As a personal injury attorney in California, I know how devastating a bicycle accident can be. Even a seemingly minor crash can result in serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment and time off work.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a California bike accident, it’s important to consult with an attorney right away. In this article, I’ll walk you through what to do after a bicycle crash and how a personal injury attorney can help you recover.
Steps to Take After a Bicycle Crash
The moments after a bicycle accident can be overwhelming, but it’s important to stay calm and take the following steps:
1. Get out of Harms Way
In the aftermath of a bicycle accident, your first priority should be to take care of your own safety. This means moving yourself and your bike out of harm’s way and away from any potential hazards. If you’re unable to move due to serious injuries, it’s important to wait for medical help to arrive.
2. Seek Medical Help
The first priority after a bicycle crash is to seek medical attention for any injuries sustained in the accident. Even if you feel fine, it’s possible that you have internal injuries or a concussion that may not be immediately apparent. Delaying medical treatment can also hurt your chances of getting compensation for your injuries later on.
3. Call the Police
It’s important to call the police to the scene of the accident so that they can document what happened. The police report can serve as important evidence in your case and help establish fault.
4. Collect Evidence
If you’re able to, collect evidence at the scene of the accident. Take pictures of the damage to your bicycle and any other vehicles involved, as well as the surrounding area. If there were any witnesses, get their contact information.
5. Document the Accident Scene
Make a note of the date and time of the accident, as well as the weather conditions and any other factors that may have contributed to the crash. This information can be helpful when determining liability later on.
6. Exchange Information
Exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved in the accident. Be sure to get the names and contact information of any witnesses as well.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
After seeking medical attention and documenting the accident, your next step should be to contact a California personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
Why You Need an Attorney
Dealing with insurance companies and legal proceedings can be complicated and stressful, especially when you’re also dealing with injuries and medical bills. A personal injury attorney can handle the legal aspects of your case and help you get the best possible outcome.
Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
A personal injury attorney can also help you avoid common mistakes that can hurt your case, such as giving a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster or accepting a settlement offer too quickly. Additionally, an attorney can help you calculate the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You
A personal injury attorney can help you in several ways after a bicycle accident:
Investigate the Accident
An attorney can investigate the accident and gather evidence to support your case. This may include interviewing witnesses, reviewing police reports, and consulting with accident reconstruction experts.
Determining liability is a crucial step in any personal injury case. An attorney can help determine who was at fault for the accident and hold them accountable for their actions.
An attorney can help you calculate the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. They can also help you estimate future costs, such as ongoing medical treatment or lost earning potential.
Negotiate with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are often more concerned with protecting their bottom line than with fairly compensating accident victims. An attorney can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and ensure that you get the best possible settlement.
Represent You in Court
If a settlement can’t be reached, an attorney can represent you in court. They can present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and make a persuasive case to the judge and jury.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What if I was partially at fault for the accident?
If you were partially at fault for the accident, you may still be able to recover damages under California’s comparative negligence laws. Your damages award will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. Learn more about how fault is determined in an accident.
- How long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit in California?
In California, you generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, there are exceptions to this rule, so it’s important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
- Can I recover damages for emotional distress after a bicycle accident?
Yes, you may be able to recover damages for emotional distress if you can show that you suffered severe emotional distress as a result of the accident.
- What if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?
If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you may be able to recover damages under your own uninsured motorist coverage.
- How much does it cost to hire a personal injury attorney?
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means that they only get paid if you recover compensation. Typically, the fee is a percentage of your total recovery.
- What if the insurance company denies my claim?
If the insurance company denies your claim, you still have options. An attorney can help you appeal the decision or file a lawsuit if necessary.
- Can I still recover damages if I wasn’t wearing a helmet?
Yes, you can still recover damages even if you weren’t wearing a helmet. However, the fact that you weren’t wearing a helmet may be used to argue that you were partially at fault for your injuries.
- Can I recover damages if I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle on the sidewalk?
In California, bicyclists are generally not allowed to ride on sidewalks. However, drivers have a duty to watch out for bicyclists and pedestrians. Depending on the circumstances, you may still be able to recover damages.
- How much is my bicycle accident case worth?
The value of your case depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of your injuries, the cost of your medical treatment, and the impact on your ability to work and enjoy life. An attorney can help you calculate the full extent of your damages and determine the value of your case.
- How can I get started with my bicycle accident case?
The first step is to contact a personal injury attorney for a free case review. At GJEL Accident Attorneys, we’re available 24/7 to answer your questions and help you get started.
Injured? Call GJEL
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, don’t wait to seek legal help. Contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at GJEL Accident Attorneys for a free case review.
Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you. Call us at 408-955-9000 for a free case review. We’re available 24/7 to answer your questions and help you get better.
And if you prefer an in-person meeting, we invite you to visit our office at 1625 The Alameda #511, San Jose, CA 95126. We look forward to helping you recover from your bicycle accident and get the justice you deserve.
- “Bicycle Safety.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/bicycle-safety
- “California Department of Motor Vehicles – Bicycles.” California Department of Motor Vehicles. https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/vehicle-registration/other-vehicle-types/bicycles/
- “Personal Injury.” American Bar Association. https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_issues_for_consumers/personalinjury/