What to do If Hit by a Car on Your Bike
A motor vehicle accident can easily severely injure or kill a bicyclist. There’s no frame around you or airbags for protection. The number of bicycle accidents in Los Angeles, including hit-and-run collisions, continues to increase. However, bicycle accident lawsuits can be challenging to pursue, especially if the driver left the scene or their insurance company refuses or limits a payout.
The California Insurance Code has made things more difficult. Accident victims can make uninsured motorist claims only if injured as a result of physical contact with an automobile of an insured motorist (some bicyclists are injured trying to avoid a vehicle, and never make contact with it).
To increase your chances of receiving a fair settlement:
Get as Much Information as You Can
If possible, talk to the at-fault driver. Get their name and contact information, driver’s license or permit, and auto insurance company, along with the policy number. Write down the make, model, and year of their vehicle, its license plate number, and Vehicle Identification Number. Also, inspect your bicycle for damage and record any bends, dents, or cracks.
Even if you don’t think you’ve been injured, call 911 and describe what happened to the dispatcher. It’s important they know you were hit by a car while riding a bike, where it happened, and whether the driver fled or not. Then wait for the police to arrive. Talk to them and describe the details as clearly as possible.
Also, get medical attention even if you feel okay. The rush of adrenaline can mask pain and other symptoms. You might not notice signs of serious injuries for days. Document all treatments and the progress of your recovery.
Write down every detail while it’s still fresh. If a driver has admitted guilt, record their exact words for later reference. And don’t say anything to admit guilt on your part or that would impart forgiveness of the driver. Admissions against interest can be used by their insurance company to deny or limit claims.
Look for witnesses and get their accounts. Also, check the road for obstacles, damage, or other hazardous conditions that may have contributed to the accident. And take many pictures using your camera or cell phone, including any skid marks, street signs, and injuries, or ask someone to if you’re badly injured.
Consider All the Facts
From photographs to police and medical reports, leave no facts uncovered. Anticipate any questions a defendant’s insurer or legal team might have. Where were you going and why? How fast was the bicycle going? Where, how, and when did the accident happen, and were you abiding by the rules of the road? Leave all evidence as is, including your bike, until the scene is fully documented.
Call an Attorney
An insurance adjuster may say you don’t need an attorney. That’s only to protect their employer’s profit margin. An attorney can help file your claim and maximize the settlement amount. Whether you’ve been injured in a hit and run accident or by dooring, serious injuries can occur, leaving you out of work and with a mountain of bills.
If staying afloat financially after a bicycle accident is challenging, apply for legal funding in Los Angeles. At FCA Legal Funding, we work with your attorney to determine how much non-recourse legal funding to award you. There are no upfront costs and a cash advance may be available within 24 hours; there’s no payback unless your case wins. Call 800-522-7274 or apply on our website today.