Being involved in a bicycle accident is one of the most traumatic of all traffic accidents. Auto and motorcycle drivers often fail to truly share the roadways with cyclists, who are much more vulnerable to injury if there is a collision.
The state of California is a fault state when it comes to administering auto insurance claims payouts. This holds true regardless of what types of vehicles are involved in a collision.
Because auto insurers do not want to pay out claims if they can possibly avoid it, it often becomes necessary to involve a bicycle accident lawyer to get these cases successfully resolved.
In this article, learn about the critical steps you must take if you are involved in a bicycle accident.
What to Do First After a Bike Accident
If you are able to do so safely, always follow these steps after being involved in a bicycle accident.
The more information you can get while you are still at the scene, the more easily and quickly your b can take action on your behalf to resolve your claims.
1. Call 911 immediately if you or anyone else needs medical attention.
2. Contact the police and ask for an officer to come to the scene to complete an official accident report.
3. Contact your auto insurance company to report the accident.
4. Exchange information with the other persons involved in the accident (name, phone number, email, address, driver license, insurance information).
5. Document everything as best you are able, including time of day, weather, road conditions, signs, traffic conditions, etc).
6. Take photos and videos if you can of the entire scene and the condition of the other vehicles involved in the accident.
7. Talk with any witnesses and get their contact information if they are willing.
8. Remain at the scene until the police arrive and finish completing the accident report – get the badge number, full name and contact information for the officer so your bicycle personal injury lawyer can follow up to get a copy of the accident report.
What to Do Next After You Leave the Scene of the Accident
After the police have departed and cleared everyone to leave the scene of the accident, you need to keep documenting everything you can remember and preserving as much evidence as possible to support your claims submissions.
Be sure to take these steps in the hours and days following the bicycle accident and provide all of the information to your bicycle personal injury lawyer.
1. Do not wash your clothing, shoes and safety gear – rather, bag it up as evidence.
2. Do not get your bicycle repaired – take photos documenting the damage and leave it as-is as evidence.
3. Begin a journal where you can write down additional medical symptoms and medical treatments that you need.
4. As you receive medical care, write down everything and keep all invoices and receipts.
5. Keep detailed notes of time you have to take off work or away from family care to receive medical care or handle the details of the bicycle accident claims process.
6. Reach out to a bicycle accident lawyer Los Angeles for help to expedite the claims payout process.
7. Keep detailed notes about every phone call, email and letter exchanged with your insurance company and any other applicable auto insurance providers regarding the bicycle accident and your claims.
The more comprehensively you can document everything that you remember about the accident and every communication about getting your claims paid out, the more quickly your bicycle accident lawyer can take action to get you the compensation you deserve.
Understanding How Insurance Claims Payouts Work in Fault States
California is one of only a few states in the country that is a fault state when it comes to handling traffic law auto insurance claims payouts. This can make it more challenging to resolve auto accident insurance claims in California than in most other states in the nation.
In a nutshell, the way it works in California is that each driver (regardless of vehicle type) is assessed as being totally at fault, partially at fault or not at fault for causing the auto accident.
If a driver is declared to be totally at fault, that driver’s auto insurance company must pay out all insurance claims associated with the accident.
If a driver is declared to be partially at fault, each insurer must pay out that driver’s portion of the insurance claims.
When a driver declared to be not at fault, their insurer is also not responsible for making any claims payouts. However, if any of the at fault drivers do not have any or adequate insurance coverage, the insurer may still need to pay out coverage for their insured’s claims.
A bicyclist can also be deemed totally or partially at fault for causing an auto accident in California.
Bicycle accident claims are often even more complicated to resolve than auto or motorcycle accidents in the state of California, especially when it comes to determining fault and dividing up shares of fault for claims settlement purposes.
For this reason, it is particularly important to retain the services of an expert bicycle accident lawyer Los Angeles to make sure your interests are represented fairly and accurately.
Have You Been Hurt in a Bicycle Accident? West Coast Trial Lawyers Can Help!
Here at West Coast Trial Lawyers, we specialize in successfully resolving even the most difficult and complicated traffic law cases and claims.
From ridesharing accidents to pedestrian and passenger injuries, bicycling and motorcycle incidents and complex multi-vehicle claims, we know how to act quickly and precisely to re-evaluate designated fault and get your case moving forward.
If you have been hurt in a bicycle accident, an expert bicycle accident lawyer can make the difference between a lowball payout and fair compensation for what you have endured. Contact us today for a no-obligation, no-fee initial consultation.
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