Bicycling is great exercise in addition to being an enjoyable pastime and an environmentally friendly way to get from point a to point b. Unfortunately, cyclists do take risks every time they take to the streets and being hit by a car is one of those risks. When the unthinkable happens, it can result in significant injury, lost wages, and mounting medical bills. What started out as a pleasant bike ride on a nice day can turn into a financial nightmare in mere seconds. It is important to understand your rights and how to protect them should you ever find yourself in such a situation.
Types of Injuries Common to Those Who Are Hit by a Car While Riding a Bicycle
There are certain injuries that are common among those who have been hit by a car when riding a bicycle, some being much more severe than others. Fractures and broken bones are very common in such accidents. Bruising and abrasions are also common injuries, although not always as severe. In some cases, severe injuries such as internal bleeding, spinal cord injuries, and brain swelling may occur.
Driver’s Fault vs. Bicyclist’s Fault
Determining fault in such a situation is crucial, as the outcome will vary greatly depending on who is at fault for the accident. If the bicyclist is at fault, he or she will be responsible for their own medical bills and will not be entitled to recovery of lost wages. A bicyclist who is at fault for such an accident may even be liable for damages suffered by the person driving the car. If, on the other hand, the driver of the car was at fault, the bicyclist may be entitled to not only payment of necessary medical care resulting from the accident, but may also be entitled to damages resulting from lost wages and pain and suffering. A bicycle is considered a vehicle in nearly every state, meaning that the driver at fault will likely be the driver who did not use a turn signal, was in the wrong lane, or did not obey a traffic law.
Filing a Claim against a Driver after Being Hit by a Car While on a Bicycle
In order to file a claim after being hit by a car while on a bicycle, you will need the driver’s name and contact information as well as his or her insurance information. You should have obtained this information at the time of the accident or, if you were unable to do so, someone should have obtained it for you on your behalf, such as one of the police officers at the scene.
You will need to contact the driver’s insurance company to report the accident and file the claim. It will be important to have evidence proving who was at fault, such as police reports or witness statements. You may want to consider retaining an attorney to help you with this process. An attorney will know what evidence is needed to support your claim and how to gather the necessary documentation. He or she will also know what damages you are entitled to seek including damages for pain and suffering, damages for medical expenses, and damages for lost wages. If you deal with the insurance company directly, they may try to get away with paying only for your medical bills and, possibly, lost wages if pushed. Retaining an attorney will ensure your rights are protected and you are awarded the damages you are entitled to.