What to Do If You Were Hit by a Car on Your Bike
Bike accidents happen fast! Stay safe by following the law and complying with bike safety suggestions.The immediate aftermath of a bicycle vs. automobile accident is one of the most critical sequences of events in personal injury law. Bicycle accidents happen so fast and so often, one can only hope the driver will stop and help you. But that is not always the case.
Take the city of Los Angeles for example: Between 2002 and 2012, hit-and-run bicycle accidents increased 42%, with more than 5,200 reported incidents, resulting in 36 deaths, according to CHP.
Furthermore, that same report concluded that only 1 in 5 drivers involved in hit-and-run bike accidents were later detained and charged, meaning about 80% of accident perps were left roaming the streets, primed to strike again.
Luckily, most bike accidents are not hit-and-runs, and, in fact, most bike accidents don’t involve cars. However, when they do, you need to be prepared! So, if you’re a biker, for recreation, or work, check out this list, and keep it close.
Wait for the police.
An accurate, official police report is your frontline vanguard for winning a favorable case resolution in a bike vs. car accident. Even if you don’t think you’re injured, it’s very important to talk to the police and give them clear and concise details as to what happened (but without admitting fault). Just because you don’t think you’re hurt, it doesn’t mean injuries can’t develop over time. You may still be in shock, at which point your injuries can start to linger, and turn into serious problems that negatively affect your life for years to come.
Under no circumstances should you begin a negotiation with the driver who hit you. They may to try to apologize and admit guilt in the moment. But on paper, weeks later, that will not be the case. You are better off taking down their license plate, talking to witnesses, and waiting for the police to show up.
Get your version of the story straight.
You may have to put in a little effort to get the police officer to speak with you. You must remain persistent, and make sure your side of the story gets reported, accurately, and fairly (without admitting fault!) Sometimes, the officers will listen to you, but not include your story in the written police report. Make sure they get it on paper! This cannot be stressed enough.
Don’t admit fault!!! Ever. To anyone.
Did we mention that you shouldn’t admit fault? It’s not uncommon for someone to make a simple statement such as “I’m sorry” after an accident even if they aren’t at fault. Statement like this can be detrimental to the outcome of an accident case. If you were hit by a car on your bike, never admit fault!
Obtain driver and witness information.
If you can, get as much information as possible about the driver who hit you. The information you should collect include:
- Full name
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
- Insurance information
- Phone number
It is also smart to collect names and phone numbers of any witnesses, who can corroborate your story. Again, we must stress that in the immediate aftermath of the accident, the driver may try to apologize and claim guilt; but weeks – or years – later, this will not be the case. Having key witnesses’ contact information could make or break your ability to win a case resolution, and pay for important unforeseen expenses such as:
- Medical bills
- Loss of wages
- Ride arrangements
- Another bike
If you are hurt and cannot talk to witnesses, ask someone nearby for help.
Document what happened.
Take mental notes of the entire ordeal, from start to finish.
- Where were you riding?
- What was your objective of the ride?
- Exactly how fast were you moving?
- Where were you when the accident happened?
- How did the accident happen?
- When did it happen?
- Were you abiding by the rules of road biking? [Link]
It’s important to consider these details as the accident aftermath develops. Remember: these details are PRIVATE and are to be discussed with your attorney only. Never, EVER admit fault.
Get a medical report and take photos.
Seek immediate help for your injuries, even if they are minor, and if a paramedic offers assistance, do not deny it. Medical reports will contribute to your case, should you need to press charges. These documents will detail the extent of the injuries, along with photos that you, or someone at the scene, can take of your wounds, bruises, and/or other injuries.
Do not tamper with or move any of your belongings, such as your bike, or other debris that shifted during the accident. Do not attempt to fix anything. When you get home, do not wash your clothing, and don’t bring your helmet, or any other protective gear, to a bike shop to be fixed. Leave everything as is, and make sure to take detailed photographs of every item.
Call Wilshire Law Firm!
Car vs. bike accidents are very complex, and if you don’t hire a competent bicycle accident attorney to represent you, you may leave a considerable amount of compensation on the table, which could make your recovery much more manageable.
The California bicycle lawyers of Wilshire Law Firm are the most equipped, award-winning bicycle injury attorneys, handling bike accident cases in Los Angeles and throughout the entire Golden State. If you were hit by a car, while you were riding your bike, and do not yet have legal representation, we strongly urge you to give us a call today at 1-800-522-7274.
If you were hit by a car on your bike, you could be entitled to serious compensation.
Don’t delay, call Wilshire Law Firm today!