Bicycle Accident Claim: What to Expect
Since the first year in which bicycle fatalities were recorded, 1932, more than 47,000 bicyclists have died in bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles. Bicycle collisions often lead to serious injuries or the death of the cyclist, while the drivers of the motor vehicles involved usually walk away without a scratch.
Bicyclist’s rights vary from state to state, but most states see bicycles as equals to other motor vehicles. If a bicycle is keeping pace with surrounding traffic then they are legally allowed to ride wherever they please and are not restricted to bike lanes at, trails or sidewalks. By the same token, bicycle riders must follow all traffic laws; refrain from drinking before riding and from wearing headphones or earplugs when in traffic. All bicyclists are expected to comply with safety regulations and use reflectors, helmets and headlamps wherever they are the law.
What You Need To Know About Bicycle Accidents
Thanks to global warming more and more people are considering using bicycles as a secondary or primary means of transportation, but behind the silver lining lies an ominous cloud. Bicycle riders have low visibility and no external protection in the event of a bicycle accident and can be seriously harmed or killed even on a quick ride.
Before getting on a bicycle, consider these facts:
- Bicycle accidents involving cars cause the majority of bicycle fatalities but only make up 1/3 of all bicycle accidents.
- A cyclist is fatally injured every 6 hours in United States.
- Approximately 12% of all fatalities involving non-motorists in traffic are cyclists.
- Each year, almost 1 million children annually are injured in bicycle accidents and almost 50% of all bike fatalities happen to children under 16 years old.
- Most bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles are caused by the failure of the other driver or rider to see the cyclist.
What to do After a Bicycle Accident
Immediately after any bicycle accident is important to stay calm and keep your head. Take a moment to assess how you feel and whether you are injured, do not leave the scene. If you have a serious injury it is imperative to remain where you are and wait to be examined by responding EMTs. If your appear to be unhurt you should still wait to be examined because the adrenaline and endorphin levels the shock of a high-stress situation like a bus accident causes can lessen or eradicate the pain of serious injuries temporarily.
- Call the police once you have determined you are all right to do so and file an accident report to have a record of any injuries or property damage that insurance companies will require.
- Gather the names, addresses, emails, phone numbers and driver’s license numbers of anyone else involved in the crash and make sure to document the names of their insurance companies and policy numbers.
- Record the license plate numbers, makes and models of any vehicles in the crash.
- Record the police report number and the name and badge number of one or more of the responding officers.
- If you have a camera or camera phone take pictures of the damage to the bicycles and vehicles, plus any property or injuries.
- Once alone, take a moment to write a short and objective description of the events leading up to the accident, the accident itself and the steps taken immediately afterward.
- Contact a bicycle accident attorney before moving forward with any insurance claims or lawsuits.
Filing a Bicycle Accident Claim
A bicycle accident claim for compensation may be filed by the cyclist if they were not at fault for the incident. If you have been in a bicycle accident and were not following traffic laws, using a helmet, side and rear reflectors or a front headlamp in an area where safety gear is required then you may be held at fault for the accident either in part or in full. If you are riding after drinking or under the influence of drugs or were listening to music on your headphones then you may be held responsible for the crash. But if you were riding in full compliance with all the laws and requirements of the road then there is a good chance that you may file a successful bicycle accident claim and win a financial settlement.
A bicycle accident claim is similar to motor vehicle accident claims and is filed against the riders or drivers of the other vehicles involved. It may include a negotiation and settlement with the other party’s insurance company or may ultimately come to legal negotiations or a trial.
Bicycle riders seriously injured in an accident should contact a specialized bicycle accident lawyer. Bicycle accident lawyers are ideally suited to estimate and negotiate appropriate compensation for medical costs, vehicle or property damages and any loss of income or rehabilitation expenses the cyclist has incurred. Even when simply dealing with insurance claims evaluations, bicycle accident attorneys will have the best advice and action plan for success.