Let’s face it: Accidents happen. Whether you’re driving a car, riding a bicycle, or even a scooter, there is always a chance that something will go wrong. Don’t feel upset if you’ve been involved in an accident – almost everyone is at some point in their lives, and as long as you know the right steps to take following the event, you can (in most cases) walk away from any incident with a smile on your face.
If you’ve had a bicycle accident, your first thought may be that you need a lawyer. However, it’s important to cover all the other important bases before taking that big step. You want to make sure your health is in order, you have all the information you need, and that you are absolutely ready to make that call before you pick up the phone.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of five things you must take care of after a bicycle accident before calling an attorney.
- Call the police. If you’ve been in an accident, call the police and file a formal report, whether you caused the accident or not. This will serve as evidence should a trial occur and will help corroborate your story, helping to protect it from distortion by the other party. Also, if you have injured someone else, you must call 911 in order to ensure they get the help they need (and to avoid being charged for a hit and run.) No matter, the police will play a crucial part in this process, even before you enter the courtroom.
- Get the other party’s contact information, including that of their insurance company. Whether or not you believe you are in the wrong, getting the other party’s information while you are both still present (and likely in the presence of law enforcement) is always a good idea. This way, you can contact them should issues arise, and you will know ahead of any court hearing whether or not they have valid insurance. Fail to do this and you may face not actually knowing with whom your accident occurred, making the possibility of justice much more unlikely.
- Take care of your health, including injuries. Obviously, this step should come before any legal action, as, in order to help yourself sufficiently, you must be in the right position to do so. Get a check-up at a doctor’s office or, if necessary, go to the emergency room, and be sure that all of your health concerns are addressed. Did you bump your head during the fall? Twist your ankle? Have a nasty cut that may be infected? Loss of memory? These are things to have your doctor check before moving forward with the process. This is especially important if you did not cause the accident, as the other party may be liable to pay for your medical bills and even an injury settlement. Wait until after the fact, and getting these deserved payments may be much more difficult.
- Gather any evidence you can find that can prove what happened. Even if you caused the accident, having something such as video evidence can help back up your story. For example, perhaps there was a deer or other animal that jumped out unexpectedly, or another bike swerved in front of you. Security camera footage from nearby shops or restaurants may be able to prove this for you so your lawyers have solid evidence to back up your case. You should also take lots of photos of the crash, including damage, personal injuries, anything that may have factored into the accident, etc… so you have concrete evidence of your own you can provide your attorney with.
- Decide what attorney you want to call, and why. It’s crucial in the case of an accident to find the right lawyer for you. While choosing the first name out of a phone book might get you representation, that representation may not be the best fit for you and your situation. Be sure you do not hire someone from an injury settlement mill or someone with little to no experience in this area of law.
Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to walking away from a nasty bicycle crash with dignity. Accidents are not always preventable, but they should always be handled in a way appropriate to the situation, and in a way that serves justice to those injured.
Comment below if you have had experience with this, or have any other steps that you would certainly take before consulting an attorney after a bicycle accident.
Scott Blumenshine’s expertise is based on years of experience representing people in personal injury and underinsured and uninsured motorist claims, arguing the facts and law in court, writing on the subject and presenting materials at continuing education seminars. Scott has been practicing law in Chicago for over 30 years and is currently a managing partner at the Blumenshine Law Group. You can learn more at https://www.blumenshinelawgroup.com.
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