Cycling has been increasing in popularity for many years. In most every major city more and more people are using bicycles to commute to work, exercise, and tour the area. And while most motorists are mindful of cyclists around them, accidents still happen far too often. Unfortunately, when a bicycle accident occurs and involves a vehicle the results can be catastrophic. Bicycles and the people riding them are simply no match for the size and sheer power of a large automobile.
If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident then it is important to follow a few key tips to make sure that your rights are protected. We’ve listed these tips below in an effort to help cyclists in and around Los Angeles in the event of an accident. We want you to be safe and to enjoy this great city when you are on your bicycle. But in the event something tragic happens, the tips below are very useful in the event of a bicycle accident.
- Move to safety. One of the mistakes we see most often in the event of any accident on a street or road is a reluctance to move out of harm’s way to safety. Please do not stay where you are! You’ve already been in one accident so this is no time to tempt fate and be involved in a second accident! Quickly try and gather your property (like your bicycle and helmet) and move off of the street to the shoulder or a parking lot. While some people think that leaving everything in the same place as where the accident occurred is prudent, we feel it simply is not worth the risk to remain standing in the middle of the road while traffic is passing by.
- Contact the police. While some auto accidents don’t warrant contacting law enforcement, bicycle accidents do not fall into this class. The rules are different when you are a cyclist and have been hit by a vehicle. Calling the police is your right and their presence at the scene of the accident serves two purposes. First, it helps you get an official documentation of the incident from a trustworthy source (the police). Second, some people are still intolerant of cyclists and react in anger when an accident takes place. Having a police officer on the scene should help diffuse any tension or aggression that might come from the motorist that caused the accident.
- Survey the damage. Once you’ve moved to safety and contacted authorities, we recommend taking a moment to survey the immediate results of the accident. Is your property damaged? Is your bicycle still operable? Do you have any wounds or injuries that require immediate attention? Are the other parties involved injured as well? If you have your cellphone with you then you should try and take pictures of the scene of the accident, your property, and any injuries you have. From torn clothing and cuts to bent bicycle frames and popped tires, documenting every detail of damage is critical to getting the justice you deserve.
- Get witness contact information. If your accident happened in traffic then it is possible that witnesses simply want to be on their way. Try to get the names and phone numbers of anyone that stops to render aide or is nearby. If photographs are most important to getting the justice you deseve, then having eyewitness testimony is not far behind.
- Find any receipts for damaged property. Once you’ve made it home safely take a few minutes to track down receipts for any property that has been damaged. If an insurance claim is to take place – and it likely will – then being able to prove the replacement value of your property will be required. You don’t want to be chasing down receipts or estimates days or weeks later when the incident won’t be as fresh in your mind. From your bicycle to the clothes you were wearing, every piece of physical property involved in the accident should be accounted for with a receipt.
- Visit a doctor as soon as possible. Even if you don’t think you’re seriously hurt or if the injuries you’ve suffered seem minor, it doesn’t hurt to take an hour in the next day or two to visit a doctor. Why? Because it’s hard to claim you were injured during a court proceeding if there’s no medical record of you actually being injured. More important, some injuries that seem small at first can increase in severity over time. We’ve seen minor scrapes that seemed innocuous at first turn infected because of gravel in the wound. We’ve seen small “bumps” on the head turn into full blown concussions a day or two later. Visiting a health professional will insure that you are on the road to recovery, giving you peace of mind during what might be a difficult time.
There you have it. Six simple tips that can make the end result of a bicycle accident much more favorable to you. No one wants to be involved in an incident, particularly an incident that took place while riding their bicycle. But sometimes accidents do happen and it’s best to know how to respond and react correctly when an accident does happen.
While the list above isn’t necessarily comprehensive, it is more than enough information to help you in the event of a bicycle accident. Our team at Torero Law is also available in the event you’ve been involved in an incident while riding your bicycle. Whether the accident results in property damage or actual personal injury, we’re available all around Los Angeles to offer a free consultation and help you get the justice you’re entitle to. Contact Torero Law for input and advice on what comes next. We’re here to help all of our Los Angeles neighbors in their time of need.