Have you or a loved one been injured while riding their bike because of another person’s negligence in South Florida? Each year in the United States, there are almost 1,000 deaths and 467,000 injuries for bike riders.
Even taking all safety precautions and wearing a helmet isn’t a guarantee you won’t be hurt on your bike. The other person responsible for your injuries may be a party to a lawsuit filed by you in the future.
Avoid making costly mistakes in your case by learning what not to do after a bike accident in Boca Raton, FL or another part of the state!
Speaking to Other Parties
Right after a bike crash, emotions can be running high in all parties involved. Whether you suffer minor injuries or more serious problems, you should not speak to the other parties in the accident.
Generally speaking, the things that you say to someone else about your accident and injuries can be used against you later. Sometimes injuries don’t show themselves right away.
For example, you may “feel fine” after an accident in Key Biscayne, FL and tell an at-fault party the same. Once the adrenaline settles down and your body has had a couple of days to adjust, you may begin to feel serious pain.
If you tell another party that you “feel fine”, this can be used against you in a lawsuit or insurance claim later. One of the bike accident mistakes to avoid is speaking to people about it!
Not Documenting the Crash Scene
You can’t afford to not document the crash scene after your accident. The time right after your bike crash is a snapshot in time that won’t exist days and months later.
You need to do your best to document the scene as much as possible. Don’t rely on other parties or the police to do this for you. If you’ve got a cell phone camera, take pictures of your bike and the car or bike that caused the crash. If there are witnesses to the accident, ask for their name and contact information.
This will help you establish fault and damages when you make an insurance claim or file a lawsuit at a later date!
Delaying the Start of Medical Treatment
Injuries after bicycle accidents may not show themselves until a few days after the crash. Even if you feel alright right after the accident, you should not delay seeking medical treatment to get checked out.
If you weren’t rushed to the hospital with serious injuries, consider going to a walk-in clinic to speak to a doctor about the situation. They can prescribe medicine for pain and begin documenting your injuries.
Doctors often recommend that you undergo x-rays or MRIs. This helps to give them a look at the bones and muscles that may be strained or broken as a result of the crash.
The longer you wait to treat after a medical accident, the less severe it may seem. You don’t want an insurance company or at-fault party to downplay the severity of your injuries because you tried to avoid seeking medical treatment as long as possible.
Waiting to Seek Legal Counsel
Don’t wait long to hire a bike accident attorney after your crash. An experienced personal injury or automobile accident attorney will be familiar with how a bike crash case works.
You can confide in the attorney you hire about the facts and circumstances that lead up to the accident. A lawyer can also begin working on your behalf to investigate the case and speak to any witnesses about it.
Your attorney can discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case. This will give you an idea of the severity of your claim and how the insurance or litigation process will work.
Once you have treated with medical professionals and gotten a clearer picture of your injuries, an attorney will often recommend that they write a demand letter to an insurance company for you.
This will make a formal demand for payment of your damages and threaten the filing of a lawsuit unless the claims are settled within a certain timeframe.
Making a Statement to an At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company
You must avoid making any statement to an insurance company after your bike crash. It isn’t unusual for an at-fault party’s insurance company to reach out to you afterward.
For example, let’s say that you are riding your bike and a car runs a red light and hits you. The police arrive at the scene and prepare a crash report, issuing the at-fault driver a citation for failure to stop at the red light. The crash report will include your name and contact information. The at-fault driver will report the crash to his or her insurance company.
In this example, it’s likely that an insurance claim representative will reach out to you shortly thereafter. A representative will ask you questions about the crash and may even ask you to make a sworn statement about what happened. This statement can be used against you later in court!
If an insurance company tries to contact you, tell them you are in the process of hiring an attorney to represent your interests. Once you hire a lawyer, they can reach out to the insurance company directly to put them on notice that all future correspondence should go through their firm.
Don’t Make These Mistakes After a Bike Accident
A bike accident can be a life-changing event for you and your family. By knowing what to do and avoid after a bike crash, you will be in a better position to pursue any damage claims later.
Your safety is paramount during a bike trip but accidents happen on roads and bike paths each day. Take your well-being seriously but also be ready for when things go wrong.
Are you looking for other important resources as a bike rider in the State of Florida? Check out our blog section for our post to ‘Understand the Bike Laws of Florida’!