A bicycle accident is a traumatizing experience, and victims are usually not thinking clearly in the aftermath of a crash. Unfortunately, most of the mistakes people make that hurt their recoveries happen in the first 48 hours after the accident occurs. Our legal team has put together this easy-to-follow list so bike accident victims can protect their health and their ability to get fair payment after a collision.
Steps to Take After You've Been in a Cycling Accident
The first thing you need to do after you are hit by a car is to call 911. Even if you are able to walk or your bike has relatively minor damage, do not let the driver convince you not to call the police. Car-bicycle accidents are much more likely to injure the biker than the driver of the vehicle. If you are able, call 911 to have police and emergency responders come to the scene.
Once the authorities have arrived, it is vital that you:
- Go to the emergency room. If your injuries are life-threatening, go to the hospital. The police at the scene will record important details that can be used later. Adrenaline could be dulling the pain of your injuries, so it is not worth risking your life to stay at the scene and explain what happened.
- Get what you need from the accident scene. Police officers will create an official report of the accident, including the contact information of the driver and others involved. However, the accident report may not include names of witnesses or photographs of the accident scene. Take pictures with your phone that show the location of the vehicle, the condition of your bike and your gear, and your injuries immediately after the collision.
- Contact your insurance company. You should report the crash to your own car insurance company (if you have one) for a number of reasons. First, you will get a claim number that can be used when you see a doctor for accident-related medical treatment. Also, since Tennessee is a "fault" state, victims can file injury and property damage claims with their own insurer, the insurer of the at-fault driver, or through a third party. If you make a claim later against the at-fault driver's liability insurance, your insurance company can always be reimbursed for the costs they paid. Finally, you will have evidence that you are a responsible and honest person when you file an injury lawsuit.
- Don't give a statement to the driver's insurance company. The at-fault driver's insurer may call you in the days after the crash to take a statement. This is not to process your claim or to get you compensation—it is only so they can get you to say something that lets them off the hook for accident costs. If they contact you, take down their information and tell them you'll call them back after you talk with your lawyer.
- Do not fix your bike. You may be a dedicated rider, but anything that was with you on the day of the crash should be preserved as evidence. Everything involved in the crash, including the clothes you were wearing, should be kept in the condition it was in right after the crash. Physical evidence like this can show a judge and jury the severity of the crash far more effectively than photos.
- Follow up with your doctors. It is important that you keep all of your medical appointments and follow your doctors' advice to the letter. This shows you are taking your injuries and your recovery seriously. Even minor injuries have the potential to cause long-lasting problems if they are not allowed to heal properly. In addition, every interaction you have with nurses and doctors will create more medical documentation of your injuries that can be used in your case.
- Call an attorney. After the crash, you may be dealing with serious injuries and struggling to return to your normal life. Our personal injury lawyers can take over the legal aspects of your claim, helping you present a strong case for compensation.
At GriffithLaw, we understand that injury victims are reluctant to take on an additional financial burden after the trauma of an accident. That is why we provide injury clients with a free initial consultation and represent their interests on a contingent fee basis, meaning we do not collect anything unless we secure a recovery for you. To learn more about your claim, download a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.