When a bicycle gets hit by a car, it can have devastating consequences for the bicycle rider. It’s crucial that you try and maintain your focus following the crash if you were involved in a bicycle accident in New York City. The steps you take immediately following the accident will have a significant impact on your personal injury claim against the negligent driver and your potential compensation amount. After your visit to the emergency room for a medical check-up, your next step should be consult with an experienced New York City bicycle accident attorney.
1. Seek medical assistance
You should go to the hospital quickly if you think you are hurt. An official doctor evaluation is required. You may get negatively affected in two ways if you fail to perform this step:
You should make sure that you keep extensive notes of the medical process and retain official documentation. You should also follow the medical treatment plan given to you by the physician. Not doing so will give further ammunition to the insurance company.
2. Take pictures
If you are able to move while on the scene, you should take pictures using your smartphone. Take extensive photographs of your injuries. You should catalogue all property damage as well. This will come in helpful later when you hire the services of an accident lawyer.
3. Get witness and driver contact information
Get the name and number of the vehicle driver if possible. You should also get the vehicle license number, their insurance information, phone number, and driver’s license number. With that said, it is recommended that you get the contact information and names of everyone that saw the accident. Don’t assume this information to be in the police report. Sometimes, the police cannot find this information. You can ask a bystander to help you with this task if you are injured.
4. Preserve evidence
Don’t fix any damages to your cycle or other property. Don’t delete information regarding the accident. For instance, there may be data on a GPS tracking application, such as Strava. Also, don’t attempt to ride the bicycle unless you are sure that it is structurally sound and in proper physical condition.
5. Wait for the police
You should wait for the police to arrive before leaving the accident scene. This will allow you to make sure that the police report is correct on all accounts. This is vital even if you are not injured. Majority of cyclists don’t realize their injuries until several hours following the accident.
Sometimes, minor injuries may develop into permanent and serious problem. You may not be able to locate the at-fault driver if you leave the scene of the accident. It is not recommended to negotiate with the driver. Initially, a number of drivers apologize and accept blame. They change their tune later on by denying any negligence. In fact, there have been instances when the at-fault drivers denied being at the accident scene as well.
Wait for the police to document everything in their report. Another benefit of this wait is that the police may ticket the driver. This can prove to be useful when trying to seek settlement from the insurance company.
6. Include your version in the police report
Police officers may take statements from motorists and not speak to the cyclist. You should do everything possible to get your account in the police report. Don’t forget to report all your injuries irrespective of how minor they seem. Know that the injuries may seem minor now, but can lead to serious consequences. You can also get in touch with an attorney to have the accident report amended later if they refuse to include your statement.
7. Get legal assistance
You can always pursue compensation and legal action by yourself. However, without experience you may miss out on vital steps. You should speak with a legal team as quickly as you can. It is highly recommended that you work with a lawyer if your injuries are serious. Legal representation is essential in the following cases:
Attorneys have the necessary resources to help victims get the settlement they deserve. This is done through the following:
The attorney you hire will review the case and interview you on the circumstances leading up to the accident. They will ask you to share any necessary documentation that you may have collected. This includes hospital invoices and doctor’s notes. After reviewing the records, the lawyer will advise you whether you should hire an attorney or not. They will also let you know the best course of action moving forward.
Personal injury claims can often be settled by attorneys outside the court by getting in touch with the defendant’s attorney or insurance company. However, injuries resulting in permanent impairment require a lawsuit. You should understand that lawsuits require time even if they are the best route. Your attorney will review all medical records and facts associated with the accident before making a decision.
3. File a claim
You have two years from the date of injury for going to court and filing a lawsuit. The only exception is when a government entity is involved. The timeline in this case may be as short as 6 months. These are a few things included in the trial discovery stage:
4. Going to trial
The court will arrange the case for trial if mediation doesn’t let you arrive at an amicable outcome. The trial may last for a day or stretch over several weeks. You should be prepared to wait since trial can get rescheduled depending on the judge’s schedule.
The court will deliver the outcome following the trial and award compensation if you were successful. Your attorney will try their best to maximize the settlement amount by building a strong case.
Cyclists should majorly focus on two areas when riding. The first is to prevent accidents and the second is to lessen injuries in case there has been an accident. You should take all steps necessary for preventing an accident since majority of accidents between car and cyclists usually results in the cyclist suffering serious injuries.
You should wear bright-colored clothing and have reflectors on your cycle. You should also have a light on the cycle. Try and avoid riding at night when possible. You can prevent accidents by increasing visibility. Another step that can help prevent major injuries is wearing a helmet and other protective gear, such as elbow and knee pads when riding. Helmets are particularly important for protecting the brain.
Risk of brain injury when hit by a car is manifold. This is because you would be thrown to the ground. Helmets are useful in preventing serious injuries.
New York is a pedestrian and bicycle friendly city. However, there are always uncouth drivers that may not follow all rules of the road You should pay attention to the actions of road users and the road. A great way of avoiding bicycle accidents is to always assume the driver hasn’t seen you and to act accordingly.
You will be safer when you can predict the mistakes of a driver and react to them. Avoid using ear phones to listen to music. This will prevent you from paying attention to the road. Try not to check your cell phone as well when riding. Make sure you follow all road markings and traffic signs similar to how you would when driving a car.
Look ahead to identify hazards that may cause issues, such as potholes and obstacles.
Whether you are dealing with your own insurance agent or the agent for the other driver, you should not feel obligated in speaking with them. In most cases, these conversations are recorded. You should remember that insurance companies are in the business to avoid or limit paying claims.
The agent may attempt to make incriminating statements about the collision. Don’t be surprised if the insurance adjuster tries to blame you for the accident. They will try to minimize the damages suffered. Speak with an injury attorney before you speak to the insurance agent if you are considering legal action.
Bicycle accident litigation requires extensive knowledge in New York bicycle traffic laws, cycle manufacturers, and an understanding of the potential prejudice among drivers and jurors.
The legal team at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP have decades of experience in handling personal injury claims on behalf of bicycle accident victims. We have a wide network of experts knowledgeable in injury rehabilitation and motor vehicle physics among other bicycle-related claim matters. Get in touch with us today by calling at 212-344-1000 or using our online form.
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