll need to take to ensure the protection of your medical, financial and legal interests. After an accident between yourself as a cyclist and any type of motor vehicle, here are the things you’ll need to do.
1. If you can move at all, get yourself out of the street. Then, do your best to stay calm. You’re bound to feel angry, but restrain yourself from taking it out on the driver. Instead, breathe deeply and wait for help to arrive. Above all, do not apologize or admit to possibly having been in the wrong, even if you know in your heart that you were.
2. Call the police immediately or have someone do it for you, then remain on the scene until they arrive. The police report will exist as vital documentation, and it may be the only proof available to you later.
3. Don’t let the driver off the hook. Immediately after the accident, you may honestly believe that you’ve suffered only minor damage, but many injuries take their time to make themselves known. In fact, it is entirely possible for serious sprains or broken bones to show up only under an X-ray once you’ve reached the hospital or submitted to a doctor’s care. An adrenaline rush could be masking the severity of your injuries, so it’s best to ask the driver to remain on the scene until the police have arrived. While you’re waiting, get his or her driver’s license and insurance information.
4. Pull out your cell phone and photograph everything around you, or ask a bystander to do it for you. You can never take too many pictures. Not all will serve a purpose, but many will play a key role in the days to come, and you’ll want to have a visual record of such things as:
- Weather and road conditions.
- Street lighting.
- Time of day.
- The driver’s license plates.
- Traffic lights.
- Anything else that you see around you.
5. If the driver has already left the scene, note the make, model and color of the vehicle involved and, if you can, write down the number on the license plate. You have now been the victim of a hit and run, and these are things that law enforcement will want to know.
6. When the police do arrive, give them as complete an account as possible of the way in which the accident transpired. After a few days have passed, ask to see a copy of their report. What you are doing at this point is checking for accuracy. If anything in their documentation seems out of line, insist on having the discrepancies corrected. This is your legal right.
7. Get medical help as soon as you can. Do this even if you initially believe your injuries to be slight or nonexistent.
8. Open a claim with the driver’s insurance company, but don’t provide any pertinent information until you’ve spoken with an attorney. Above all, do not agree to give them a recorded account. Meanwhile, start to document all expenses related to the accident. From medical bills to taxi fares to bike repairs, if it stems from the accident, it’s related and needs to be collated.
9. Contact a personal injury lawyer. The driver who hit you has his insurer backing him up, and that insurer has its own legal team. They will fight as hard as they can to pay you as little as possible, so you as an injured cyclist need someone on your own side who can and will fight for you.
If you’re a cyclist who has suffered injury in an accident with a motor vehicle, you do have legal rights. However, you are in a vulnerable position, so don’t try to fight this on your own. The personal injury attorneys at Gregory & Waldo have experience in handling cycling accidents, and we will leave no stone unturned to obtain for you the damages that you deserve.