When a bicycle collides with a car or other motor vehicle, it can be a dangerous and terrifying situation. Since even the best biking equipment only provides minimal protection from injury, physical damage and even fatalities can occur with car/bicycle crashes. Lawsuits regarding bike accidents are fairly common, so it may be wise to follow basic legal precautions and accidents even for a seemingly minor crash.
The first step in any form of bike accident is to call the police. Accident reports must be filed for legal purposes, and may be necessary in even small crashes. If there are injuries, it is also important to call for medical aid immediately. No party involved in a bike accident should leave the scene until law enforcement has given permission to do so.
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Exchange insurance, vehicle, and personal information after any bike accident. This can simplify the process of any legal issues and allow due process of a lawsuit to occur without delays. Some experts recommend getting the contact information of any witnesses, in case they are needed in court. Since accident reports may not include all of this information, it is important to have a personal copy if legal action is planned.
Make sure that all parties are included in the bike accident report. Both the cyclist and the motorist have a right to have their version of the story included on the report, especially if either side plans legal action. Include as much information as possible, including any pain, injuries, or damage to involved vehicles. If this information is not included in the report, a judge may not allow it to be admitted at a later date.
Even if injuries are not obvious or causing current pain, it may be wise to get a medical checkup immediately following a bike accident. Serious injuries, such as internal bleeding, may not be felt for several hours after the accident. Additionally, the body may go into shock as a reaction to the accident, which may result in pain being delayed for some time. These possibilities are part of the reason why it is so important to get authorities involved and information exchanged immediately, since what seems like a minor crash may turn out to have far-reaching consequences.
As soon as possible, write down a personal account of the event. Accidents happen fast and result in physical and emotional aftermath; it is easy for details to become blurry with time and repeated recounts of the incident. Write down what happened in as much detail as possible, from just before the accident until dismissed from the scene by authorities.
If there are repair or medical costs associated with a bike accident, or one party believes that the other caused the accident through reckless behavior, seek legal advice immediately. Attorneys can help clients take further legal steps in the manner appropriate to the situation and applicable laws. Since many accident claims are subject to statutes of limitations on filing, consulting a lawyer quickly can lead to a lawsuit being filed with alacrity. A lawyer may also be able to help a client strategize and prepare for small-claims court or other situations where a client may be required to represent him or herself in court.