Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents

Physics tells us that, in an accident between a car and a bicycle, the car will win. The rules of the road apply equally but the Laws of Physics favor the passenger in the car. While the driver of the car may have no injuries, the bicyclist can sustain life-threatening injuries that he may never fully recover from. For this reason, having experienced legal representation can be critical to understanding just how much you need in a settlement to adequately manage medical needs in the years to come.

As a Pedestrian

When you are a pedestrian, you have no physical protection. Your injuries are likely quite substantial and include broken bones, spinal cord injuries, concussion/brain trauma, and soft tissue injuries. If you are not at fault, you are entitled to compensation. Typically, the avenues for recovery are broader than an auto accident case. While there are multiple options for recovery, these cases can be somewhat complex. In terms of liability, the insurance companies will try to shift blame to the pedestrian. Despite the driver being distracted with a phone or radio, the insurance company wants to shift at least some of the burden to the pedestrian. Second, since there are often multiple insurance options for coverage, it can be complex to manage all of the insurance companies and various policies.

One of the most critical times in a pedestrian or bicycle accident is the moment immediately following the collision. To ensure a fair settlement, you need to clearly establish liability. For this reason, always call the police!

Police

When the police arrive at the accident scene, they will conduct an investigation, make observations, and generate an accident report. Depending on the injuries sustained, the officer will ask the parties to make statements about the accident. This can be a bit tricky. If you are in shock or sustained a concussion, you might not be in the best situation to make accurate statements. Even stating, “I’m sorry” conveyed in compassion that you and the other party are in a terrible situation, can later be used to assert that you meant the statement as an apology for fault. It is always best to avoid any discussion of fault or making any statements that could be used to insinuate acceptance of fault.

Document

If you are coherent and able to speak with witnesses, you can ask them to take video and pictures of the scene. They should also try to gather as many names and phone numbers of people who witnessed the accident. If you were unable to get photos of the scene, it might still be possible for you or your attorney to get video from nearby homes or businesses. While an investigating officer should be collecting witness names and numbers as well as pictures, sometimes the scene is chaotic (such as rush hour) and details might be missed or witnesses drive away. It is always best to have more evidence to establish who is the at-fault party. In the absence of clear evidence, insurance companies often try to shift the blame to you.

In the days and weeks following your accident, there will be some important steps to take. Here is a non-exhaustive list for you to consider:

  • Seek medical attention and follow all advice of medical professionals.
  • With soft-tissue injuries, you are likely going to feel more pain or discomfort in the days following your accident. Keep your doctor updated on your condition.
  • Keep your clothing, bike, cracked helmet, and any other evidence in a safe place. The investigating officer will likely want to examine it and take photos.
  • If you are missing work, keep documentation to establish your loss of income. Get a note from your doctor if you are restricted from work or can only work in a limited capacity.
  • If you are experiencing trauma from the accident and seek a mental health counselor, keep track of bills so that your attorney can help you avoid these bills going to collections.
  • Do not sign documents that you have not reviewed and consulted with legal counsel. Anything you sign can be binding on your case. Often, very kind and compassionate adjusters will call in the days following an accident to have you sign paperwork. Be wary!
  • Finally, unless you enjoy a prolonged insurance headache along with your injuries, you should consider contacting our office immediately following your accident.

Every accident is unique and only a licensed attorney can give you proper legal advice on your case. The consultation is free and you don’t need to travel to our office. Simply call and have your questions answered. You should be focused on healing and we can get to work on everything else. We are available day or night for free consultation. Don’t hesitate to call!