A bicycle accident lawyer is necessary for a variety of accidents. Yet vehicle-bicycle accidents are happening more and more, and legal teams that specialize in this type of accident are in higher demand.
As municipalities open up the road to cyclists and drivers simply are not used to sharing the road with the non-motorized bicycle, it’s somewhat unnatural for drivers to make this transition. This can lead to an increase in bicycle accidents and injuries.
Even if you have obeyed the traffic laws, the outcome of a bicycle accident can leave you dead wrong in reality.
“Cyclists need to be smart. Cars and trucks are powerful forces when they hit a small object like a bicycle. Be smart, be careful and avoid contact as if your life depends on it — because it does.”
– Attorney Seth J. Smiley
Cyclists can be injured by moving and non-moving vehicles, and the injuries can often time be severe due to the exposed rider. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for any injury you sustained, so call an experienced bicycle accident lawyer immediately.
The most common types of bicycle accidents are moving and non-moving accidents. Simply put: moving accidents happen when a car is in drive; non-moving accidents happen when the car is parked.
Moving accidents are the more common of the two types of bicycle accidents. They happen when a car is moving. This means the car can be in drive, neutral or reverse.
Even when a car has been shifted into park, accidents can happen. The most common type of non-moving accident happens when a passenger opens the car door and hits a cyclist (or pedestrian) or leaves a car door open and a cyclist can’t stop in time to avoid the obstruction.
Many car insurance policies cover damage to cyclists. The problem is that many cyclists do not realize that they have rights and that their injuries can be compensated just as another vehicle or a pedestrian.
Here in New Orleans, the city is adding more and more bike lanes, and this is a trend that is continuing nationwide. Students at Tulane, UNO, and Loyola are riding to school and workers are commuting to work more often.
Although bicycle with automobile accidents are not as common, the accident is usually caused by someone’s negligence. The negligent party is the one who will be at fault. The at-fault party’s insurance pays. Insurance is very important just as in any accident. Most riders do not know all the laws in play so they are quick to accept a check because the property damage was minor in value.
Don’t be that rider!
A bicycle accident attorney at the Smiley Law Firm can help cyclists get the injury aid and compensation that they deserve when a vehicle causes the cyclist damages.
Just as with vehicle-on-vehicle collisions, many auto insurance policies cover vehicle-on-bike accidents, too. Cyclists should expect to see similar compensation that they would receive if they had been driving a vehicle themselves. The biggest difference is that when it comes to vehicle-on-bicycle accidents, the driver of the vehicle is most often at fault in the eyes of the law.
Some of the compensation cyclists could expect to receive from an accident includes:
– Bicycle repairs
– Repairs to damages of personal property
– Pain and suffering
The most important thing to remember after a bicycle accident is to take note of as much evidence as possible — and to stay as safe as possible.
It’s not easy to remember exactly what you should do after a bicycle accident. After all — you were just hit by a car! Yet it’s important to remain as safe as possible after an accident and to gather as much information as you can for later.
Though it would be reasonable to seem disoriented after an accident, acting confused and uncertain will only make you seem like a less credible victim.
After an accident, your safety comes first. Make sure you immediately move out of the way of other traffic to ensure you aren’t hit again. It’s also important to ensure other bystanders or the driver who hit you are both safe. Look around to ensure no one was hurt or needs medical attention.
It is very important to call the New Orleans police or 9-1-1 for your local police. You’ll need to file a police report for several reasons:
– Reports are used as evidence in legal proceedings
– Filing a report makes you a more credible source
– If you’re involved in a hit-and-run, the police need to find the driver at fault
– The police need to collect evidence for future use
Witnesses can be very important in legal proceedings after an accident. Ask other pedestrians if they witnessed the accident and ask them to write down a statement recounting what they saw. Ask all witnesses to include their phone numbers and name on the statement. Ask them to date and sign the statement and include the time of the accident.
If the only witness is the driver who hit you, make sure to get their statement — before they have a chance to change it. Just as you would in an auto accident, exchange information, including your name, phone number address and insurance information.
Evidence is important in legal proceedings — especially in a hit-and-run bike accident. Try to make note of everything you see that could pertain to your case. What time was the accident? What color was the driver’s car? Try to remember the make and model of the car, too. Where were you before you were hit? Which way did the driver flee (if it was a hit-and-run). The more information you gather, the more reliable you’ll seem in a legal proceeding (and to the police).
You also want to make note of the weather, the level of traffic and congestion and any erratic behavior on the driver’s part.
The most pertinent evidence to record includes:
– Make, model and color of the car
– Your location before the accident
– The exact time of the accident
– Exactly what happened during the accident
– Any events after the accident (no matter how seemingly mundane)
– The names and contact information for all witnesses
– Weather conditions before and after the accident
– Any strange behavior on the driver’s part
The more detailed you are with your account of what happened, the more credible you’ll seem to the police and authorities during legal proceedings. If you have a smartphone, take photos of anything you think might be relevant to your case.
Writing down and documenting these facts shows that you were in a sound emotional state when collecting information. It also makes you look more credible to legal representatives.
Once the police arrive, you’ll need to give them your statement. They will fill out a detailed report with all the pertinent information you’ll need in the future — and they’ll need to keep this report on file. Answer the questions honestly and to the best of your ability.
It’s important to stay calm and give clear, direct answers. If you start answering questions with uncertainty, the police could later testify that you were disoriented or seemed confused.
Your bicycle accident lawyer will then request the police report after the report has been filed. This will help make the accident more credible and may assign fault. If the police officer assigns fault to the driver of the vehicle, then the bicycle rider will then have a much easier chance to get the bike repaired and (more importantly) get compensation for all medical bills.
– If the accident is serious, then call the doctor first and the attorney second. Medical care is paramount to an accident.
– Just as in any accident, parties are encouraged to exchange information, including, drivers licenses, phone numbers, insurance cards, address and if a commercial vehicle, the name of the company that owns the automobile.
– Call 9-1-1 if the injury is severe and seek medical attention.
– Collect as much evidence as you can
– Write down anything and everything you can about the scene of the accident
– File a police report
– Ask for witnesses to give a statement
– Conduct yourself as calmly as possible to remain credible with the authorities
– Call a lawyer that specializes in bicycle accident law as soon as possible
Be aware of the crucial bicycle safety tips, and reach out to Smiley Law Firm to speak with a New Orleans accident attorney about your case if you have been in a bicycle accident — especially if you have been injured or have sustained any damage to your bike or personal property.