Statistics show that most cycling accidents are because of cyclists losing control of their bikes by hitting fixed objects like parked cars, trees and curbs, or on bad paving, litter, debris and sand. This, however, does not mean that crashes between cyclists and cars are usually the cyclist’s fault.
Crashes between cars and cyclists can be serious which is why our New Bedford bicycle attorneys will offer you some advice on what to do if it should ever happen to you.
Make Sure You’re Okay
First, don’t panic. Take a few minutes to relax, think and gather yourself. If you think you might be seriously hurt, lie still until a doctor or any other qualified medical professional comes to assess your condition. If you are in the middle of the road or somewhere that’s not safe and you are able to move, then you should try to get to a safe place.
If the drivers involved in your accident move their cars, note where they moved them. You will provide this information to the police when they arrive or when you file your accident report. Don’t refuse medical care when it arrives even if you don’t think you are injured.
Identify Anyone Else Involved in the Accident
Our bicycle accident attorneys at Kevin P Landry law offices in New Bedford offer this advice to cyclists while they are still at the scene of the accident:
- Corporate with the police as they conduct their investigations. Don’t take blame for causing the accident or admit that you were responsible for the accident. All you need to do is describe what happened.
- Take note of any injuries suffered by you or anyone else at the scene of the accident
- If there were any witnesses who saw what happened, write down their names and contact details.
- Write down the details of the drivers involved in the accident including their names, driver’s license numbers and details of their car insurance companies.
You should also be prepared to identify yourself to other people involved in the accident. Try to stay calm and collected as you deal with them. Getting angry will not work in your favor.
What if it’s a Hit and Run?
A driver who flees the scene of an accident will be committing a serious offense. Try to get a picture or memorize their license plate number and report the information to the police as soon as possible. Make sure this information is also included in the accident report.
Check if your Bike is damaged
Check to see if there is any damage to the headset bearings that let you turn the handlebars, the handlebars or the fork. Most high quality bikes have lightweight aluminum alloy handlebars, which can snap suddenly if they are bent. This is why we do not encourage cyclists to ride their bikes if they discover they have any sort of damage. It’s much safer to call a taxi cab and keep the receipt. You will present it later when you file your insurance claim so that you’re reimbursed for the taxicab fare.
Seek Medical Care
If you did not receive medical care at the scene of the accident, you should visit the hospital as soon as possible. If you have the insurance company details of the other driver, your doctor can use them to process a medical claim for your visit. If you pay for the medical expenses from your own pocket, make sure you keep the receipts. The driver will be responsible for the first $2000 for your medical expenses under the no-fault provisions of standard Massachusetts automobile policy. Make sure you store the following receipts:
- Transport receipts to and from the hospital
- Medical purchases required to treat your injuries such as bandages, non-prescription and prescription drugs, supports, salves, fee for medical tests, etc.
- Doctor’s fees
If you had to miss time away from work because of your injuries, record the exact hours you missed and how much income you lost as a result. You can recover the money from the driver’s car insurance company.
According to the law in Massachusetts, you should submit an accident report if you were injured in an accident or there was property damage of more than $1, 000 within 5 days of the accident. You can get an accident report in any police station. When you fill out the report, you should make four copies for the following purposes:
- One copy should be for your own records
- The original copy should be sent to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles at the address printed on the accident form
- Send one copy to the police department in New Bedford
- One copy should be sent to the other driver’s insurance company if they request it
Before you send out the police reports, you should consult one of New Bedford’s bicycle attorneys. They can help you describe the accident in a manner that favors you.
Handling the Insurance Company
We always emphasize that you should never give out a recorded statement to the insurance company without consulting an attorney. Insurance companies might request you to sign authorization forms allowing your doctor to release your medical records. Make sure there is a clause that specifies they are only allowed to access medical records relating to your bicycle accident on such-and-such a date. If you don’t ensure that clause is there before signing the form, the insurer will access all your medical records including those that are not related to your bicycle accident.
You can recover property damage to your bicycle if the insurance company determines that their client was responsible for the accident. This is why it is very important that you always follow the law while you are on the road with your bike. However, you can consult an attorney in case the insurance company decides to give you a hard time.
If you have been in a bicycle accident in New Bedford and you want to find out more about pursuing a bicycle accident insurance claim, you can talk to one of our New Bedford bicycle accident attorneys by calling 508-999-0800 or by visiting our New Bedford offices. We offer free initial consultations.