The actions you take immediately following a bicycle accident are critical to protecting your rights. While individual situations may require an adjustment to this plan, in general, you should follow these steps after being involved in a biking accident:
Report Your Accident to Authorities: You should report every bicycling accident to the police, regardless of how serious you think it may be. Sometimes, damage to your bike or injuries you sustain are not immediately noticeable, and it is critical that you have reported your accident if you discover injury or damage at a later date to protect your rights. Accident reports contain a wealth of valuable information, such as road conditions, observations of contributing factors, diagrams of the scene, information on any tickets administered and contact information for all those involved, including any witnesses.
If you are involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, you may be required by law1 to report the accident. In Florida, the driver of a vehicle must report an accident if:
If your accident qualifies, you must report to the local police department immediately. If your accident did not occur within a municipality, you must report to either the county sheriff of the Florida Highway Patrol.
Take Note of the Scene: The officer that arrives on the scene will make some notes about the scene and the cause of the accident. But don’t simply believe the officer will catch every detail. Be sure to get contact information from every potential eyewitness. Take photos of the scene yourself to ensure it is fully documented.
You should also take pictures of your injuries and any damage done to your bike. It will be tremendously helpful down the road if you have evidence of exactly how everything looked after the accident occurred.
Delay Repairs: While you may be tempted to get your bike repaired and in riding shape as soon as possible, it may be best to delay repairs until you have spoken to a Florida personal injury attorney. Repairing your bike before the other party’s insurance adjuster has had a chance to examine the damage may compromise your right to recovery. Many insurers will not agree to pay for the damage they have not had the opportunity to inspect themselves, so it is critical that you do not do repairs until your claim has been fully processed. Further, an expert examination of your bike may help add evidence of how the accident occurred and support your claim that it was the other party’s fault.
Instead of rushing to get repairs, document the damage in as many ways as possible. Take photographs and videos and have local repair shops provide estimates for repairing the damage (but remember not to repair yet!).
It is also important that you do nothing to further damage your bike. Do not ride it or leave it outdoors until the damage has been fully evaluated. If the condition of your bike worsens after the accident due to your actions, you may compromise your right to recovery.
Keep All Documents: and give them to your attorney. Every document you get from your insurer, the other party’s insurer, the police department, repair shop, doctor or from any other source should be kept and then given to your attorney to help in your claim for damages. Any document could be critically important in ways that might not yet be clear, so it is vital that you keep copies of everything.
Report Your Accident to Your Auto Insurer: Under Florida law, your own vehicle insurer will be responsible for paying some of your medical costs and lost wages if you are unable to work. This is true even though you weren’t in your car! Your insurer can explain the exact benefits to which you are entitled under your policy.
While you should report to your own insurance company as soon as possible, do not try to make a claim on the other party’s insurer without the help of an experienced Clearwater personal injury attorney!
Contact a Clearwater Personal Injury Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation!
If you have been injured in a biking accident, contact a Clearwater personal injury attorney right away. Florida tort law allows victims to recover compensation for injuries and other losses that they may experience as a result of a preventable accident. A lawyer familiar with litigating Florida personal injury cases can often help victims recover substantially more compensation than they would be able to retain on their own, so it is highly advisable for anyone injured in an accident to discuss their options with an experienced lawyer.
To schedule a free consultation with the Dolman Law Group, call our office today at 727-451-6900 or send us an email through our online contact form.