As we head into Memorial Day weekend, many of us will be enjoying the outdoors on our bikes. We have promoted safety throughout May as part of National Bike Month, however, we know that accidents will happen, no matter how many precautions we take. And while there are many types of bike accidents, those involving a motor vehicle can cause the most damage. During a two-year period of study, there was an average of close to 4,000 hospital emergency room visits each year in New York state due to motor vehicle-bicyclist accidents.
If you’ve been hit by a car while on your bike, there are some key actions you should take to help minimize further damage and protect your rights if the accident was caused by a motorist’s negligence.
Get out of the way of traffic if possible. If you are able, move to the side of the road to avoid being hit by other motorists.
Assess your injuries. One of the most serious concerns in a bike accident is the potential for traumatic brain injury. You may feel like you are fine, but in fact could have suffered a concussion or other head injury. Check your helmet–is it cracked or damaged? This could be an indication of head injury. (By the way, if you are not in the habit of wearing a bike helmet, you should be! Check out our blog post for tips about helmet safety and local resources for getting the proper fit.)
Call the police. Even if you think your injuries are minor, it is important to have an official police report. Your injuries may not manifest until days or weeks after the crash. Without a police report, you’ll have no documentation of what happened, or identification of the driver in the event you need to pursue a case due to the motorist’s negligence.
Seek medical attention. Get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible after the accident, even if your injuries are minor. Seeking medical attention attests to the fact that you were injured, and creates documentation should you need to pursue legal action against the at-fault motorist. Those seemingly minor injuries could develop into more severe conditions, so establishing a medical record at the outset is critical.
Preserve the evidence. Do not immediately attempt to repair your bike, clothing or helmet. Having evidence of the damage caused in the accident can be crucial to any legal case you may pursue. So at the very least take some pictures of your bike, your helmet, your clothing, and most importantly, your injuries.
Contact an attorney. Contact an experienced bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible while the details are still fresh in your mind. Your attorney can guide you through the process, such as seeking no-fault coverage and bodily injury compensation through the driver’s insurance company, seeking SUM coverage, uninsured motorist protection or coverage from the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation.
At LaMarche Safranko Law, we’ll help you understand your rights and protect you from insurance companies that will look to minimize the extent of your harm and injuries. We’ll take on your case as if it were our own and treat you like a member of our family. We are dedicated cyclists ourselves and we focus on bicyclist injury cases, so we are uniquely qualified to ensure you get justice. Contact us today for a free consultation at (518) 463-7784 or online.