California has one of the highest car-related bicycle injuries in the U.S. There are about 235,000 traffic accidents a year in California, and bicycle injuries make up 5.3% of them. 215 bike injuries happened in rural areas. 86,630 happened in urban areas.
Although wearing helmets and other safety gear can minimize the risk of sustaining fatal injuries, victims of bicycle accidents are still vulnerable to the dangers on the road. Common bike accident injuries include broken bones, road rash, head and brain injuries, crush injuries, and internal organ damage.
In many of these cases, the driver failed to yield the right of way, didn’t check for bikes before pulling out, ran a stop sign or red light, or wasn’t paying attention while driving. Texting and driving, drunk driving, and careless driving can all lead to a bicycle collision.
After getting involved in a bicycle collision, anything you say can be held against you. This is why victims must be careful about their actions or how they interact with the involved party after a bicycle accident. Knowing what to do after a bicycle accident can make a difference in how well you protect your rights or those of a companion who may be severely injured.
Here are the things you should do if you are involved in a bike accident
Wait for authorities to arrive.
Both you and the other party are required by law to remain at the scene after the accident. Even if you believe that you aren’t injured, it’s still important to wait for the police to arrive.
If you decide to leave the scene, it will be harder to track down the other party, and you will have a difficult time holding them accountable for the accident if their negligence caused it.
Do not attempt to negotiate with the other party.
Even if the other party apologizes and says that they accept the blame, do not let your guard down. At the moment, you may be unaware of the full extent of your injuries and the damages to your bike; there is a possibility that the other party will change their mind later or deny liability. This is why it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney when negotiating with the other party.
Get the other party’s information.
Don’t forget to exchange contact information with the other party. This includes their name, phone number, license plate number, type of vehicle, and insurance policy number.
If there are any witnesses in the area, try to write down their names and phone numbers. This will help your attorney in making a stronger case against the liable party.
Document what happened
Write down what happened either in a journal or on your phone’s note app. Put the details of everything that happened that day, including the road, traffic, and weather conditions. Try to write down the streets, signs, and traffic lights in the area too.
If you have a phone with a camera, don’t hesitate to use it to document the scene, your injuries, and the vehicles involved.
Give the police your statement of events.
There are times when the police will focus more on the other motorist’s version of events than the bicyclist. Make sure that the police can take your version of events in their report as well. Include your injuries and the damages to your bicycle in your report. Get the accident report number, then write it down.
Seek medical attention immediately
Whether you have minor or major injuries, you need to go to a doctor immediately to get a written evaluation. Medical records don’t lie, and you can use this as leverage against your insurance company or the other party.
It may be tempting to get your bicycle fixed right away, but it’s not a good idea. Keep the damaged bike parts, and don’t repair your bicycle just yet. If you have any damaged clothes and items, keep them as well. Do not tamper with the evidence as much as possible.