Despite all safety measures, cycling in Florida remains dangerous. According to the NHTSA, deaths among Florida cyclists have tripled since 1975.
There are many reasons for this worrying trend. About a third of Florida cyclists don’t wear helmets, and over half of them ride with or against the traffic. Deaths can also happen due to mundane mistakes, such as wearing hard-to-see clothing.
With the risk of an accident so high, you should do your best to prepare for it. If you do have a bicycle crash in Miami, there are several things that can help you recover from it. Your actions may also affect the outcome of a potential lawsuit.
Not sure what you need to do in these situations? Here is a handy list of 7 crucial steps that can make the difference in a bicycle crash.
1. Call the Police
The very first thing you should do after an accident is getting off the road. This will prevent any additional damage.
As soon as you’re safe, call the police. Even if you’re not visibly injured, stay at the scene of the accident and wait for an officer to arrive. If you leave the scene, the officer may not be able to determine who was at fault for the accident.
Keep in mind that you may not realize you’re injured if you’re high on adrenaline. Many cyclists don’t feel the effect of their injuries for hours after the accident. Sometimes, minor injuries develop into more serious issues.
2. Record Contact Information
While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, get as much information as you can. This includes driver and witness contact information.
If the driver is at the scene, get his or her address and phone number. You should also get their license number, their vehicle’s license number, and insurance information. If you’re injured, have a bystander record this information.
Don’t bother trying to negotiate with the driver. Many drivers accept blame at first, only to have second thoughts and change their story down the line. In some cases, drivers may even deny they were present at the scene of the accident.
Finally, get names and contact information of any witnesses who saw the crash. Don’t assume that the police will take care of these details. They probably will, but it’s always better to be on the safe side.
3. Document What Happened
Another thing you should do after a Miami bicycle crash is to make notes of it. Insurance claims can take a while, and notes are a great reminder.
Focus on writing down what happened and how it happened. Make a note of road, traffic, and weather conditions during the time of the crash. Don’t forget to include when and where the accident occurred.
It’s also a good idea to take pictures of the accident. Use your phone camera to get photos of the vehicle, your bicycle, and the location of the accident. While you’re at it, take a picture of the vehicle’s license plate number.
4. Have Your Case Heard
When the police arrive, insist that they ticket the driver. This can come in handy when settling the case with your insurance company.
Other than that, make sure that the officer includes your version of the events into the report. In these cases, many officers only take statements from the driver without bothering with the cyclist. Try to not let that happen with you.
If your efforts prove futile, you can always have the report amended later. Don’t forget to report all your injuries, regardless of how minor they are. As we mentioned above, many injuries tend to become more serious later.
5. Document Your Injuries
Speaking of injuries, do your best to evaluate yourself. Check for common bike injuries such as whiplash, broken bones, lacerations, or head trauma.
If you find something that requires medical attention, make sure to seek it. This will serve as proof that you got injured, making your insurance claim stronger. Medical records will also document the extent of your injuries, even if they’re minor.
If you have visible injuries after the accident, take pictures of them as well. In the days after the accident, consider starting a journal of your physical symptoms. Take notes every few days and record any aftereffects such as muscle pain.
6. Preserve Evidence
Almost every bike crash in Miami results in damaged property. Though it’s tempting to get that fixed, you should wait until the case gets resolved.
Other than not repairing your bike, consider your clothing and equipment. If your clothes are dirty from the accident, don’t wash them. Also, don’t throw away your damaged equipment or send it to anyone other than your attorney.
Again, the best way to preserve your evidence is to take pictures of it. The sooner you take those photos, the better. If you’re using your phone camera, make sure that it puts a time stamp on all the images.
7. Contact an Attorney
Even a simple bicycle collision in Miami can involve complex legal issues. If you’re not sure how to proceed, it’s a good idea to contact a professional.
Consulting an attorney who specializes in bike-related accidents comes with many benefits. First, they can provide valuable advice. They can also negotiate with insurance companies or represent you in a lawsuit.
If you’re planning to consult an attorney, do it before talking with the insurance company. Oftentimes, a letter from an attorney to the company will be enough to resolve the issue. In fact, most injury cases get settled before a trial.
More on What to Do After a Bicycle Crash in Miami
As you can see, bike accidents are a complicated matter. If you can’t prevent one, this guide should let you know how to handle it.
Sometimes, the best way to prevent bicycle crashes is to learn from the one you had. This is why most cyclists change their habits after an accident. This can include making eye contact with drivers, signaling well in advance, and so on.
Want to know more about how to deal with a bicycle crash in Miami? Looking for an attorney to represent you in a bike-related accident? Contact us right here — we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.