Bike commuting in America has soared in popularity in recent years. With so many bikers sharing the roads—roads that are still on their way to being safe for bikers—the chance of an accident naturally rises.
Although bicycle fatalities and serious injuries in California decreased from 2019 to 2020, the numbers remain high. As a bicycle rider, you may wonder what to do after a bicycle accident in CA. While it may be difficult to maintain clarity of mind after an accident, there are steps you can take to protect your legal rights and help obtain compensation for your damages.
California Bike Law
Under California law, bicyclists have the same duties and responsibilities as motorists. Bicyclists must obey traffic lights, stop signs, and yield to traffic just like a vehicle. This means that if you were a biking victim in a bicycle accident, the law might not always be in your favor—especially if the driver that hit you alleges that you were not obeying the road rules.
Speaking with an experienced bike accident attorney helps you establish the best course of action for your case to prevail.
Before getting the compensation you deserve, you must show that the driver is liable. A bicycle accident case is like any other personal injury case in that both require proof of negligence. California law requires that you show:
- The driver owed you a duty to uphold a certain standard of care,
- They breached that duty when the accident occurred,
- Your injuries occurred as a result of that breach, and
- There is a legal remedy for your injuries.
Once these elements have been established, obtaining the compensation you deserve is much easier.
What to do After a Bike Accident
What do you do after a bicycle accident? We are here to help answer that question. These simple steps will help you achieve the best results for your bike accident case.
Call 911 and Report the Accident
People may be reluctant to call emergency services after an accident when their injuries are not readily apparent. Yet, even with minor accidents, it is in your best interest to call 911.
Call the police immediately. Ask responding law enforcement officers to prepare an accident report with their unbiased summary of the bike accident. The police who make accident reports act as a neutral party while recording the facts of the case. This way, it is harder to claim later that someone else was at fault without some evidence being provided in the record.
If you suffer injuries and cannot document the accident scene and details yourself, the prepared police report might supplement your memories of the event. Retrieve a copy of your police report from the reporting agency. If you don’t know how to retrieve a copy of your bike accident report, your personal injury attorney can help.
Document the Scene and Gather Evidence
Immediately after the accident, try to stay calm and move away from moving traffic and out of harm’s way. Record the details of the accident to the best of your ability. With today’s technology, your mobile phone helps. Memories fade quickly, even after a traumatic event like a bicycle accident.
Take photographs of the damage to your bicycle, the car that hit you, your injuries, and other property damage.
Even recording information about the time of day, the weather conditions, and how the accident occurred keeps those memories preserved more accurately as time passes. In addition to using your phone to verbally record details, take photographs, or even take a video of the scene—it may also be helpful to draw a diagram of the accident. The diagram should show the location, traffic light locations, and location of the parties.
You should also preserve all damaged clothing worn during the accident. Don’t repair the damage to your bicycle or dispose of damaged bicycle parts, as a lawyer may use them to support your case.
Obtain Witness Information
Although the police assist after the fact with obtaining accident information, witnesses see the accident as it occurs. Witnesses provide information that can be crucial for your case. This ensures you will get a well-rounded story of what caused the bike accident.
Seek Medical Treatment
Do not assume you escaped injury-free if your injuries are not immediately apparent following an accident. Injuries may appear in the hours, days, or even weeks following an accident. When you see a doctor after your accident, they document injuries. This documentation may save your compensation claim because it will causally connect your injuries to the accident.
When your doctor identifies your injuries, complete all prescribed treatments. A failure to do so may negatively affect your ability to collect total compensation in a lawsuit.
Refrain from Negotiating
Sometimes people speak before gathering their thoughts right after an accident. One party may admit fault without adequately assessing the scene. Even a simple “I’m sorry” may be used against you. It is best to wait until the police arrive on the scene to make any statements about what occurred. And when speaking to the police, be careful to stick to the facts. You are under no obligation to speak about who was at fault.
Once a claim is filed with the insurance company, they assign an adjuster to the case. That adjuster usually calls—on a recorded line—shortly after receiving the claim so that they can collect statements. Making the wrong statements can hurt your case. It is best to consult an attorney before making any statement to insurance company adjusters.
Consult an Attorney
Do not speak to insurance companies or lawyers representing opposing parties without legal representation. As you recover from your injuries, you may feel overwhelmed and at a loss as to what to do next. However, you deserve the right to recover compensation when another causes your injuries.
A lawyer helps in many ways, including speaking to insurance companies on your behalf, negotiating potential settlements, and calculating the value of your case. The lawyer investigates and gathers evidence to build a strong case and prepare you for trial.
Contact Us After Your Bicycle Accident
At Silva Injury Law, we treat our clients like family. We understand the trauma and stress you may be feeling following a bike accident. As you begin to rebuild your life, you need an attorney to be with you every step of the way. Silva Injury Law never charges injured victims upfront to handle their case. We offer free remote or in-person case reviews to determine whether your case has merit. Our fee is a percentage of the compensation we recover for you—so we don’t get paid unless and until you do. For this reason, we fight hard for every case. Contact us today to find out how we can help you get your life back!
FIND OUT HOW WE CAN HELP
At Silva Injury Law we promote healing through compassionate advocacy. With each case tailored to the individual, we look our for your best interests by evaluating your unique circumstances. Contact us today for a FREE in person or remote consultation.