Riding a bicycle is a healthy activity more Americans are choosing over driving, every year, and the environmental benefits of bicycling are plenty. Unfortunately though, riding a bicycle – especially in cities at night – can be risky.
In fact, riding a bicycle may be more dangerous than walking: A 2017 study found that bicyclists are 19 times more likely to be really hurt in an accident than a pedestrian.
These solemn statistics emphasize the need for better education and safety equipment for riders and drivers alike. If you have been hit by a car or motor vehicle, while riding your bicycle, don't worry! Read on for guidance on what to do after the accident and what to do when you are ready to seek compensation.
Find Immediate Medical Attention
Bicyclists are at risk of serious injury when they're hit. While you may not think your injuries are serious right away, it's important you see a doctor immediately to make sure there is no hidden trauma that could affect you later.
We want to make you aware of some of the injuries that you could have as a result of your bicycle accident. The most common injuries bicyclists experience include:
- Head and brain injuries.
- Broken bones.
- Spine injuries.
- Internal organ trauma.
- Scratches and cuts (road rash).
Treating your injuries quickly will help you get better fast. It will also help your personal injury attorney determine how much compensation you may be entitled to.
Who Is at Fault for Bicycle Accidents?
You may be wondering how your actions before an accident could factor into your injury claim. There are many accident details that go into deciding who is at fault for a bicycle accident, but luckily, as a bicycle rider, you have a good chance of being repaid for your injuries. Here are a few situations where compensation may be possible:
- A car hit you while you were crossing an intersection.
- You hit a car that turned in front of you.
- A car hit you from behind while you were stopped at a signal or stop sign.
If your accident was different than these examples, or if you’re not sure how to move forward, you can schedule a free consultation with an Accident.com personal injury attorney. They will talk with you about the details of your injury claim.
Accident Details That Can Affect Your Injury Claim
Your personal injury attorney's goal is to get as much compensation as possible. When an insurance company or a jury reviews your injury claim, there are certain facts that can affect how much compensation you get.
A jury will be more sensitive to your injury claim and more likely to vote in your favor if they know you were following the law and taking precautions.
Wearing a Helmet
Most deadly bicycle accidents are due to head injuries, which makes wearing a helmet a vital part of your bike ride. While only 22 states require bicycle helmet use, wearing one can reduce your chances of serious injury by up to 60%. Adjusters and juries alike will note whether you had a helmet on. So, even if your state doesn't require you to use one, your chances of a fast recovery and good compensation are higher if you wore a helmet.
Obeying Traffic Controls
Bicycles need to follow the same traffic laws as cars in most states. As a cyclist, you need to ride in the same direction as traffic and follow all traffic signals. Also, many roads now have separate lanes for bicycles that can keep you away from traffic. Using the traffic controls available to you can decrease your chances of injury and show a jury that you were following the law.
Using Reflective Gear and Lights
Poor visibility, both for bicyclists and drivers, can cause accidents as well. Riding in the dark made up 45% of bicycle accidents in 2016. Using items to increase your visibility, like reflective gear and helmet or bicycle lights, can help your personal injury attorney win your case.
Staying Alert and Aware
Another common cause of bicycle accidents is a lack of awareness of your surroundings. If you were on your phone or had used substances that impaired your mind or vision, your chances of winning over a jury are lower.
Pursuing Compensation for Bicycle Accidents
All states have time limits for pursuing an injury claim. So, taking action quickly is important for your case. You have two main options for seeking an injury claim: Insurance or lawsuit.
Third-Party Insurance Claim
While the driver's policy may cover your injury, filing your claim without legal help may require you to discuss details about the accident with the driver’s insurance company. Don't discuss your case with any third party who may have different interests than you. As you can see from the examples above, many of the details you provide to them could affect the money you get.
Filing a Lawsuit
Some situations will prevent insurance from getting involved in an injury claim. If a car didn't actually hit you, but you had to take action to avoid being hit, filing suit may be the route you take to get compensation. These cases may be harder to prove to a jury, however. So, keep track of as many details as you can, like the license plate of the driver or any witnesses who can confirm your account of the accident. Video footage may also be available in densely populated areas. Filing a lawsuit can be tough, but legal help can make it easier for you.
Regardless of the route you choose, Accident.com offers free consultations with a large system of attorneys across the U.S. A personal injury attorney can review the facts of your bicycle accident, recommend the best route to take for recovery and help you maximize your compensation.