In 2015, 818 bicyclists were killed in crashes. Many more are injured year in and year out, especially in New Jersey. As a New Jersey bicycle injury lawyer, I want you to know what you should do if you have been hit by a car while on your bike.
Before we begin, it is impossible to overstate how important it is to wear a helmet if you are riding a bike. If you are riding a bike and are under the age of 17, the law states that you must wear a helmet.
While those over the age of majority do not have to wear head protection, having a helmet could save your life. Most deaths and serious injuries are due to damage to the head or spine. As much as 98% of bicycle deaths happen when the rider does not wear a helmet.
What to Do after a Bike Wreck
If someone has hit you while you are on your bike, it is important to keep calm. The adrenaline will be flowing, and you may have suffered an injury. You may feel stress and anxiety, but we want you to know what to do in the event of a wreck.
Immediately after the collision, you should establish if you are injured or not. Depending on how the accident occurred, you may be facing some serious injuries. While it is unlikely that the driver of the car is injured, you should check if they have been hurt as well. Should paramedics be needed, call an ambulance. Something that you will want to keep in mind is that certain injuries do not show up for hours, or even days later.
If no one is seriously hurt, call the police. Wait for the police to come. Should either of you leave the scene, you are committing a crime. Law enforcement will record your stories, and do the proper documentation. This documentation could be vital if you want to sue.
After the police have made their report, you will want to exchange contact information with the driver and any witnesses present. Your own notes may prove crucial. It might be worth it to take pictures of your bike, and the scene of the accident while you are still at the place of the wreck.
Who to Call
If you did not need to go to the hospital after the wreck, it may be a good idea to visit a doctor the next day. Certain symptoms are not likely to show up soon after the collision. A doctor will be able to assess whether or not you have been hurt, and how serious the injuries are.
The driver’s insurance company may contact you. Talking with them is generally a bad idea. They are allowed to lie to you, and will try to make you accept a settlement that works for them, and not you.
After you have been in a car accident, it may be prudent to call an attorney. They can help you figure out whether you have grounds to sue, and how much your case might be worth.