LOS ANGELES BICYCLE ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS
When a bike accident happens, do you know what to do? Should you call the police, visit the ER, move the victim, call your car insurance company?
Many people have never given much thought to what they would do in a bike accident, but knowing a few facts can not only help you get the justice you deserve for your injuries, but it could help you save a life.
It’s also important to know the common causes of bicycle accidents so you can potentially avoid them in the first place.
How Bike Accidents Happen
Most bike accidents occur between a bicyclist and an automobile. The seriousness of these types of bike accident injuries can vary. In high-speed accidents, injuries can be as severe as those found in motorcycle accidents. However, many bike accidents occur at lower-speeds, in congested traffic or residential areas.
Some bike accidents occur as a result of poor road conditions, such as large potholes, poorly marked lanes, or loose gravel. In these cases, a personal injury claim may be filed against persons responsible for maintaining a safe roadway.
Many bike accidents are hit-and-run. When this occurs, many bicyclists assume that are stuck, especially if they are without health insurance coverage. However, most automobile insurance policies will cover hit-and-run accidents under the uninsured motorists clause.
What to Do When a Bike Accident Occurs
When a bike accident occurs, the first priority is to get the injured rider out of the lanes of traffic. Like with any accident, it is important to remove any serious potential threats that could cause further harm to the victims.
Because bike accidents have the potential for spinal cord injuries, it is important not to move the accident victim until EMS personnel arrive on the scene. Exceptions can be made if oncoming traffic threatens the safety of the injured person, or if they require CPR.
Call 911 and report the accident. If necessary, the dispatcher can talk you through the necessary steps to provide first aid to the victim, such as putting pressure on bleeding wounds, beginning CPR, or assisting emergency personnel to find the accident site.
What Injuries Might Occur During a Bike Accident?
Some common injuries that occur during a bike accident are:
- Head trauma
- Fractures (arms and legs)
- Internal bleeding (kidneys, spleen, pancreas)
- Skin abrasions and burns (road rash)
- Neck injuries (whiplash)
- Back injuries
What You Should Document
If you or a loved one has been involved in a bike accident, you may want to document the details of the accident as soon as possible. Small details tend to become warped or lost later. Record your thoughts in writing, take snapshots with a disposable camera or your cell phone, and be sure to jot down the names of everyone present at the scene of the accident.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bicycle Accidents
Do you have questions about bicycle accidents? Well, we’ve got a list of the most common questions and answers about all things related to bike accidents.
FAQs About Bicycle Accidents
Q: Who can be held responsible when a bicycle accident occurs?
A: The answer depends on your circumstances, but can include:
- Negligent drivers
- Negligent bicycle manufacturers
- The city, county or state responsible for maintaining safe roads
- Negligent bicycle repair shops
- Negligent personal property owners
Q: Are there any laws that pertain to bicyclists?
A: Yes. Bicyclists are required by law to obey all applicable traffic laws including prohibiting drugs or alcohol while biking, traveling with traffic, obeying traffic signals, and using hand signals.
Q: Who has the right of way, a bicyclist or a pedestrian?
A: The pedestrian always has the right of way no matter if you are driving a car or riding a bicycle.
Q: Can a motorist be held responsible for my injuries even if they were sustained in my successful efforts to avoid a collision with the vehicle?
A: Yes. The motorist may still be at fault even if contact with the vehicle never occurred. Injuries caused by evasive action are considered eligible for a personal injury case.
Q: If I am involved in a bicycle accident, but think I am uninjured, should I seek medical evaluation anyways?
A: Yes. Due to chemicals released in your bloodstream to help you avoid danger during an accident, you may not be aware of your injuries until after your body returns to a normal state. Always seek a medical evaluation, even if you think it is unnecessary.
Q: Should I mention to the Emergency Room doctor that I’ve had a knee replacement or other injuries prior to my accident?
A: Yes. Always provide a full and thorough medical history when you are treated for bicycle injuries. If you file a personal injury case, the insurance company is likely to use previous injuries as an excuse for lack of liability. Mentioning these previous injuries during the initial evaluation helps your case.
Bicycle accidents often involve very extensive injuries. It is vitally important that you seek proper medical care for your injuries and that your treatment, prognosis, and functional abilities are well documented to help support your case.
Work with your doctor to ensure that your personal injury case isn’t dismissed due to a lack of evidence.