10 Things You Should Do if You’re in a Bicycle Accident in Los Angeles
Remaining Calm After a Bicycle Accident in Los Angeles is Difficult but Necessary
You've been in a bicycle accident in Los Angeles. It's traumatic. It's painful. It's scary. All you want is for things to go back to how they were a few minutes ago before your crash. That's not going to happen. But don't worry. As a bicycle accident attorney in California, I've helped many people who were right where you are now. So, as hard as it may seem, just keep calm—I promise things will get better.
But remember, what you do immediately after your bicycle accident in Los Angeles will have a direct impact on your recovery, not to mention the value of any bicycle accident claim or case you bring. So keep a clear head, take a deep breath and read on.
Still at the Scene of Your Bicycle Accident in Los Angeles? Do these Five Things!
1) Call 911
LAPD investigators and first responders will be on the scene within minutes. That's vital when you're injured because these professionals can:
- Stabilize your health;
- Prevent injuries from getting worse; and
- Recommend necessary medical care
Plus, if you've been hit by a car in LA, police reports are a crucial piece of evidence against an at fault driver.
2) Seek Medical Attention
Don't be a hero after your bicycle accident in Los Angeles. Get into that ambulance or go to the hospital. If you've already left the scene but feel worse than you should, get to the ER immediately! This is crucial to your health and well-being. It will also help solidify any personal injury claim you may bring as a result of the accident.
Never think about the cost of treatment when your life is in danger. ER visits, doctor exams, and diagnostic testing are all expenses that an at-fault driver's auto insurance will cover.
3) Collect Evidence
If you're able when you are still at the scene of the accident:
- Snap photos (use your cellphone if handy) of the accident scene
- Photograph the car (including license plate and any damage to the vehicle)
- Get the driver's name and contact info (snap a pic of their car registration if possible.)
- Ask for the driver's insurance information
- Record the name and badge number of the responding LAPD officer
Having this evidence makes getting an adequate insurance settlement much easier. It can even be crucial for a successful personal injury lawsuit. You can't always rely on the police to get all the information you and your bike accident lawyer may need for your case.
4) Open an Insurance Claim
Contact the at fault driver's auto insurance company and open a claim. They'll want you to explain the accident in your own words, but anything you say will be used against you. Get advice from a Los Angeles personal injury attorney before giving the insurance company anything more than your name and contact info. Make sure you do NOT give them your Social Security Number, or they'll just add you to (or look you up on) their insurance database and make your case more difficult.
5) Stay Off Social Media
In an age when everything that happens to us goes online immediately, it's hard not to post, tweet, or snap about your accident. I've even seen people do it right from the scene of the accident! But when you do so, you're giving the other side ammunition. At fault parties, their insurance companies, and their lawyers will troll your social media looking for anything that paints you in a negative light or could possibly share the blame. Do NOT post anything about your accident or injuries on social media until you consult with a qualified bike accident lawyer first.
Didn't Do Any of Those Things?
Maybe you're lying in a bed at the ER or resting on your couch at home reading this thinking: "Oh man, I didn't do any of that!" You're not out of luck yet. However, building your case will be much more difficult. And, depending on the amount of time that has passed since your bike accident in LA, getting the full amount you're entitled to may be impossible. (Insurance claims and payouts decrease dramatically over time.)
So if you haven't yet taken action, you absolutely MUST now. It's not too late. There are five more steps you can take below!
5 Things You Must Do Next
After You Leave the Scene of your Bicycle Accident in Los Angeles
1) Hold On to Your Bike
Don't scrap, sell, or repair your bike until your case has been settled. Your ride can provide forensic evidence and make an impactful visual statement. Plus, the expense of repairing/replacing it can be covered in your claim. If you absolutely need your ride back, hold onto any receipts associated with its repair.
2) Take Photos of Your Injuries Right Away and as they Heal
Documenting your injuries as soon as possible and also during the recovery process is key. This evidence helps insurance adjusters (and judges or juries) understand just how severe your injuries were. That goes a long way toward proving your need for compensation and calculating the real cost of your injuries.
3) Keep Accurate Records
Tracking all of your expenses during your recovery is essential for securing adequate compensation. So save all your receipts. You may even want to go one step further and create a spreadsheet of all your expenses in order to have an itemized list readily available should it become necessary. This won't only help you maximize your bike accident case value, but it will be super helpful to your lawyer should you hire one.
4) Never Let Insurance Adjusters Record Your Conversations
These companies will use every trick in the book to get you to admit fault, share the blame, and minimize your own potential payout. You need to protect yourself from these predatory practices.
- Don't speak with any insurance adjusters before talking to an attorney.
- Don't let any conversations be recorded.
- Don't admit blame or even say you're sorry.
- Don't downplay your injuries. (They will do this enough without your help.)
5) Contact a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney
You've been seriously injured in a bicycle accident in Los Angeles and hiring an attorney to represent you is the furthest thing from your mind. But, as the recovery process drags on, you'll see why it's a good idea to have someone in your court.
- Insurance companies are maddening. They either don't return your calls, or they won't stop calling you.
- The paperwork is overwhelming! (If you get a lawyer, you can just forward everything to them.)
- What happens if the driver doesn't have insurance? (Your uninsured motorist insurance may pay your expenses.)
- Does your case need to go to court? (Having a lawyer evaluate your case will give the answer to this question.)
- Do you have to accept the insurance carrier's offer? (Don't make any decision until you know what your injuries are really worth.
But most importantly, a good lawyer can help you answer all those questions and decide what the right next step is for you.
Need a Good Los Angeles Bike Accident Attorney?
The difficulty of handling your own insurance claim can quickly become disheartening. ( But don't be taken advantage of in your weakened or incapacitated state. The Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at Sally Morin Law have been helping innocent victims of bike accidents across California for over twenty years.
Get a FREE online case evaluation now to see if we can help you.