Many people enjoy riding bicycles as a healthy, eco-friendly means of transportation. Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cyclists have a much greater risk of getting into an accident that results in serious injuries and even death, compared with other vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2013, around 700 individuals riding bicycles were killed in accidents involving cars.
Just as in other major cities, Los Angeles has a very high population of people riding bikes. Sadly, this puts them at a higher risk of encountering danger while they share the road with regular vehicles. While a bicycle accident may not always be preventable, there are certain steps that you can take if you are riding your bike if you do end up in an accident. These are crucial and should be done immediately after an accident.
Stay at the Scene, but Move to Safety
After a bicycle accident, it is imperative to stay at the scene, but you should also move to a safe spot. You don’t want to remain in the road where you can suffer further injuries. While you do not have to stay in the exact spot where the accident took place, you must regardless remain at the scene and not leave. Fleeing can result in your being charged with a hit and run accident, even though you were on a bicycle.
Check for Injuries
Try to assess whether you have sustained any injuries after the accident. In many cases, this can be difficult due to the natural surge of adrenaline you experience after such a frightening experience. However, you may notice some bumps, scrapes, cuts and bruises or even more serious injuries like a sprain, broke bone or potentially internal injuries.
Call the Police
Call 911 so the police can arrive at the scene of the accident. You can speak with the responding officer and give your rendition of the accident. At the same time, the officer will make a police report that includes the details leading up to the accident itself, all parties involved, the weather and road conditions and anything else that might be pertinent to the situation. When you choose to file a personal injury claim with the best bicycle accident lawyer in Los Angeles has to offer, you can use the police report as valuable evidence toward your case. Your personal injury lawyer may also use their own investigative team to recreate the accident to determine how it happened, if necessary.
Exchange information with the driver involved in your bicycle accident. Keep the conversation to the barest minimum and simply get their name, driver’s license and license plate number, phone number, address and auto insurance information. Give your information to them as well.
In addition to getting the information from the driver, you should also talk to witnesses and get their names and contact information as well. Those who actually saw the accident as it happened can be valuable in your personal injury claim and can prove that the driver was liable, which can only strengthen your case.
These days, everyone has a cell phone that includes a good quality camera. However, even if you still use a flip phone, you are probably equipped with a reasonable camera. It’s important to shoot a few pictures of the scene of your bicycle accident to use as evidence in your claim. Take photos of the damage to your bike, areas on the road that include obvious signs of damage and the car that struck you. Traffic conditions, weather conditions, road signs and any other noticeable damage relevant to the accident should also be photographed.
Get Medical Attention
You should also immediately get medical attention. Normally, when you call 911, the police are not the only ones to show up at the scene of a bicycle accident; an ambulance with emergency medical personnel should come as well. It is absolutely essential to seek emergency medical attention at the scene. However, that doesn’t mean you should neglect to go to the hospital afterward as well. When you go to the hospital, you have better options for being screened for your injuries and can receive an X-ray or MRI to determine whether you have any broken bones or internal injuries. You will also be able to get better treatment, in general.
Document the Events Surrounding the Accident
Write down all of the events you can recall about the accident as well as the events that led to it. You should note information such as exactly what happened, how it happened, where the accident took place and the road, traffic and weather conditions from the time of the accident. Jot down your own personal thoughts since the accident as well.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Bicycle accidents, especially those involving a regular car, can be highly complex. As a result, you should never try to go it alone when you file a personal injury claim. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn more about your rights and to start your claim. Your lawyer can give you valuable information, represent you and speak with the insurance company for a settlement that is more than fair. Additionally, you should never try to communicate with an insurance company on your own. Leave it to your attorney, who has the knowledge and experience necessary to get through all the hoops insurers try to put you through.
If you have been injured while riding a bicycle in the Los Angeles area, you need the help of West Coast Trial Lawyers. Contact West Coast Trial Lawyers immediately to discuss your case with the best bicycle accident lawyer Los Angeles has to offer.