It’s a gorgeous late spring afternoon, and after a long day at work or school, you’ve decided to go for a relaxing bicycle ride. The wind rushes past you as … everything goes black. Out of the blue, you’ve been hit by a vehicle. Do you know what to do next, beyond seeking care for your injuries?
Once the situation is stabilized, you should consult a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The team at Godsey Martin, P.C., has put together this guide to help you understand what to do immediately after the accident, and in the days that follow — and how experienced counsel can help you get back on your feet.
Right After You’ve Been Hit
Your first consideration after the accident is a simple one: It’s you. If you are able, assess your injuries and whether you need medical assistance. The same goes for anyone else who may have been hurt in the crash. Get people out of harm’s way and do your best to stabilize the situation.
Again, if you are able, you should then summon first responders, including both police and paramedics. Others on the scene may need to do it for you. Follow the instructions of the first responders, especially if they advise a visit to the hospital.
In the Aftermath
If you do not need to go to the hospital, and depending on your condition, you should begin to document what happened. Make notes of the incident as you remember it, including drawing a diagram of the scene. Note the weather conditions. If you or a companion are able, take pictures of the bike, the vehicle, and general surroundings.
Exchange information with the driver if you can, including getting the person’s name, insurance company, and contact details. If that’s not possible, the responding police officers will likely capture that documentation for their report. You will need those details to file a claim with the insurance company.
If there were witnesses, try to get their names and contact information. Their accounts may prove valuable in your insurance claim, or subsequent litigation if you end up having to file a lawsuit. One important tip: police sometimes focus on the driver’s account to the exclusion of others. Make sure responding officers hear your side of the story.
Leave the evidence alone. Don’t try to fix your bike, and keep your clothes separate and in the condition they were after the accident. Unless the police take the evidence for their investigation, keep all items under your control. These may prove important in establishing your personal injury claim.
If you do not visit the hospital, make an appointment with your doctor for an exam. Even with today’s bike helmet technology, concussions can occur. Those or other types of injuries may not become apparent for a few days. You will want to get a careful medical record of your injuries, and even then, you should keep a diary of your physical issues.
Typically after a relatively minor car crash, the involved motorists contact the respective insurance companies to make a claim. In an accident involving a bike, your first step should be to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney, such as the lawyers at Godsey Martin P.C.
Insurance companies may seek to negotiate a settlement directly with you and lock you into an amount before you are represented by a lawyer who can explain all your rights. This is one of the main areas where a lawyer can help ease the stress that follows a painful bicycle accident.
How Attorneys Help
Your personal injury attorney serves your best interests in a number of ways as you seek compensation for your injuries and other damages. They can assist initially by evaluating the incident and giving you their best advice on how to proceed.
Attorneys can help you understand what evidence and documentation you need to collect and how to go about doing that. and This could include items such as the accident report from police, other accounts from witnesses, photographs or video, records of your medical treatment, financial records showing lost wages (including time spent going to the doctor). Attorneys can also identify and recommend hiring expert witnesses who can bolster your case.
Will I Have to Sue?
Hiring an attorney does not necessarily mean you will have to file a lawsuit. Your attorney can negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company and may be able to come away with a settlement outside of court. If the case needs to go to court, then the attorney will prepare the complaint and make sure it is filed prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations sets a time limit for filing personal injury cases. It means that if you file your lawsuit after that period, you may not be able to recover damages. In Texas, the statute of limitations on personal injury cases is two years.
Note that the amount of damages you may recover will depend on the circumstances of your case. You may be able to recover compensation for your out-of-pocket medical expenses, and also for pain and suffering and damage to your property. Attorneys such as those at Godsey Martin, P.C., serving clients in Dallas and Houston, can help you sort out the issues and decide on your next steps.
Legal Representation After Your Bike Accident
Getting injured in a bicycle accident is painful and frightening, and may leave you with a lot of questions about what to do next. Let the personal injury lawyers at Godsey Martin, P.C. counsel you through this confusing time. If you feel you were hit by a negligent driver, you may be able to recover damages. Our team understands how to evaluate, document, and pursue claims for personal injury or wrongful death in a bike accident. We will represent you in discussions with insurance companies, negotiate settlements and take the matter to court if necessary. Our attorneys also handle car, truck, motorcycle, and pedestrian accidents, slip and falls and property damage cases. Call us or contact us online today for a free consultation.