Author: Bobby Yaghoubian
Every bike accident attorney in Los Angeles has at some point had to deal with a case where the victim had no reliable proof for their case. A lack of solid evidence that a motorist was to blame makes a bicycle accident case very, very difficult.
But it’s hardly the victim’s fault; most people don’t know what to do until after they should have done it.
In the chaos of a bicycle accident, most of us wouldn’t take the time to look up “what to do.” But there’s a lot that any bicyclist really should do if they are able.
It’s better to be prepared in advance. Please remember to do these simple things if you’ve been injured in a collision on your bike:
1. Take pictures
Use your smartphone if you can. Photograph the location, the car and the driver (if they didn’t drive away), your own injuries that you can see, any signs in the vicinity, the lane, everything.
If you can’t use your phone due to injury, or if your phone was damaged in the collision, ask someone else to use their phone. It’s hard to find someone these days without a smartphone with a camera.
2. Get witness statements, contact info
Ask anyone who saw the accident whether they’d be willing to make a statement or testify on your behalf. If so, get their contact information including name, phone number, email address, and write down that this person agreed to be a witness. (You may not remember that later, so it’s important to get it on paper.)
3. Get medical treatment ASAP
Even if you feel like you don’t need medical assistance, the safest bet is to get treatment immediately anyway. Injuries are often more than just external bleeding. Head injuries, neck injuries, spinal injuries, contusions — all these and more can manifest later, and can be very serious indeed by the time you even realize it. Let a medical professional check you out.
4. Follow all subsequent medical advice from doctors
Never miss an appointment, never fail to fulfill a prescription, never ignore what your doctor tells you.
Why? Because if you do, then any opposing counsel can claim that your injuries are not serious, and you could be stuck paying all those medical bills that were caused by someone else.
5. Document EVERYTHING
Write everything down, and get signatures where you’re able — from doctors, from witness, from anyone who can help. Keep all prescription bottles, and save all correspondence regarding every aspect of your accident and injuries.
You may not need it all at the end of the day, but it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it!
6. Make a police report, and get a copy of the report
The police statement should be factual — meaning don’t embellish the tale and don’t try to lay blame. The facts will always speak for themselves, and it’s always better to come from the side of truth.
7. Call a bike accident attorney
Many cyclists believe they don’t need a lawyer right after their accident, claiming there’s nothing for them to do until it is time to settle, or if necessary file a lawsuit. But if you wait to see how the settlement negotiation goes and if the insurance company is willing to pay an adequate amount, you’ll end up disappointed.
The insurance company will try to avoid you. Someone will have to be persistent in calling the person in charge of the claim. They will threaten to close the claim on you if you don’t provide them the cost of repair, etc. You need to remind them that your treatment is ongoing, there is no total cost yet, and they need to keep the claim open. You need to speak to supervisors sometimes in order to do this.
If you’ve got the time for that, then feel free to try it on your own. But calling an experienced bike accident lawyer will not only save you all that hassle, you’ll also end up with a much bigger payout.
There’s no reason not to call a lawyer immediately after receiving medical treatment from the crash.