California is a cycling-friendly state with some of the world’s best bike routes. This high interest in cycling comes with plenty of bicycle accidents.
Our state now has the country’s highest rate of bicycle fatalities. While severe biking accidents have dropped sharply among children since the 1970s, they’ve risen steadily for adult cyclists. Every year, California has about 160 cycling deaths and 11,000 cycling injuries.
Bike accidents often differ from car accidents. You might not have witnesses, dash cam footage, or even a police report yet. Here’s what to do next.
What Should I Do After My Bicycle Accident?
Immediately after your accident, remain at the scene and assess yourself for injuries. If you’re hurt or anyone else has injuries, call 911 for emergency assistance. Contact the police about making a crash report.
While the police don’t always respond immediately for minor bike accidents, you can request a collision report from the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Even if you can’t recall the exact date or other details, the CHP allows you to report the accident to the best of your recollection. The police report will become important evidence later in a lawsuit or insurance claim.
There are also a few things you shouldn’t do after a bike accident. Don’t leave the scene without getting contact information from anyone else involved and taking photos of yourself, your damaged bike, and the surrounding area. Photos provide valuable evidence that will be lost forever if you don’t act quickly to preserve a visual record.
Don’t get into an argument about what happened. Avoid giving too many details to the police, the other person, or an insurance company. Stay calm and focus your energy on contacting a qualified California bicycle accident attorney.
How Can I Strengthen My Bicycle Accident Case?
As an injured cyclist, the law may be in your favor. California has a history of enacting bicyclist-friendly laws that encourage drivers and cyclists to share the roads responsibly. Previous cases may also set relevant precedents, and your lawyer can help you understand bicycle accident case law.
It may not matter whether you were riding in a bike lane or wearing a helmet. In California, cyclists aren’t always required to ride in bike lanes and may exit them when overtaking, turning, or encountering hazardous situations. Also, contrary to popular belief, adult cyclists aren’t required to wear helmets, so not wearing a helmet won’t ruin your case.
Store Your Evidence Securely
One of the best things you can do to strengthen your case is to gather as much evidence as possible. In addition to photos, video provides a window into the scene of the accident. If you have photos and videos, store them in a secure location. Work with your lawyer to obtain additional video footage from nearby businesses and traffic cameras.
Start an Accident Journal
Keep a journal to capture your memories and experiences. Start just before the accident and narrate what happened. Describe your injuries and how they impacted your life after the accident. Explain your medical treatments, ongoing pain, and struggles with interpersonal relationships. Continue keeping this journal until the resolution of your case because it captures a compelling look at how the accident has affected you.
Don’t Repair Your Bike Yet
Instead of having your bicycle repaired right away, allow it to remain in its current damaged state. Your bike’s mangled frame makes a strong visual statement and preserves the evidence as-is.
Save All Documentation
Finally, save all documentation including your medical paperwork, bills, receipts, and insurance information. Hold on to anything that might have a connection to your case, like a receipt for replacing your bike gear or even a cleaning bill that arose because you couldn’t do your own housework. Your lawyer can help you understand what you can and can’t include in your case as you calculate your total case value.
We’re Your Experienced Bicycle Accident Lawyers
After a bicycle accident, you deserve representation from someone who understands your situation and has the experience to handle your case. Not all lawyers focus on bicycle accidents, so beware of anyone who lacks expertise in this specific area.
Here at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we’ve handled many successful bicycle accident cases, and you’re welcome to view our results. Many of us are cyclists ourselves and we know what it’s like to face dangers while riding in California.
We care about helping you secure the compensation you deserve. To learn more about your options, please call 877-380-8852 today and request a free bicycle accident case evaluation.