Like many people today, you use your bicycle for more than recreation. It happens to be your primary means of getting to and from work. That is all well and good until a motorist runs a stop sign and plows into your bike one morning. At that point, you do need the advice a car accident lawyer. Read this article to learn more about what to do in this situation.
More Common Than You Think
Traffic accidents involving bicycles and automobiles is more common than you may think. A 2003 study conducted in the city of Toronto determined that accidents of this type were anything but unusual. For the period between 1 January 1997 and 31 December 1998, a total of 2,572 accidents involving car and bike collisions took place. While some of those events caused more frustration than injury for either party, other accidents did leave bike riders in need of medical attention.
Seeking Legal Advice
There are traffic and personal injury lawyers who focus on these types of accidents. Even if the injury and the damage to the bike is minor, it still pays to seek legal counsel after the event. As part of supporting the client, the lawyer will provide the following services:
- Going over every detail of the accident. That involves more than reading the accident report. It also means talking with witnesses and checking out the site of the accident.
- Dealing with the insurance company. Rest assured that the insurance company has plenty of legal eagles who will try their best to take anything you say as a way to shift partial blame for the event onto your shoulders. Provide them with nothing other than the name and contact information for your lawyer.
- Seeking a reasonable settlement. Imagine your doctor determines you will need physical therapy to get over the injuries, and the bicycle is also a total loss and must be replaced. Do you want to handle those expenses out of pocket? Of course not! The right legal counsel will seek to negotiate a fair settlement that covers all those expenses, and any other bills that come due while you recover.
- Representing Your Interests in Court. If the opposing party insists on taking the matter to court, your lawyer will be right there to protect your rights.
Never make the mistake of thinking you do not need legal counsel, even if you are clearly the injured party. Your lawyer will know laws about the use of bikes on public roads like the back of his or her hand. That means a much better chance of convincing a judge that you are the innocent party and deserve compensation.
What You Should Do After the Accident
Along with hiring a lawyer, there are a few things you should do immediately after notifying the authorities and filing an accident report. Get yourself to a doctor and have a complete examination. It does not matter if you feel fine. Complications can arise days after the event. That examination will identify if what you think is a little stiffness is just that or if it is the start of something more serious.
Another thing to remember is that you do not need to discuss the accident with everyone you meet. Your lawyer will counsel you to say very little, especially in public places where something can be overheard and taken in a way you did not mean.
The best bet is to discuss the accident with no one but your legal counsel. When there is the need to say something to an employer or a family member, keep it short and sweet. The less you say, the better it will be for you at the negotiating table.
Remember to get a full estimate for repair from a reliable bike shop. If the bike is a total loss, have quotes for replacements on hand. Your lawyer will want them handy when the time comes to sit down at the negotiating table.
Injuries due to a collision between a bicyclist and the driver of a motor vehicle can be serious. Do not assume anything about your well being or the condition of the bike. Hire an attorney from a firm like John Tamming Law Office and follow the counsel to the letter. In the long run, you'll have a better chance for a favorable outcome.