STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU’RE HIT BY A CAR WHIILE BICYCLING
“As you might expect, when a crash occurs between a vehicle and a bike, it’s the cyclist who is most likely to be injured,” the NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) cautions. “A large percentage of crashes can be avoided if motorists and cyclists follow the rules of the road and watch out for each other.”
But, what if you followed all the rules and all the precautions, and it still happened – you were on your bike and were struck by a car?
At Ramey & Hailey, we are devoted to keeping our city safe for both drivers and cyclists. To that end, we wanted bicyclists – and observers of a bicycle/vehicle crash – to know exactly what steps they need to take.
Seek medical attention. Even if you are able to get back on the bike and ride away, certain types of serious injury (including spinal cord and brain damage) may not be immediately apparent. Keep careful records of each medical visit.
Call law enforcement. Keep a copy of the police report.
Exchange contact information with the vehicle driver, being sure to note the vehicle make and model and driver’s license number.
Take photographs of the scene, any damage to the car or to your bicycle, plus any physical damages to your person.
Notify your own auto insurance carrier (many policies cover bike accidents caused by a vehicle).
Should you seek the services of a personal injury attorney?
Remember that in any lawsuit against the vehicle owner, the actual defendant will be the legal department of an auto insurance company, and you will benefit from being represented by an experienced legal professional as well. In fact, Enjuris cautions, following the accident, the driver’s insurance company may call you and offer to settle the case for a sum of money in exchange for a release of liability. Be very careful before accepting any settlement offer and signing a release, Enjuris says, because initial offers are often low.
The vast majority of personal injury claims made by bicyclists against motor vehicle drivers after a bicycle accident are negligence claims, Enjuris explains. To prove negligence in Indiana, the bicyclist must prove that the driver a) failed to exercise a reasonable degree of care (they may have been speeding, driving under the influence, or texting while driving) and b) the specific failure on the part of the vehicle owner was the cause of the accident.
At Ramey & Hailey, when you seek our advice following a bicycle/vehicle crash, you have (or a loved one has) just suffered a traumatic ordeal. For this reason, we are dedicated to compassionately helping you recover your financial losses.