At the scene of a bicycle accident, if you were struck by a motor vehicle, you should consider taking the following actions to document your accident and injuries :
- Call the police
- Request medical attention from EMS
- Record the names and addresses of any witnesses
- Take pictures of any vehicles or roadway conditions that you believe were involved in your accident
- Go to the hospital for an evaluation even if you don’t believe you have serious injuries
Even if you are not thinking about a legal claim for your injuries, taking the above steps will protect your health as well as your rights if you later decide to bring a claim for damages.
Protecting Yourself After a Bicycle Accident
After getting hurt in a bicycle accident, you may be unsure of what actions you can take at the accident scene to benefit your interests and future. First and foremost, be careful what you say at the scene of an accident or later. Statements of fault can be used against you in your claim.
Do not give any statements to representatives of the at-fault party or parties until you speak to a lawyer in order to protect your rights. Additionally, after a bicycle accident, the following actions serve both to protect your physical well-being as well as your legal interests:
Contact Law Enforcement to Report the Accident
If your accident involves a collision with a motor vehicle, it is usually a good idea to call the police even if the driver suggests that the police not be involved. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYDMV) requires that following an accident that results in injury, death, or property damage of more than $1,000, the incident must be reported by a vehicle operator to law enforcement. If the involved parties fail to take this measure, they have 10 days from the accident date to report the incident to the NY DMV or their license can be suspended.
Very often, a driver will suggest that the police not be involved. To be safe, always call the police and ask the driver to remain at the scene. A police report of your incident, if involving a motor vehicle, may do the following:
- Connect your injuries to the accident
- Compel law enforcement to write a police report, which could contain useful pieces of information, such as who was involved and who was at fault
- Document the occurrence of the accident itself, which could prevent the other party from denying involvement or liability
If the driver refuses to wait for the police to arrive or if you decide to allow the vehicle to leave the scene, be sure to record contact information from the driver and/or the license plate information for future reference.
Request Medical Attention at the Accident Scene
Following the accident, you may be tempted to refuse medical attention from the paramedics that arrive or fail to ask that paramedics come to the scene of your incident. This may not work in your best interest––especially if you sustained hidden injuries, like spinal cord trauma or a traumatic brain injury.
By accepting medical attention at the accident scene, you begin a paper trail of your injuries. You also can assert from the very beginning that you were injured as a result of the accident, making it more difficult for the other party to contest certain aspects of your claim.
In the days following the accident, you should also follow through with your healthcare team’s recommended course of treatment. For instance, if physical therapy could help you regain a range of motion in an affected body part, you should keep up with those appointments.
If you end up filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit in the future, you do not want to give the other party the chance to say that your injuries were exacerbated by your inability to follow through with medical care. Additionally, you want to do all that you can to treat your injuries and speed up your recovery.
Record the Names And Contact Information of All Witnesses
Depending upon the circumstances of your bicycle accident, independent witnesses who can attest to the fault of a driver or the cause of your accident involving a dangerous roadway defect can make the difference between a strong claim and a weak one. If possible, identify all witnesses to your accident and record their contact information.
Take Photographs at The Scene of Any Vehicles or Roadway Defects Involved
Whether your bicycle accident involved a vehicle or a roadway condition, take photographs at the scene if possible which document the cause of your accident including any vehicle damage, vehicle location, roadway conditions, and other details. Even if you are physically unable to take photographs, ask another person to take photographs for you. These photographs could become quite helpful in proving our claim.
Get Checked Out at the Hospital
Even if you are not sure that you have sustained any serious injuries, it is always a good idea to go to the hospital after a bicycle accident to evaluate the full extent of your injuries. Not all injuries are immediately apparent and failing to obtain immediate medical attention can have catastrophic consequences. Hidden problems such as concussions or internal bleeding must be dealt with early before the conditions worsen and cause serious problems.
Therefore, if EMS workers suggest that you go to the hospital, accept their advice.
The Attorneys at Dansker & Aspromonte Associates Fight for Bicycle Accident Claimants
If you or a loved one was injured in a bicycle accident, our team is determined to secure the best possible recovery in your case. We can help you secure fair and just financial compensation for your pain and suffering, healthcare expenses, and lost income. Call (212) 732-2929 for a free consultation.