What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
Remain calm and follow these steps so you don’t jeopardize your potential case. It is important that you seek medical attention immediately so that a medical professional can document your injuries caused by the collision, and prepare a professional diagnosis and treatment plan. Here in Central Oregon, there are several urgent care clinics where you can get treated for your injuries promptly.
At the Scene
Call the police and take photos of:
- Your bicycle
- The car that hit you
- Any debris on the road
Have someone else take photos if you cannot. Get the witnesses’ contact information or have someone help gather this information.
How to Deal with Insurance Companies After a Bicycle Accident
Having a personal injury attorney on your side is highly recommended before you talk to an insurance company. Keep in mind that insurance companies are “for profit” entities that can benefit by denying and/or limiting claims. This is not always the case but is a basic concept of business. They may resist payment on claims or offer a lowball settlement amount, neither of which is not in your best interest.
How to Get Your Medical Bills Paid
Your car insurance company will pay your medical bills if you are injured by a motor vehicle while riding your bicycle under its personal injury protection or “PIP” coverage. If you don’t have car insurance, your health insurer may pay your medical bills, but they may refuse to do so. If they will not pay your medical bills, contact a lawyer immediately. You may be able to get your medical bills paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance company under its PIP coverage. Read How Does Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance Work in Oregon? for more information.
Contact a Lawyer
When you’ve been in a bicycle accident, it’s important to contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney like Gary R. Johnson early in the process so he can investigate the accident and protect you from overbearing tactics by the insurance companies. For information on hiring a lawyer read Gary’s blog post Finding a Personal Injury Attorney.
How To Get Money For Your Pain and Suffering
To get money for your pain and suffering, mental and emotional distress, and other noneconomic damages, you need to set up a liability claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Be careful what you say, as they will record what you say and will use it against you. You should really have a lawyer help you do this. They may ask you to provide a recorded statement about the car accident. You are not required to do so and you should talk to an attorney before you do.
Proving Personal Injuries from a Bicycle Accident
If you are involved in a bike accident in Central Oregon, you may suffer serious injuries that have far reaching and devastating damages and consequences for your quality of life, that of your family, and your financial future. It is not uncommon for auto-bicycle collisions to result in the following life altering injuries and medical conditions, including but not limited to:
- Severe, extensive and permanent physical injuries, and even death
- Severe brain damage
- Spinal injuries and resulting paralysis
- Physical limitations requiring ongoing physical therapy
- Internal organ damage
- Broken bones
- Road rash, burns and bruises
- Lost wages from missing work and future lost wages from ongoing limitations
- Extensive pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional stress and PTSD symptoms
- Limitation of your ability to participate in your household, with your family and recreational and sports activities you enjoy
If the accident results in the death of a loved one, you may want to consider a wrongful death claim. Funeral, burial expenses and other damages associated with the wrongful death claim may be recovered as part of the settlement.
From the day of the incident, you should keep a record of how injuries from the bicycle accident have impacted your life. Photographs, notes, journals and statements from family and friends familiar with your limitations are important to help you get the best results from your claim.
Central Oregon is a beautiful place to recreate outdoors, and cycling is a popular activity. You are especially vulnerable when riding a bicycle in traffic. You should always wear a helmet and understand that the rules of the road are different, as are the insurance laws. For more information, see Gary’s blog post Rules of the Road for Bicycles in Oregon.