You can rarely turn on the news or open a paper in a major US city like Miami without a headline that there was a cyclist hit by a car today.
It’s not just a busy city problem though. Smaller cities like West Palm Beach or Jupiter see more than their share of bicycle accidents as well. Florida has the most fatal bike accidents of any state in the country.
Wherever there are cars and bicycles sharing the roads, there is a possibility of disaster, no matter how vigilant you are about road safety.
If you’re involved in a bike accident it’s crucial you gather evidence at the scene and after to ensure you can protect yourself physically and financially from further harm.
Keep reading to learn the type of evidence you must collect after a bike accident to protect yourself and verify the facts of the case.
Health and Safety First
Immediately after an accident the most important thing to do is make sure everyone is safe and there is no danger of further injury or accidents. You’ll want to ensure everyone is out of the line of traffic and safe from the possibility of another collision happening.
More than 64,000 accidents occur while trying to avoid a collision that just happened. You don’t want further injury or fatalities from a residual crash so ensure you and others are out of the way or that traffic is stopped.
If emergency medical attention is needed, ensure you call 911 immediately. You have 14 days after an accident to see a doctor but should do so as soon as possible. Ensure you get documentation of all injuries, costs, and future therapies that are expected due to the accident.
Photos of Facts
One of the great things about cell phones is that you always have it on you and have the ability to take video and photos. A picture is worth a thousand words and can make the difference in any dispute about the facts of the incident.
If you safely can, take pictures or video of where the vehicles and bike are situated after the accident. Get evidence of any damages to your bicycle or the other vehicles involved and any injuries that are visible.
You’ll want pictures of the road conditions, any obstructions in the road, and even the weather conditions.
You can be proactive and wear a GoPro or another action camera that can be attached to your bike or helmet and will film the actual event happening. This will provide you with the best proof and evidence of what occurred and clear up any questions the police may have regarding who is to blame.
Collect Names and Contact Information
Even if it’s a minor collision where no one seems to have any immediate injury, you’ll want to make note of any witnesses or participants in the accident. Make sure you collect contact information for all involved.
Ask witnesses to stay until first responders arrive so they can give a witness statement. If they can’t stay or emergency services are not being called then you’ll want to make sure you get their name and contact number before they do leave.
If witnesses or participants are unwilling to give their information you can always joy down their license plate number or snap a photo of the scene and the people there.
Just getting the name and number of the others involved may not be enough. You’ll want to exchange insurance information and make sure you have all their details before you go your separate ways.
If there is significant damage or injury, police should be called. Otherwise, you can fill out a report online or in writing. If the other parties involved refuse to give you their information you will need to get it from the accident report or have the police collect the information for you.
Estimate for Damages
In the days after the accident, you’ll need to find out what damage has been done. It’s smart to get a few estimates of the cost of repairs to submit to the at-fault driver’s insurance or if necessary for court.
A written estimate from several different places will help you prove the extent of damages to your bike or other equipment (such as a laptop that fell from a backpack, etc).
It’s a good idea to find the original amount you paid for the item and how much it will cost to repair or replace each item.
Don’t Hurt Your Case
Many people have ended up hurting their own case because they posted information on social media. Don’t share too much information about the accident or injuries if you don’t want others involved in the case to see it. Even if you have privacy settings, information tends to get out.
Insurance companies, lawyers, investigators, and law enforcement are experts at collecting evidence, including statements made online. You could end up losing out on the damages you deserve because of a joke, comment or picture that is taken out of context or is twisted to match someone else’s best interests.
Seek Legal Advice
If you’ve been injured in a bike accident or have damages as a result of a collision then you should seek legal advice. Insurance companies don’t like to give money away and they’ll do everything they can to avoid paying you what you deserve or need to be made whole.
See the legal advice of experts so you know your rights and have someone who knows the law in your corner.
Be Proactive to Avoid a Bike Accident
The best way to be proactive in avoiding a bike accident is to follow the rules of the road and drive safely. No matter how proactive you are, accidents happen.
When they do make sure you have the best bike accident legal team available in Florida and contact us today.