Getting in any kind of car accident can cause serious injuries, but bicycle and auto accidents can be especially damaging. Because the rider is so exposed and so much smaller than the other vehicle, even a collision at low speed can cause lasting and severe injuries. If you're a cyclist who has been in a car accident, here is a list of the first things you should do after the accident is over, even if you feel fine immediately after.
1. Call your doctor and get checked.
Even a simple fender bender can cause serious injuries to a cyclist. Right after the accident, though, you might not feel injured. You might have been scraped or bumped as you fell from your bike to the ground, but with no visible injuries or broken bones, you walk away thinking you got lucky.
However, accidents cause a spike in adrenaline, which can mask the pain of injuries, especially joint or nerve injuries to your back and neck. It might be a few days, but you will feel the pain of a back injury that you didn't know was there. Always get checked right after a biking accident to make sure that nothing is seriously wrong that needs immediate attention.
2. Get the driver information.
Because some cyclists assume they aren't injured and because a car may show little or no damage from hitting a small bicycle, the two people simply decide to go separate ways instead of filing any sort of incident report. However, you need to file a report and get the driver's insurance information because if you are injured, you will have almost no way of tracking down the driver later if you didn't exchange information.
3. Talk to a car accident lawyer about fault and liability.
Once you discover you have been injured, you need to see a car accident attorney. Cycling laws vary by states, but most cases involving injured cyclists find the larger vehicle at fault. Not sharing the road, texting while driving, or forgetting to head check when turning right (bikes use the shoulder on the right side of the road) are all mistakes that lead to bike accidents.
However, not all accidents involving bikes are the fault of the driver of the car involved. Bike riders who run stop signs, don't use hand signals, or who do not follow the rules of the road (protected left turns, stopping for school buses, etc.) can have partial fault. Riding while impaired with alcohol can also cause accidents.
Of course, there are also cases when the driver and the bike rider are both innocent of fault in the accident. Accidents can sometimes be caused by third parties. For example, if the brakes on a car experience failure. causing the driver to run into a cyclist, the manufacturer of the brakes may be responsible for selling a faulty product.
Third party fault requires the help of a lawyer, because these cases can often be hard to prove or ascertain.
4. Make a record of your recovery.
Finally, you need to make sure your recovery is nicely recorded for the benefit of the people who are paying for damages. You want to make sure you have list of medical costs, the pain you experience on a day to day basis, and how much time from your job you've lost and the subsequent income as a result of that time off. Making a list of these costs and changes in your lifestyle makes it easier for you to put a number for settlement requests.
For more information, contact a car accident attorney in your area.