What To I Do If I Get into a Crash on My Bike?
If you were involved in a bicycle accident – a crash on your bike – you have rights. We are here to help you protect them.
First things first, before you go out for a ride you should:
- Get Uninsured Motorist Insurance: Uninsured Motorist Insurance, sometimes called Underinsured Motorist Insurance, sometimes called UM or UIM is indispensable to any bike rider. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance covers you if you are walking, on a bike, or in a car. If someone hits you with a car, and they have no insurance, or too little insurance, to cover your damages, or if they hit and run, or the car is stolen, your UM insurance covers you in a that type of bicycle accident. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist insurance covers your medical bills, lost wages, out of pocked expenses and even pain and suffering. It covers past and future losses.
- Have a car? California law requires you to insure your car. Take a look at your insurance policy. You will see a “declaration” page. The declaration page comes with the stuff you got from your insurance company. You can usually find it online nowadays. You should see a section called “Uninsured and/or Underinsured Motorist”. UM only covers you if the other driver is at-fault, so it is non-chargeable, meaning your rates should not increase for invoking it.
- Don’t have a car? Most insurance companies offer “non-operators’” policies. That means you can have insurance even if you do not have a car. This is not meant as an endorsement, but AAA offers a $500,000 policy. If you get hit by a car, and you are on your bicycle, you will want as much insurance as you can possibly afford. So, if you can afford the $500,000 AAA policy, you should get it to offset the medical bills that often accompany a bicycle accident. Also, if you own a home you probably have homeowner’s insurance. If you have homeowner’s insurance you can get an umbrella policy. You can ask your insurance broker about a “Combined Single Limit” policy, that you can fold in excess coverage to get more insurance. You cannot have too much insurance when it comes to your body.
- Add Emergency Contact Info: If you have a smartphone, ensure your health ID information is setup and current. You can also make a photo for your lock screen that includes emergency contact info while you ride.
- Add Local Emergency Numbers: You can find the direct number for any municipality’s dispatch on the internet. That’s the fastest way to get directly to dispatch saving critical moments in a crash.
- Save this link incase you need it.
If you get into a bicycle accident while riding your bike:
- Get yourself to safety first. There is a good chance you got hit and are lying in the middle of the road. You do not want to be lying in the middle of the road. Try to get yourself to safety first.
- Check yourself for injuries. Take a big, deep breath and try to calm your nerves. You just got into a crash. Your body will be pumping you full of adrenaline and, depending on what happened, cortisol. You need to calm down so you can check yourself for injuries. Seek medical help if you have ANY doubts about the nature or extent of your injuries. Fell and scraped an elbow? Probably not a big deal. Fell and cannot bend your elbow? Probably a bigger deal. Fun fact: John once took Clay to the ER to find out he had a broken elbow after a nasty spill on a coastal ride. Don’t be Clay in that scenario.
- Call 911 if you got hit by a car. The responding officers will fill out an accident report and document the scene. Try to get a copy of the accident report as soon as possible.
- If you got hit by a car, tell the driver to stay, and ask for their insurance information. Take a picture of it with your phone. If the driver will not stay, try to take a picture of the car, and the license plate. If that is not possible, try to get a description of the car, and the license plate.
- If you got hit by a car, get the names, phone numbers, and addresses of any witnesses. Ask them to stay until the police come if at all possible.
- Document the scene:
- Identify the officers who respond. Get their names, badge numbers, and cards if possible.
- Get a copy of the police report.
- Take picture of the scene, yourself, your bike, the car, the driver.
- Don’t tell anyone the accident was your fault. Do not apologize.
- Talk to a bicycle accident lawyer about what to do next.
Many people are tempted to call their insurance company. They figure, “What is the harm, if I am not at fault?” Well, say you got hurt. You tell your insurance carrier you are okay, but you are a little sore. You tell your insurance carrier you got the driver’s insurance information. As the day went on, you got more and more sore as the adrenaline wore off, and now you can’t move your neck. But, it turns out the driver does not really have coverage. He presented a bogus insurance card. Now, you need to collect from your own uninsured motorist policy to get your medical bills taken care of. But, your insurance company starts fighting you because you said you were okay.
Insurance companies make money keeping claims payouts low. Your own insurance company might try to place you at fault for the accident to minimize the damages you suffered.
If you broke a collar bone, or an elbow, or a wrist, or suffered broken ribs, or broke your leg or injured your knee, or if you suffered a concussion, or any other head injury, or any other serious injury, you should consult with an experienced injury attorney familiar with California bicycle laws. You’ll never know your rights and remedies under California bicycle accident laws or the full compensation the law permits for the damages you suffered unless your speak to an experienced bicycle accident attorney.
If you, or a loved one, has been injured while riding a bike, you need experienced lawyers you can trust in your corner. Griessmeyer & McCarthy have helped countless people just like you get the justice they deserve. We will review your case for free, fast, and with no obligation on your part. We take our cases on a contingency fee, which means we are not compensated unless you are compensated. We only take on cases we believe in, for clients we are willing to go to the mat for. If you have been hurt in an accident you only have a small window to file your claims to get the justice you deserve. Get started today at www.californiapersonalinjurylawfirm.com/case-evaluation.
OUR FAST, FREE, CONFIDENTIAL, CASE-EVALUATION FORM IS DESIGNED SO YOU CAN TELL YOUR STORY, DIRECTLY TO JOHNSTART AN EVALUATION
Your responses will go straight to John’s inbox. John will review and respond by the end of the business day. If John thinks he can help, he’ll email you a link to schedule a free consultation with him. If John doesn’t think he can help, he’ll email you resources to help you understand the law, find a qualified lawyer to help you, and take steps to protect your rights. No waiting around.