In many states across the U.S., cyclists are required to take certain steps in order to file a valid injury claim if they have been involved in an accident.
Many cyclists may not be aware of the process and can mistakenly believe that they have limited rights regarding their claims. However, this could not be further from the truth.
The Do’s of Cycling Accident Claims
When involved in a cycling accident, there are certain steps you should take to ensure that your legal rights are fully protected and that you receive the maximum compensation possible. Here are some of the “do’s” of making a successful bicycle accident claim:
- Do seek medical attention as soon as possible after your accident — Ensure that your injuries are identified, documented, and treated properly.
- Do document all the details at the scene of the accident to create a record for yourself — Take photos if possible and get contact information from any witnesses on-scene.
- Do contact law enforcement to file a report if it’s appropriate for the incident — This will also help preserve any evidence at the scene.
- Do contact an experienced cycling accident lawyer such as WP Law as soon as possible — They can advise you on how best to proceed with your case.
- Do keep track of all your expenses related to medical treatment, damage repairs, bike accessories, etc., including receipts when applicable— This can be used to support your claim in court should it become necessary.
The Don’ts of Cycling Accident Claims
To help you protect yourself from potential financial costs and legal repercussions from an accident, here are some important “don’ts” when it comes to claiming compensation after a cycling accident:
- Don’t Leave the Scene – It is absolutely essential that you remain at the scene of a cycling accident until law enforcement officers arrive. If you don’t stay at the scene, you can be charged with hit-and-run, which carries severe legal consequences.
- Don’t Admit Guilt – Even in situations where fault seems pretty clear-cut, never admit to doing anything wrong while interacting with the other party or law enforcement officers. Making statements like “I must have been going too fast” or “It was my mistake” can lead to liability issues down the road, so it’s best not to say anything.
- Don’t Ignore Your Injuries – Sometimes cyclists are hesitant to take time off from their regular activity or seek medical care for injuries sustained in an accident. However, failing to get treatment for serious injuries can hurt your claim by limiting your ability to participate in certain activities or fully recover compensation for loss of income and pain and suffering.
- Don’t Accept an Initial Settlement Offer – Insurance companies often make lowball settlement offers right away in order to minimize their costs; if you accept this offer without consulting a lawyer first, you could be missing out on much higher compensation that would cover all of your damages. Before accepting any type of settlement offer from an insurance company or other party involved in a cycling accident case, ensure that it covers all potential damages that have arisen as a result of the collision.
Insurance Coverage for Cyclists
These policies will vary between insurers, but most cover emergency medical services as well as lost wages as a result of injury or time off for recovery. Depending on the carrier, there may also be additional coverage for bike repair and rental costs.
Cyclists should also look into any applicable public liability insurance that their local municipality may provide. In some cases, this will extend the amount of compensation available in an accident claim if an insured cyclist is injured in a collision with a vehicle or while riding on city property. It’s important to read up on what kind of coverage is offered in your area as laws and regulations may differ from state to state.
It is also worth noting that some insurers offer specific legal assistance in regard to cycling accidents which can help with filing claims, engaging with third parties, and receiving proper settlement rights. Cyclists should take advantage of any special benefits or discounts offered, so be sure to check with your provider before taking any action following an accident.
Gathering evidence should begin immediately after the accident occurs but even if you cannot start doing this right away, you should still make an effort to collect relevant information.
Photographic Evidence – It is very important that cyclists take pictures of any injuries they have sustained and also of the crash site immediately before being collected by an ambulance or leaving on their bicycles.
This will help show how events unfolded leading up to the crash. Having photographic evidence will improve your ability to make an effective insurance claim or legal case against those responsible for the incident.
Witness Statements – When possible in more serious cases it is often helpful to get witness statements from anyone who saw the crash occur. These can be used as powerful pieces of evidence in any insurance or legal proceedings so gathering contact details from anyone present at the time is invaluable. When asking for these statements ensure that they are brief and accurate accounts detailing what exactly was witnessed during or prior to an incident occurring.
Medical Records – Obtaining medical records should be your first priority after seeking immediate medical attention following a cycling accident- no matter how minor it may initially appear to be because this will provide accurate details about your injury that may not be registered through witness statements or photographs alone. Medical records can also be used in conjunction with other pieces of evidence such as witness statements, police report or photographs ensuring that your account of events is supported by professionals within healthcare services if required during proceedings.
When you’ve been involved in a cycling accident and need to make a personal injury claim for compensation, there are certain steps you must take if your case is successful. It’s important to understand the process of filing and what you should be doing throughout it. Following these tips will help you make sure that your legal rights and best interests are protected in the event of a cycling accident.
Remember to gather evidence as soon as possible, document any injuries and consult an experienced lawyer who can tell you if your case is worth pursuing. A knowledgeable lawyer will also be able to advise on how best to proceed with the claim and guide you through the entire process. Most importantly, don’t forget to contact the police after any accidents so that an investigation can be started promptly. Ultimately, following these do’s and don’ts will give you the best chance of getting justice for the damages caused by your bicycle accident.