What To Do If You Are Hit While Riding Your Bike
If a car, truck or motorcycle recently hit and injured you or a family member while biking in Austin, you should take immediate steps to protect your legal rights, including the right to seek just compensation.
At Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, we realize that many bicycle accident victims and their families have little idea of what those steps are. A crash may mark the first time they were needed to file an insurance claim or pursue a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
If you face this situation, we suggest that you follow the eight steps we outline below. Of course, we believe that the final step — getting help from a lawyer — is one of the most important.
Our firm has more than 50 years of experience helping accident victims and their families in Austin and throughout surrounding areas in Texas. We know the crucial role that an attorney can play in the aftermath of a crash.
Contact us today to discuss your case and the many ways in which we can assist you and your loved ones.
1. Get medical attention.
In most vehicle and bicycle collisions, the cyclist suffers severe injuries. Traumatic brain injuries, back and spine injuries, and multiple fractures are common. Sadly, these accidents often prove to be fatal.
If emergency responders did not take you or your loved one to the hospital, you should still seek medical attention as soon as possible. You will not know the full extent of your injuries or receive necessary medical treatment until you are examined and diagnosed.
A timely diagnosis also protects your legal rights. It can prevent an insurance company from arguing that your injuries are unconnected to the bicycle crash.
2. Gather and store all your information and potential evidence.
If you are hit by a car while biking and you are physically and mentally able to do so, you should collect as much evidence as possible at the accident scene.
For instance, you can take photos, get the contact and insurance information of the driver who hit you and obtain contact information of eyewitnesses. You should gather and preserve all of this information.
You should also keep your clothes and bicycle in the same condition they were in right after the collision. Do not wash the clothes or repair the bike.
Additionally, keep copies of your medical bills, receipts from other accident-related expenses and letters from the insurance companies.
3. Get a copy of the accident report.
If you were involved in a serious collision with a motor vehicle, the police likely responded to it. An officer, in turn, prepared a report about the crash. This report will be useful in the investigation of your case.
The report can provide basic information, including the date and location of the accident, road and weather conditions, and the names of the parties involved and any eyewitnesses.
You can request a copy by calling the law enforcement agency that responded to the crash, such as the City of Austin Police Department or Travis County Sheriff’s Office. You can also go online and order a copy at the Texas Department of Transportation website. You should expect a nominal fee to pay.
4. Write down what you recall about the accident.
As soon as you get the chance, you should write a summary of everything you can recall about your bike accident. You may remember details that you could easily forget later. A written summary will help refresh your memory at crucial points in your case.
We suggest that you address basic questions: who, what, where, when, why and how. If you can answer those questions, it should provide a complete picture of the accident.
You should also keep a journal that tracks your recovery. You can make notes about how your injuries have impacted your physical and mental health, ability to work and enjoyment of life.
5. Report the accident to your insurance company.
If a motor vehicle driver caused your accident, you will typically file an insurance claim with and pursue compensation from that driver’s auto insurance company.
However, you may need to file a claim through your own uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance coverage if the driver:
- Flees the scene (a hit-and-run crash)
- Lacks liability insurance (although it is required under Texas law)
- Has insurance coverage that fails to fully cover your damages
If your insurance policy requires you to report any accident you are involved in — regardless of who is at fault — you should comply with that policy and report your bike accident as soon as possible.
6. Do not talk with the driver’s insurance company.
If the vehicle driver’s insurance company has not contacted you yet, you should expect to get a call soon. Your claim could represent a financial loss to that insurer. The company will move fast to avoid or minimize that loss.
If an insurance adjuster calls, you should refrain from giving a recorded statement or permission to access your medical records. You should also refuse any settlement offer until you speak with a lawyer first.
The insurer will likely try to use your words and medical records against you and try to persuade you to accept a settlement that fails to fully cover all of your damages.
Simply decline to speak with the insurer and refer the company to your lawyer.
7. Stay away from social media.
Just like a recorded statement can be used against you by the insurance company, any statements and photos you post to social media sites can also be used against you.
If you have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or another social media account, you should simply stay away from it while your case is pending.
Additionally, if you receive a request to add a “friend” to your list, and you do not recognize the name, you should turn down the request. Unfortunately, some insurance companies use that tactic to gain access to otherwise private information.
8. Get help from an experienced bike accident lawyer in Austin.
The sooner you get help from a lawyer, the better off you will be in the long run. An attorney can help you with the above steps and provide many other services aimed at seeking maximum compensation for you.
The lawyers of Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, can bring extensive experience with bicycle accident claims to your case and a record of success in and outside of the courtroom. You can count on us to ensure that your rights and interests are fully protected.
If you or a loved one was hit by a car while biking in or nearby Austin, contact us today to discuss your case in a consultation.
We will represent you on a contingency fee basis. You will pay no legal fees unless we secure compensation for you.