Unfortunately, in my experience the “hit and run” bicycle accident is among the most common bicycle accidents that can occur to us cyclists. The roads can be full of negligent drivers on their cell phones texting or chatting away. Or perhaps a negligent driver simply not paying attention to his or her surroundings. Regardless of the source of the driver’s negligence, it is common for negligent drivers to collide with cyclists and then continue driving on without even stopping to check on the well being of the cyclist.
These cases are not a lost cause. Many times the cyclist can recover from the driver or from the cyclist’s own automobile insurance. As is usually the case, insurance companies are not too happy to pay out on these claims and the bias that we cyclists face against drivers, insurance companies, and even police officers can make these claims difficult.
Here are the “Top 4 Things You Should Do in a Hit & Run Accident” to protect your rights and preserve your case:
- You must immediately file a police report! Often we cyclists feel like there is no use in contacting the police since the driver fled the scene. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The police have significant resources and can help track down the driver and can only do so if contacted immediately. HOWEVER, even if the driver of the vehicle cannot be located at all, your insurance claim will almost always require an investigation be initiated and documented in a police report. Most cyclists don’t know that there is still a possibility for recovery from a hit and run accident and often fail to contact the police. It’s one of the most important things you can do in the event of a hit and run. Even if you didn’t initiate a police investigation it is important to consult with a qualified bike accident attorney to protect your rights. On another note – is it never too late to attempt an investigation with the police.
- You must immediately notify your own auto and health insurance companies. Typically the law in most states requires that you report the accident immediately and some states even require you to do so within 24hrs. Opening this claim against your own automobile insurance policy may be the only source of recovery for all of your damages, i.e. medical bills, bicycle replacement cost, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. It is important to preserve your case and protect your rights in every way possible. You should never have to worry about your rates going up if you were not at fault in the hit and run accident.
- Seek medical attention right away. I know that most of us who have been injured in a bicycle accident tend to immediately be more concerned for our bikes or whatever event we have been training for rather than the physical damage that has occurred. Bicycle accident cases often involve painful recoveries and significant injuries. It is extremely important that you take the appropriate time to heal and that you seek adequate and prompt medical assistance. Once you receive medical attention you must comply with the Dr.’s orders. Nothing can kill a case more than a cyclist who in spite of his or her injuries and the Dr.’s orders to refrain from cycling, rushes back out prematurely on their bicycle. If after a bicycle accident you return to quickly to your beloved bicycle then you seriously risk reducing the value of your case, and you risk additional potential injuries from cycling itself because you are not healed yet. Every insurance adjuster on the planet will be happy to hear that “your injuries must not be that bad since you are riding again” – when the truth is that you are in terrible pain but are so mentally tough that you push through it. Show your determination and mental toughness by complying with your Dr.’s orders.
- Identify any witnesses. While the driver may have fled the scene there may be witnesses that pulled over to help out. Make sure you get their contact information and statements of what they witnessed. The police investigation will go much more in your favor if you can provide them with witnesses they can interview.
There are personal injury lawyers literally in every corner you look, but there are not very many of us who have dedicated our entire practice to bicycle accidents. At Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC, bicycle accidents are all we do. Bicycle accident cases have historically settled for far less than what they deserve because the attorneys handling these cases know nothing of bicycling. They treat these delicate cases like any other accident case when in reality bicycle accident cases are very sensitive and challenging. There are special rules and laws pertaining just to cycling. There is a very real bias from virtually every driver out there against cyclists – it seems as though if you are a cyclist on the same road as a vehicle the chances are pretty high that the driver of that vehicle will be frustrated, annoyed, irritated, or even scared to see you. This bias bleeds into all of the people handling your case against you: the cops, the insurance companies, etc. They are all motor vehicle drivers and probably not cyclists. It is extremely important to stay in the fight as long as necessary to overcome this very real bias in bicycle accident cases. It takes a thorough knowledge of local and national bicycle accident laws, patience, an understanding of the loss suffered by the victim cyclist, and a strong determination to carry on long enough to obtain the fair value of a bike accident case. That is why you hire Ben Dodge at Bike Accident Attorneys who is both currently an avid competitive cyclist and a personal injury attorney dedicated solely to bike accident cases.
If you have been involved in a hit and run bicycle accident call us immediately or submit a free case evaluation now. (855) ONE-EZ-CALL (855-663-3922). We look forward to helping you get through this.