Many Virginians ride bicycles to commute, for recreation, or both. There are many benefits to riding a bike, but it’s important to be aware of the risks too. The Virginia Department of Transportation reports that there were 651 crashes involving motor vehicles and bicycles in 2019. Of those, 614 collisions resulted in injuries and 13 in fatalities.
If you’re injured in a bike crash with a motorist, it’s important to protect your right to pursue compensation for your injuries. Bicycle accidents often result in severe injuries, so the costs can quickly add up. To demand the compensation you need for your medical bills, lost income, and other accident-related expenses, you can file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the driver who hit you.
Here’s what to do to protect your rights after a bicycle accident involving a car:
- Call 911. – Your first priority after any bicycle accident should be getting medical treatment as soon as possible. Calling 911 will bring emergency responders to the accident scene, so they can evaluate you for any serious injuries and make a report. If you aren’t taken to a hospital from the scene, see your doctor as soon as possible.
- Don’t negotiate with the motorist. – The driver who hit you may offer to pay for your medical costs or for the damage to your bicycle. This can be tempting, but don’t accept any offer from the driver. You won’t know the full extent of your injuries and expenses yet, and accepting an offer from the driver could make it more difficult to recover fair compensation later.
- Take pictures of the scene. – If you’re able to do so, use your phone to document the accident. Be sure to take pictures of your injuries, the damage to your bicycle, the damage to the vehicle that hit you, and the surrounding area.
- Get contact information from any witnesses. – Accounts from witnesses can be extremely valuable when making a claim for compensation after a bicycle accident. If you notice anyone nearby who may have seen what happened, ask them for their name, phone number, address, and other contact information.
- Save all your medical records. – Medical records are crucial evidence when you’re pursuing compensation after a bicycle accident. They can demonstrate the extent of your injuries and shed light on how they happened.
- Preserve any evidence of lost income. – You can seek compensation for lost wages and your reduced earning capacity after an accident, but you need proof of those financial losses. So be sure to save any paystubs or other proof of the financial costs of the accident.
- Start a journal. – Bicycle accident victims can pursue compensation for their physical pain and emotional suffering after an accident, but you’ll need to substantiate the harm you suffered. Keeping a journal or diary of your pain and how it affects your daily life can help prove your claim.
- Don’t speak to any insurance companies without a lawyer. – All insurance companies have a financial interest to pay as little as possible when someone files a claim. That means they’ll use any excuse they can to reduce the value of or deny your claim. Be careful about what you say to the insurance adjustor. Your best bet is to hire a lawyer and let them handle all communication with the insurance companies on your behalf.
Contact a Fairfax Bike Accident Lawyer Now
The Fairfax bicycle accident lawyers at Leary Law have nearly 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases, and we want to help you get fair compensation for your injuries. Get a free initial consultation today by contacting our office.