Both bike commuting and recreational cycling continue to grow in popularity in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The Beltline and other trail systems, like the Decatur Stone Mountain Trail, have made it easier and safer for cyclists to go from A to B, or to get out for exercise and enjoyment.
Most cyclists still have to venture out onto roadways with traffic though, and that means a greater chance of being in a bike crash. While no one wants to find themselves in this situation, any Atlanta bicycle accident attorney will tell you that there are certain steps you should take if you do.
This article covers what to do if you are in an Atlanta or Decatur bicycle accident. Following these measures could mean the difference between getting compensation for your bike accident injuries and being left without recourse. Keep reading to find out more.
The first step you should take after being in a bike crash is to contact first responders. Calling 9-1-1 is still the most efficient way to get both emergency medical personnel and law enforcement to the scene.
Even if someone else claims they have called, it is not a bad idea to do so yourself as well. It is a way to ensure that help is on the way.
When you call, do not offer speculative details about what might have happened, like “I may not have seen them.” Only give the basic facts, such as “I was hit by a vehicle on [this] street,” as well as any injuries you (or anyone else) have suffered.
While you are waiting, do not speak to anyone about the crash. Unless someone else is injured and needs your help, remain silent and wait for authorities to arrive.
Take Care of Injuries
If you have been hit by a car, the most important thing you can do is to take care of yourself. Addressing any (glaring or suspected) injuries should take precedence over everything else.
Speak to emergency responders and be forthcoming about any pain or disorientation you may be experiencing. A bike crash is a traumatic experience, and adrenaline is flowing. Many people do not realize the extent of their injuries until later.
For this reason, it is better to allow medical professionals to perform an examination than to make guesses on your own. Also, this can act as proof that you experienced some harm, regardless of the extent.
Speak to Police
Some states have “no-fault” traffic laws. This means that crashes can happen without someone being responsible.
Georgia is not one of these. This is important because it means that, when any type of traffic accident occurs, the attending officer must assign blame to one or both of the drivers/riders.
That is why it is vital that you explain your version of the story to the police. Tell the truth and be sure to include every detail. This includes pointing out any witnesses that may still be present at the scene and injuries you have experienced, no matter how minor they may seem.
Also, be calm and collected. Do not engage with the other driver. Certainly do not yell or argue with them.
Give the officer all the information you can and let them make a determination. Regardless of how guilt is assigned, it means your statement is officially recorded and submitted.
Collect Personal Information
While this should be in the police report, if possible, get information about the driver. This includes their name, address, phone number, license plate, driver’s license number, and insurance information.
Also, get personal and contact information for any witnesses at the scene. If you are injured or immobilized, ask a bystander to do this for you. Again, while the police report may contain this info, there is always the chance that it gets missed.
Document the Incident and Your Injuries
To have as clear a picture as possible down the road, jot down all the details you can about the accident as soon after as possible. This may seem unnecessary, but it will both clarify the circumstances and help you recall them at a later date.
This includes all injuries you have suffered. Even if they seem minor and you did not need serious medical attention, it chronicles your state on the day of the crash. If more significant ailments arise later, this information could be helpful for both treatment and litigation purposes.
Do Not Repair Your Bike
If your bike was harmed in the crash, take pictures of it. Try to include every detail that demonstrates the extent of the damage.
Although it may be tempting, do not make any repairs to your bike until any claims have been settled. The same goes for your helmet and clothing. If there is any dirt or blood on your clothes, put them in a bag and preserve them as is.
Do Not Contact Your Insurance Company
You may be surprised to learn that you should not immediately contact your insurance company after a crash. That is because anything you say to them could be used against your case in a court of law. Wait until after you have contacted a lawyer to speak with them (they may decide to do so on your behalf).
Contact an Attorney
Reach out to a qualified Atlanta or Decatur bicycle accident lawyer as soon as you can following the crash. They will be able to determine how to proceed.
They might assign an investigator to your case. This person can follow up with witnesses or further examine the crash site.
Note that Georgia is a comparative negligence state. That means that one party can be partially at fault in a vehicle crash but still recover damages. The court must conclude that the other party was more than 50 percent to blame for this to happen though.
If you are uncertain about this, speak to an Atlanta bicycle accident attorney. They will be able to assess the strength of your case and suggest measures to take to recover damages.
Find the Best Atlanta Bicycle Accident Attorney
Now that you know the steps to take if you are a biker hit by a car, you can have the peace of mind that you have done everything possible to support your claim. Finding a reputable Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer to handle the case is all there is left to do–they can handle everything else going forward.
If you are looking for an Atlanta bicycle accident attorney, consider Scholle Law. We have the knowledge and experience to navigate the complex world of personal injury and Atlanta bike laws, and will help you get the best possible outcome for your case. If you were in a bike accident and were not at fault, reach out to us today for a free consultation.