Welcome to the Matlin Injury Law blog! We understand that cycling is not just a hobby; it’s a way of life for many in the beautiful town of Parker, CO. As dedicated bicycle accident attorneys, we are committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of cyclists in our community. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just starting, it’s essential to be prepared for the unexpected. In this two-part series, we’ll explore the fundamental aspects of cycling safely and what to do in the unfortunate event of a bicycle accident.

Prioritize Your Safety

Cycling can be a fun and eco-friendly mode of transportation, but it also comes with its share of risks. When you’re out on the road, it’s crucial to prioritize your safety at all times. Here are the first three steps to take in the event of a bicycle accident:

  1. Move to a Safe Location
    The first instinct after a bicycle accident might be to stay where you are and assess the situation. However, it’s essential to prioritize your safety and move to a safe location, especially if you find yourself in the middle of a busy road. If you can, move your bicycle and yourself to the side of the road or onto the sidewalk to avoid further risk of injury from oncoming traffic.
  2. Call for Medical Assistance
    Your health and wellbeing are of utmost importance. Even if you don’t feel seriously injured, it’s crucial to call for medical assistance immediately after a bicycle accident. Some injuries might not be immediately apparent, and seeking medical attention promptly can prevent potential complications. If you or anyone else involved in the accident requires medical attention, dial emergency services right away.
  3. Contact Law Enforcement
    Involving law enforcement after a bicycle accident is crucial, as an official police report can serve as essential documentation for insurance claims and legal proceedings. When the police arrive at the scene, provide them with accurate and comprehensive details about the accident. Avoid speculating or admitting fault; instead, stick to the facts as you remember them.

Cycling safely is a shared responsibility between cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians. In Part 1 of this series, we’ve covered the critical initial steps to take after a bicycle accident: moving to a safe location, calling for medical assistance, and contacting law enforcement. These steps not only ensure your immediate safety but also lay the groundwork for any potential legal actions or insurance claims that may arise.

Document the Accident Scene and Seek Medical Attention

Document the Accident Scene

  • Gather Information from the Motorist
    After ensuring your safety and well-being, it’s essential to collect information from the motorist involved in the accident. Obtain their name, contact details, driver’s license number, vehicle registration information, and insurance details. Additionally, ask for the make, model, and license plate number of the vehicle. This information will be crucial when filing an insurance claim or pursuing legal action.
  • Collect Witness Statements and Contact Information
    If there were any witnesses to the accident, try to obtain their statements and contact information. Eyewitness accounts can provide valuable evidence in case of disputes about the sequence of events leading up to the accident. Politely ask for their names and phone numbers or email addresses, so your attorney can contact them if needed.
  • Take Photos and Videos of the Accident Scene
    In today’s digital age, it’s easier than ever to document the accident scene. Use your smartphone to take clear photos and videos of the accident location, the positions of the vehicles involved, any visible damages, and any relevant road signs or traffic signals. These visual records can provide crucial evidence to support your version of events and help reconstruct the accident accurately.

Report the Accident to Authorities

File a Police Report

As mentioned earlier, involving law enforcement is essential after a bicycle accident. When the police arrive, provide them with a detailed account of what happened. Make sure to request a copy of the police report or obtain the report number for future reference. This report will be valuable when dealing with insurance companies and can assist your attorney in building a strong case.

Notify Your Insurance Company

Promptly notify your insurance company about the accident, even if you believe the motorist was at fault. Cooperate with your insurer while providing the necessary details of the accident. Keep your statements factual and avoid speculating about the extent of your injuries or admitting fault. It’s also advisable to consult with a bicycle accident attorney before engaging in lengthy discussions with insurance adjusters.

By gathering vital information from the motorist and witnesses, as well as preserving visual evidence, you can strengthen your case and protect your rights in the event of a dispute. Additionally, involving law enforcement and notifying your insurance company promptly are essential steps to ensure that you have the necessary documentation for any potential legal actions or insurance claims.

Seek Medical Attention and Preserve Evidence

Get a Thorough Medical Examination

Even if you believe your injuries are minor, it’s crucial to seek medical attention promptly after a bicycle accident. Some injuries, such as internal trauma or concussions, may not manifest immediate symptoms but can lead to serious complications if left untreated. A medical professional will conduct a thorough examination, diagnose any injuries, and provide you with appropriate treatment and care.

Keep Detailed Records of Medical Treatment

Throughout your recovery process, maintain detailed records of all medical treatments, prescriptions, and appointments related to the accident. Keep copies of medical bills, receipts, and any other relevant documents. These records will be valuable evidence to demonstrate the extent of your injuries and the costs incurred, helping your attorney negotiate fair compensation on your behalf.

Preserve Evidence

  • Preserve Damaged Bicycle and Personal Belongings
    If your bicycle or any personal belongings were damaged in the accident, preserve them as they are. Refrain from repairing or disposing of these items until you’ve had a chance to document them thoroughly. These damaged items can serve as physical evidence of the severity of the accident and the impact it had on your property.
  • Preserve Digital Evidence (e.g., GPS data, fitness tracker records)
    If you use a GPS device or a fitness tracker while cycling, preserve any relevant digital data. This information can help reconstruct the accident and provide valuable insights into your cycling behavior leading up to the incident. This data can also establish the speed and location of the accident, which may be critical in determining liability.

Your health is of utmost importance, and by getting a thorough medical examination and maintaining detailed records of your treatment, you ensure that your injuries are properly documented for legal purposes.

Preserving evidence, both physical and digital, is equally crucial. By safeguarding damaged belongings and relevant data, you help your attorney build a strong case to demonstrate the extent of your injuries and the impact of the accident on your life.

Refrain from Giving Detailed Statements and Contact an Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney

Avoid Admitting Fault

After a bicycle accident, emotions may run high, and you might feel tempted to apologize or accept blame for the incident, even if it wasn’t your fault. It’s essential to remain calm and avoid making any statements that could be interpreted as an admission of fault. Be cautious when speaking with the motorist, witnesses, or even representatives from insurance companies. Stick to the facts and limit your discussions about the accident until you’ve had a chance to consult with an attorney.

Consult with an Attorney Before Speaking to Insurance Companies

Insurance companies may reach out to you shortly after the accident to gather information about the incident. While it’s crucial to notify your insurance company of the accident, be cautious about providing detailed statements without first seeking legal advice. Insurance adjusters may try to use your statements against you to minimize your claim’s value. Before engaging in any lengthy discussions with insurance representatives, consult with an experienced bicycle accident attorney who can protect your rights and guide you through the claims process.

Contact an Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney

Understand Your Legal Rights

Dealing with the aftermath of a bicycle accident can be overwhelming, especially when you’re also focused on recovering from your injuries. An experienced bicycle accident attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options. They will assess the circumstances of your case, determine liability, and advise you on the best course of action to pursue fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

Receive Guidance on Building a Strong Case

Navigating the legal complexities of a bicycle accident claim requires expertise and experience. An attorney specialized in bicycle accidents can help you gather evidence, interview witnesses, reconstruct the accident, and build a compelling case on your behalf. They will negotiate with insurance companies and, if necessary, represent you in court to fight for the compensation you deserve.

Avoiding admissions of fault and seeking legal advice before engaging with insurance companies can protect your rights and ensure that you don’t inadvertently jeopardize your claim.

We strongly advise contacting an experienced bicycle accident attorney at Matlin Injury Law as soon as possible after the accident. Understanding your legal rights and receiving professional guidance on building a strong case are essential steps to secure fair compensation for your injuries and losses.

Calculate Your Damages

Medical Expenses

Calculate all medical costs incurred due to the bicycle accident, including emergency room visits, hospital stays, surgeries, doctor’s consultations, prescription medications, rehabilitation therapies, and any necessary medical equipment. Keep detailed records and receipts to ensure you accurately account for these expenses.

Property Damage

If your bicycle or any personal belongings were damaged in the accident, calculate the cost of repair or replacement. Obtain quotes from reputable repair shops or retailers to determine the fair value of your damaged property.

Lost Wages and Future Earnings

If the injuries sustained in the accident have resulted in missed workdays or a diminished ability to earn income in the future, consider these losses as part of your claim. Keep documentation of the time missed from work and consult with your employer to obtain verification of lost wages.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering damages are not easily quantifiable, but they are a significant part of your claim. These damages encompass physical pain, emotional distress, and the impact of the accident on your overall quality of life. An experienced bicycle accident attorney can help assess and estimate a fair amount for pain and suffering based on similar cases and legal precedents.

Negotiate with Insurance Companies

  • Allow Your Attorney to Handle Communications
    Once you’ve calculated your damages, allow your attorney to communicate with the insurance companies on your behalf. Insurance adjusters may attempt to settle your claim quickly for a lower amount. Having legal representation ensures that your rights are protected, and your attorney can skillfully negotiate for a fair settlement that covers all your losses.
  • Avoid Quick Settlements
    Be cautious about accepting the first settlement offer from insurance companies. Quick settlements may not adequately account for all your damages, and once you accept an offer, you may forfeit your right to pursue further compensation. Consult with your attorney before agreeing to any settlement to ensure it aligns with your best interests.

Consider Filing a Lawsuit

Understand Statute of Limitations

In Colorado, there is a statute of limitations that limits the time you have to file a lawsuit after a bicycle accident. It’s crucial to be aware of this deadline, as failing to file within the specified timeframe may prevent you from seeking compensation through the court system. Your attorney will ensure all legal deadlines are met while building your case.

Explore the Possibility of Seeking Compensation in Court

If negotiations with insurance companies fail to yield a fair settlement, filing a lawsuit may be the next appropriate step. Going to court allows you to present your case before a judge and jury, who will determine liability and the appropriate amount of compensation. Your attorney will guide you through the litigation process and fight to protect your rights in court.

Properly assessing your damages, negotiating skillfully, and exploring all available options are essential to securing fair compensation after a bicycle accident.

At Matlin Injury Law, our experienced bicycle accident attorneys are dedicated to supporting you throughout this process. We understand the challenges you face after a bicycle accident and are committed to fighting for your rights and helping you receive the compensation you deserve. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation to discuss your case and take the next steps toward justice and recovery. Your well-being is our priority, and we’re here to help you every step of the way.