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Securing Recovery: Steps to Take After a Bike Accident

Posted in Car Accidents on April 3, 2021

Bicycling is a great form of exercise and an eco-friendly way to travel. Unfortunately, bicyclists also run the risk of suffering serious injuries because of the negligence of others on the road.

Louisiana is a great state for biking, with New Orleans securing a silver rating for biking from The League of American Bicyclists. Unfortunately, Louisiana is also the second most dangerous state for riding a bicycle, and New Orleans is the sixth most dangerous city out of 50 metro areas.

After a bicycle accident, you need to understand your rights, whether you can recover for your injuries, and steps to take to ensure your case is strong.

Steps to Take After a Bike Accident

There are several steps you can take after a bicycle accident to increase the strength of your case and your ability to recover against a negligent party. The first thing you should do after any accident is attend to your medical needs. Your health and safety are top priority. Additionally, prompt medical attention will ensure that the defendant can’t argue that your delay contributed to your injuries.

Keep the following tips in mind after a bicycle accident:

  • Collect Information: It is important to gather as many details as possible at the scene of the accident. One of the most effective ways of collecting information is by securing a police report. The report will document the individuals involved in the accident, include photos of the accident scene, include witness statements and contact information, and note any citation issues for traffic violations. If you aren’t able to get a police report, do you best to document as much of this information as possible.
  • Avoid Public Statements. It is important to vet any public statement about the accident with your attorney, including posts on social media. What might seem like an innocuous social media post can swiftly be turned against you. Imagine posting a picture of your destroyed bike with the caption “I should have looked both ways!” This could be used by the defendant to argue that you have admitted some fault for the accident. Work with your lawyer to understand social media guardrails as you seek recovery.
  • Act Quickly. You don’t have an unlimited amount of time to file a claim against the defendant. The statute of limitations for bringing a personal injury claim in Louisiana is one year from the date of the accident. If you don’t file in this window of time, you will be blocked from recovering. A year is a very short period of time to recover from your injuries, compile evidence for your case, and file court documents.

One of the most important things you can do after a bike accident is work with an experienced personal injury attorney. In addition to advising on immediate next steps after an accident, your lawyer will help build your case against the responsible party.

Determining Fault

Any party whose negligent or intentional acts caused the bicycle accident is responsible for the resulting injuries. After a bike accident, these parties should be considered for potential responsibility:

  • Negligent Driver: If the bicyclist is struck by a negligent driver, that driver is responsible. Any violation of a traffic law or regulation is strong evidence of negligence on the part of the driver, including speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, failure to yield, or failure to check a blind spot.
  • Employer: If a negligent driver was acting in the scope of their employment at the time of the accident, the employer is responsible for the accident. An employer is likely to have better insurance coverage, which can assist in recovery.
  • Bicycle or Vehicle Manufacturer: If a defect in your bike or a vehicle involved in the accident, the manufacturer is responsible for injuries caused by the defect.

The information collected at the scene of the accident will be helpful as you build your case against the negligent party.

Securing Compensation for Your Injuries

Bicyclists are much less protected from injury if they are in an accident. Not only do they not have the protection of a metal frame like a passenger in a motor vehicle, they are even less likely to be wearing protective equipment than motorcyclists. While it is best practice to wear a helmet, Louisiana law only requires helmets on bicycles for riders under 12. A bicyclist could suffer any of number of injuries in an accident:

  • Head Injuries: Concussions, lacerations, skull fractures, and other head injuries are likely to occur in an accident, especially if the bicyclist is not wearing a helmet.  
  • Brain Damage: In addition to superficial head injuries, a bicyclist is at risk of a traumatic brain injury which can cause irreversible brain damage or even brain death.
  • Spinal Injuries: If the bundle of nerves that allows the brain to communicate with the body is injured, a victim can experience symptoms ranging from numbness to paralysis.
  • Neck and Back Injuries: Neck and back injuries often require long-term physical therapy and result in constant pain.
  • Road Rash: If a bicyclist makes contact with the road, the skin is often scraped along pavement. This results in an injury called road rash which can require skin grafting if the case is serious.
  • Facial and Dental Injuries: A bicyclist’s face and mouth are unprotected, and impact to the face can result in dental and facial injuries including chipped teeth or a broken jaw.

These injuries are some of the more serious resulting from a bike accident, but you deserve to recover for your injuries regardless of the severity. In addition to the medical expenses associated with your injuries, you should also seek recovery for any other damages you have suffered including:  

  • Lost salary or wages
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Inability to participate in meaningful activities
  • Punitive damages for egregious behavior by the defendant

An experienced lawyer can help you assess your damages and prepare a case strategy to secure recovery. Contact the Law Office of John W. Redman, LLC today to schedule a free consultation.