I Was Hit While Riding a Bike: What Should I Do?
Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as every other vehicle on the roadway. If you ride a bike on the road, you must obey the same laws and deserve the same degree of caution and attention from other drivers.
Unfortunately, when a motor vehicle and a bicycle tangle, the rider usually comes out the worst. It’s simple physics; there just isn’t very much between the rider and the road.
According to ShareTheRoad.org, “…from 2007 to 2012, there have been 12,789 crashes in Texas involving bicycles, resulting in 12,132 injuries and 297 fatalities.”
If you were hit while riding a bike, what should you do? The insurance companies can be difficult to deal with, and the initial settlement is unlikely to cover your medical costs. But, there are steps you can take to make sure you are appropriately compensated for the accident. Learn more below.
Causes of Crashes and Injuries
Even with the smallest car, an accident involving a car and a bicycle has the potential to cause serious injury.
Accidents are often caused by:
Many drivers say they didn’t see the bicyclist, while some misjudge how close they can get when sharing the road.
The initial impact can, and often does, lead to severe physical damage to the bicycle rider, while the secondary impact of hitting another vehicle or the roadbed increases the likelihood of severe injuries.
Bike riders suffer some of the most serious accident injuries in a crash, including:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries
- Fatal injuries
If you were hit by a car while riding your bike, here are the steps you should take immediately following the accident.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
Move to Safety
If you can, move to the side of the road to avoid further accidents from oncoming traffic. Unless you have critical injuries preventing you from moving, get to the shoulder immediately.
Call 911 or the Local Emergency Number
If you or someone else has not already done so, call 911 to report the accident and to request assistance. You need experienced emergency staff to stabilize your injuries and determine how badly you’re hurt.
Do not refuse to be transported for medical care if the emergency personnel offer it. The insurance company can take that refusal as evidence of non-injury or that you are not following a healthcare provider’s advice and refuse payment.
Assess Your Injuries
The emergency personnel will ask if and how you are injured. Once you are in a safe space, take a moment to look for bleeding, scrapes, or bruises. Also, realize that the adrenaline shooting through your body is disguising pain, so you might not be aware of some injuries for hours.
Never minimize your injuries. It’s too early to determine the full extent or severity. Let the emergency workers or your personal physician identify any injuries.
Document the Accident
Take pictures or have someone else record the scene for you. Take images of:
- The bicycle
- Any vehicles involved in the accident
- Your injuries
- The accident scene
Pictures can show the weather conditions, the presence or absence of road signs, traffic lights, and other things that could have kept the driver from hitting you. Pictures also show damage to the car and bike.
Take photos of the driver’s license, insurance information, and the car’s license plate. Look for witnesses and get contact information from them.
Once you have the pictures, write down everything you can remember that led up to the accident and what happened. Include the who, what, and where it happened.
All this information help the police and your attorney handle the case appropriately.
Above all, do NOT get up and ride home. Wait for the paramedics and police. They will let you know if and when it’s OK to leave. You may have injuries you don’t know about, or your bike may be damaged in a way that makes it unsafe to ride.
Do Not Discuss Except with Police
You should not discuss anything about the accident with anyone except the police. You don’t want to say anything that can be used by the driver’s insurance company as evidence against your claim.
Stay off social media, do not negotiate any deal with the driver for a cash payment instead of contacting their insurance company, and don’t discuss anything with the driver’s insurance company if they contact you. Definitely do not sign a settlement agreement from the insurance company.
Do give your version to the police when they arrive.
Preserve All Evidence
Don’t get your bike repaired before everything is settled. Don’t throw away the bike or any parts. Keep any damaged clothing and do not wash it. Keep everything in a safe place as potential evidence for a trial.
See Your Doctor
See your personal physician as soon as possible, even if the paramedics check you out. Some injuries take time to be identified, like whiplash or internal injuries. Also, the records generated can show the time and date you visited and describe the injuries objectively. You can get a written statement from the doctor — someone unrelated to the accident.
The Police Could Be Wrong
It isn’t uncommon for the police to ticket the rider for reckless riding, even if you don’t think you are at fault. Don’t challenge them at the scene but re-examine the reports later and gather your documentation of the incident. Your legal counsel can help you if they have the right tools.
Let Mukerji Law Firm Help
At Mukerji Law Firm, we focus on justice for the injured and have experience getting compensation for victims of bicycle accidents. We carefully analyze every case to determine the value of your claim, the degree of injuries you suffered, and the long-term impact on your life. Your case matters to us, and we can act quickly to take action on your behalf.