Your Cycling Rights
Bicycle accidents are extremely dangerous events for the same reasons that motorcycle accidents are dangerous. The fact that the cyclist is not protected from impact from other vehicles or fixed objects drastically increases the chances of catastrophic injuries. If you are involved in a bicycle accident, you need and deserve an attorney with more than a casual understanding of cycling. Many law firms hold themselves out as specializing in bicycle accident cases. However, no firms in the Philadelphia or Pennsylvania area can merge their legal and cycling skills to the high standards needed to effectively represent injured cyclists. Piscitello Law is among the few who can claim speciality in this area of law with true authenticity. Mr. Piscitello is a competitive cyclist with literally tens of thousands of miles in the saddle and nearly 25 years experience as a personal injury attorney.
What to Do After the Crash
If you are on a bicycle and get into an accident with a car or truck, what you do at the accident scene and immediately after is crucial. Here’s what to do:
- If Police arrive at the scene, it’s important to communicate any physical complaints you have at that moment. This is not the time to downplay any injuries since Insurance Companies use this initial statement to argue that you were not injured by the accident.
- Get your version of events into the accident report. Sometimes the police officer will take a statement from the motorist and not bother to talk to the cyclist. Do everything you can to get your side of the story into the police report. If, despite your efforts, the police refuse to include your statement in the accident report, you can sometimes have the report amended.
- Obtain driver and witness contact information. If possible, get the name of the automobile driver, as well as his or her address, phone number, driver’s license number, vehicle license number and insurance information. In addition, try to get the names and contact information for everyone who witnessed the accident. Don’t assume the police report will include all of this information – it might not. Since almost everyone’s cell phone contains a camera, it’s important to take several photos of any damage on the other driver’s vehicle as well as your own person and bike. Take at least one photo of the vehicle’s license plate and if possible, the other driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance.
- Document what happened. If you can, make mental notes about the accident: what happened, how it happened, where it occurred, when it occurred, road, traffic and weather conditions. It would be helpful to write all of this information down as soon as possible.
- Document your injuries. Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries, even if they are minor. The fact that you sought medical attention will serve as proof that you were injured, and medical records will document the extent of those injuries. Have several photos taken of your injuries as soon as possible after the accident.
- Preserve evidence. Leave your bike and other damaged property in the same state as after the accident – don’t attempt to fix anything or have anything inspected. Don’t wash your clothing, and don’t send your bike, helmet or any other equipment to anyone other than your attorney. Take photos of your damaged equipment.
- Seek advice from a professional. Don’t communicate with an insurance company before consulting an attorney. Anything you say to the insurance company could be used against you later. Sometimes a letter from an attorney to the insurance company will resolve issues while avoiding legal pitfalls. If your case warrants it, your attorney can hire a bike accident expert to investigate the accident. That person might obtain skid mark measurements, photograph the scene, speak with additional witnesses or measure and diagram the accident scene.