Imagine taking a stroll down a peaceful sidewalk or biking along the road with the breeze going through your hair. This is a good day and everything looks peaceful and serene for the moment. However, somewhere on the road is a reckless driver slowly careening towards the bicycle and pedestrian path. This is all it takes to get into a bicycle and/or pedestrian accident.
Being extremely cautious when out on the road does not mean that a driver is doing the same. An inattentive driver may forget to yield to a pedestrian, or an aggressive driver might accidentally clip a bicyclist. Other times, these accidents cause life-threatening injuries or even death. Negligent drivers should have been paying attention on the road but instead they caused chaos. If you or a loved one happen to be unwillingly involved in a bicycle or pedestrian accident, take these precautionary steps to make sure you are protected.
1. If able, file a police report.
If the injuries caused were not on a life-threatening scale and you are not in grave pain, then call the local police to file a police report. A police report means the facts were documented such as date, time, and location. They will also record who was involved in the accident and how the injuries obtained may have occurred. Also, save any statements you have about the accident for the officer.
Often, bicycle and pedestrian injuries are caused by distracted drivers, intoxicated drivers, or drivers not stopping completely at a stop sign or light. It will be beneficial to you to have a police officer observe these facts and record them. A police report may come in handy if you are looking to file a case with an attorney for any injuries you may have received from a negligent driver.
2. Get insurance information from the person who caused you harm.
An important step when getting involved in an accident is making sure you get the other person’s contact information and insurance. However, if you file a police report the driver’s information may already be recorded. It doesn’t hurt though to double check and make sure you have all the proper information you need.
3. If applicable, get witness information.
If anyone saw you get hurt, ask them to stick around and give their testimonies to the police. Then gather their contact information. Having witnesses’ statements on an official police report will be useful as you can later use it as evidence. If you’re not able to get witness information yourself because of your injuries, allow any bystanders willing to help to take down the witness(es) information for you.
4. Go to the hospital and get checked out
(Don’t forget to get copies of your medical reports and expenses).
Of course if the injuries are severe, ask for an ambulance or call 911. Either way, going to the hospital right after an accident will be beneficial to you. Since adrenaline will be pumping after a big frightful event, you may not feel the pain of your injuries right away. Resist the urge to decline medical assistance and do not head home right away. Some injuries may not show up instantly and you might start feeling soreness days later.
When released from the hospital, take notes of everything you remember from the accident. The more detailed and the sooner, the better. Many times a victim will forget details from the accident days after it occurred. Writing down what happened can help you keep track of what happened.
5. Photograph the scene of the accident.
Luckily, most of us have smartphones handy and can take pictures of an accident right away. Taking pictures of the scene, any dents on the vehicle, scrapes or bruises, and marks on the road benefits you in the long run. If your clothing got damaged during the collision or you received visible bruises, photographing those can become key evidence later on.
6. Save your receipts.
After the accident, victims end up having to buy a new bicycle, helmet, gear, and other things to replace what had been damaged. Many times, pedestrians or bicyclists will pay for the accident expenses themselves. Since these expenses shouldn’t have to be your responsibility, save your receipts. You can get reimbursed for your expenses if you seek legal counsel and set up a case.
7. Contact a personal injury attorney.
One of the many side effects of being injured includes missing time from work along with racking up medical bills. Seeking legal help allows you to get a leg up during this unfortunate time, but it is also important to start your case as soon as possible. Call a personal injury attorney to speak further about how you can begin to get over your bicycle or pedestrian accident.