How Bicyclists Can Make an Injury Claim Against an At-Fault Driver

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December 04, 2019
Edward Smith

Four Steps to Making an Injury Claim Against the At-Fault Driver 

There is no denying the fact that California’s busy roadways pose a severe threat to cyclists.

Data from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) shows that deaths resulting from collisions between bicycles and motor vehicles account for 4% of all automobile accident-related deaths in the state. It is two times higher than the national average, which stands at 2%.

Generally, in a collision between a bicycle and a motor vehicle, it is the cyclist who is at risk of suffering serious and life-threatening injuries. Not to mention the fact that the bike in question will likely get wrecked beyond repair. Simply put, the physical and financial consequences of a bicycle accident can be hard to bear for the victims in most cases.

Victims of bicycle accidents have a legal right to seek compensatory damages from the at-fault party’s insurance company for injuries, disabilities, emotional trauma, and financial losses resulting from the accident.

Given below are four key steps you need to take to build a strong claim against the at-fault driver and increase your chances of recovering the maximum amount of compensation possible.

Step 1: Collecting Evidence

First and foremost, you need to call 911 and inform the dispatcher that you have been hit by a motor vehicle and have suffered injuries. You also need to tell them where the accident took place, and if the car that hit you has fled the scene.

Once you do that, you need to gather the following information from the at-fault driver:

  • Name, phone number, and address
  • Auto insurance policy number
  • Driver’s license
  • The vehicle’s make, model, and year
  • Vehicle identification number
  • License plate number

After you have all the information, wait for the police to arrive at the scene of the accident. In the intervening period, do not say anything to the driver that can affect your chances of recovering damages from their insurance company.

For instance, if you say something such as ‘It was partially my fault, I should have been more careful,’ the defendant’s insurance company can call it an ‘admission against interest’ and use it to reduce your compensation or deny it altogether.

Pay close attention to what the at-fault driver says and write it all down. The more detailed the notes are, the better. Admissions of fault made by the driver, in particular, can help your attorney establish the fact that the accident was caused as a result of the at-fault driver’s negligence.

If there are bystanders who happened to witness the accident, talk to them, and get their contact information. Make sure their statements are added to the police report.

If you have a camera or a cell phone with you, make sure you take pictures of your injuries, your bicycle, the at-fault driver’s car, skid marks on the road, street signs, and any other vehicle or object that was damaged as a result of the accident.

Step 2: Medical Treatment

Tell the paramedics about the injuries you sustained, no matter how minor they might seem at the time. If they tell you that you need medical attention, go to the hospital immediately.

You must not, under any circumstances, refuse to be treated by the paramedics at the scene of the accident. If you delay or avoid treatment altogether, and if you start showing symptoms of a serious injury a few days after the accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company can easily deny your claim by saying that the injuries were not caused by the accident since you did not seek medical attention at the time.

Step 3: Paperwork

You need the following documents to establish the validity of your personal injury claim:

  • Medical bills
  • The physician’s report
  • Receipts for all the out-of-pocket expenses, if any, associated with your treatment
  • Police report reference number
  • Pictures that were taken at the accident scene
  • Pictures of your injuries

Step 4: Speak to a Seasoned Bicycle Accident Attorney

Do not, for any reason, try to negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company by yourself. Chances are, you will get outwitted by the lawyer and the insurance adjuster on the other side and end up accepting a low settlement offer. So, get in touch with a skilled Sacramento bicycle accident attorney to discuss the legal options available for you.

Watch YouTube Video: Bicycle Safety. In the video below, UCLA Health provides some basic bicycle safety tips to help you stay safe on the road.

Sacramento Bicycle Accident Lawyer 

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento bicycle accident lawyer. If you are someone you love was injured in a bicycle accident caused by a negligent car driver, you may be eligible for compensation under California personal injury law. You’ll need an experienced bicycle attorney who will work hard to protect your rights and help you obtain your rightful damages. Call me for free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

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