Victims of Bicycle Accidents Must Take a Common-Sense Approach to NC Crash Reporting Laws
With mile after mile of scenic, off-road bicycle routes, North Carolina prides itself on being a bicycle-friendly state. Unfortunately, riders still have to share the roads with motor vehicles to get to many destinations. All too often when collisions occur, injury victims do not know what information will be important to their cases. That is why it is crucial for victims to work with one of our Charlotte bicycle accident lawyers who will ensure they provide the information necessary to pursue the compensation they need and deserve.
The publication, bikeped-laws-guidebook A Guide to North Carolina Bicycle and Pedestrian Laws provides much helpful information to bicyclists, but it may not be too helpful in teaching riders what to do in the event of an accident. Knowing the rules for motorists is a good start, but bicyclists must be aware of a number of special considerations.
Basic Handling of Accidents
Assuming bicyclists are in physical condition to remain on the scene, they should handle accidents in the same basic manner used by other motorists, including the following:
- Call for help. At the very least, police need to come to the scene to issue accident reports, but a call to 911 can bring all needed emergency vehicles.
- Do not admit fault. In the confusion immediately after an accident, virtually no one knows precisely what happened or what caused the collision. This is not a time to state theories. It is, however, a good time to listen to (and remember) statements by others involved in the accident.
- Obtain information. Get contact information from witnesses and everyone involved, including insurance information when applicable.
- Take photos. Pictures of the accident scene, the weather conditions, damaged vehicles and physical injuries can help move claims forward.
Special Considerations for Bike Riders
Like pedestrians, bicyclists on the road are at greater risk of severe injuries than most motorists. They are also subject to certain misconceptions that can cause insurance claims adjustors — or even juries — to assume they are at fault in many situations. The following tips can help protect their health and their legal rights:
- Get medical attention. Riders should never assume they are uninjured, even if they can move freely after a collision. Many serious injuries are delayed onset, which means symptoms do not immediately appear. See a doctor as soon as possible to make sure treatment begins quickly.
- Talk with a bicycle accident attorney. Before filing an insurance claim, discuss the accident with a lawyer who has extensive bicycle accident experience. Many bikers are at a disadvantage because they must get medical treatment and cannot remain at the accident scene. Skilled attorneys have the resources to obtain forensic evidence, locate witnesses and generally level the playing field for injured bicyclists. They can also provide valuable advice on taking notes and dealing effectively with insurance claims adjustors and other parties involved in the claims process.
- Retain evidence. Never toss or repair any item that was damaged in the accident, no matter how small. Keep in mind that the damaged bike provides evidence of damages, but more important, it may contain paint or other proof of collision with a specific vehicle. Also, retain every receipt and all medical paperwork — and be sure to let your attorney know if you carried a cell phone or other GPS device at the time of the accident. The data can provide important information about a trip before and during the collision.
Bicycle riding on the open road can be an enjoyable and economical way to get around, but no one should venture out without taking special precautions — and being prepared to handle bicycle accidents. Call us at 800-948-0577 or use our convenient online contact form before filing a claim to learn what to do to protect your rights.