Tips from a Bicycle Accident Attorney: Protect Your Rights
For victims in the State of Ohio who are involved in a bicycle accident, here are some tips our clients have found helpful.
We hope the following suggestions are beneficial to you. If you have any questions about bicycle accidents, please contact our office in Columbus, Ohio.
Document Your Bicycle Accident
Keeping detailed documentation of everything related to your bicycle accident is one of the most important things you can do after the event. You’ll want to make a detailed record of all of the factors involved in the collision. It’s also important to keep records about your injuries, restrictions, limitations, and any activities that you previously enjoyed that have been affected by the bicycle accident.
In the event of a bicycle accident involving a vehicle or another party, always file an accident report with the police. It’s very important to document the accident and all of the reasons why the driver was unsafe. It’s also essential to document the contact information and names of all witnesses.
Be sure to take photographs of the scene of the bicycle accident. Include photographs that show the damage to your bicycle, damage to the other vehicle, and any other vehicles that were involved in the bicycle accident. Take pictures of any skid marks as well as what the driver would have seen prior to the accident: traffic lights, speed limit signs, safety signs, and any nearby buildings or landmarks.
You should also have someone photograph your injuries from the collision. Bruises, cuts, abrasions, broken bones, head injuries, and other injuries should all be documented with photographs and written descriptions.
Keep Detailed Notes
Write down a description of all of the unsafe actions of the other parties involved in the bicycle accident. For example, if a negligent driver failed to pay attention to their surroundings or observe a bicycle safety sign, that information should be documented.
Did the driver take any action to avoid collision such as applying the brakes, swerving, or honking the horn? Write it in your notes. Listen to what the driver says to you and pay attention to mannerisms and general demeanor. Does the driver seem distracted, irrationally angry, or out of control? Does the driver seem drunk or otherwise impaired? Include these observations in your documentation.
Write the details of the bicycle accident from the beginning. Include the events that took place before the bicycle accident, what happened to you when impact occurred, and what happened once your bicycle and other vehicles involved in the accident came to a complete stop. Take notes about all conversations you had at the scene of the bicycle accident with the other driver, police, EMS squad, and any witnesses.
Get an Evaluation From Your Doctor
If you are injured in a bicycle accident and don’t require immediate transport to a hospital for treatment, it is very important that you visit your primary care physician. Give your doctor details about your injuries and the pain related to them.
When speaking to your doctor about your injuries, use descriptive language. For example, if you have neck pain, describe how it feels. Is it an aching pain? Is it constant pain or does it vary?
Talk to your doctor about how your bicycle accident injuries restrict you from participating in activities that you enjoy. Provide a list of the activities and how they were affected by the bicycle accident. Share details about any anxiety or stress the accident has caused for you. Discuss how long your pain has lasted and caused interference with things you enjoyed doing prior to the bicycle accident. Be sure to be as detailed as possible.
The most harm in your case is the harm to yourself. Medical costs and interference with your ability to work and participate in your favorite activities are the only factors you can take into account for determining the proper amount of compensation to equal the amount of damage caused by the bicycle accident.
You should only share details about the accident with your doctor and your attorney. We frequently find that the insurance company for the negligent driver contacts our client very soon after an accident to get a recorded statement of the bicycle accident and related injuries. They may request that our client sign a medical authorization form that allows the company to access records of all medical treatment the client has received both before and after the bicycle accident. Don’t sign any paperwork or agree to an interview with the insurance company until you have had the chance to discuss your claim with an experienced attorney.
Call Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance company immediately after a bicycle accident. Over the years we have found that many negligent drivers who cause accidents often do not have insurance, so we have to resort to filing claims on behalf of our client with their own insurance company. After a bicycle accident with an uninsured driver you should immediately file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance company.
It’s important to file a claim with your insurance company because the other party involved in the bicycle accident may not have proper coverage to adequately cover all of your losses and damages caused by the accident.
In the State of Ohio, your insurance company is not required to provide you with uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Without this coverage, you have no means to recover all of the damage caused by an uninsured negligent driver. Ask your insurance company about adding this coverage to your current policy to protect yourself.
Be Aware of the Impact
Remember that money required to pay for your medical treatment is different than money that is intended to make up for you suffering the pain and anxiety associated with injuries, or what lawyers refer to as “pain and suffering” in a personal injury case. Pain and suffering includes all losses due to the harm caused by a bicycle accident.
There’s no formula for calculating your level of pain and suffering, so the following factors are used to determine the value:
- What is the level of intensity of each harm? (Pain can be minor, medium, or extremely strong.)
- How bad is the damage? (How much does it hurt?)
- How long does the pain last? Where does the harm lie on a scale of time? (Pain may last anywhere from a few moments to permanently.)
- How much does the harm interfere with your life?
- Does the harm stop you from participating in the activities that you love?
- On a scale of disability, where does each injury lie?
- Is your ability to function affected by the disability? Is the scale of your disability at a low, medium, or high level? Does it interfere enough to totally incapacitate you?
The amount of compensation for pain is determined in relation to how the pain affects your life, how severe the pain is, and how long the pain lasts.
If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, following these steps will help you to be as proactive as you can. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact my law firm. We are happy to assist you.