Are you an avid bicycle rider in Baton Rouge? If so, read on to familiarize yourself with what you should do to protect your best interest in the unfortunate event you get into a bicycle accident.
It is good to note that bikes are considered vehicles in Louisiana, so riders are subject to the same rights and duties as drivers of actual vehicles, such as cars and trucks. This means that a bicycle rider is subject to the same claims if they are deemed responsible for the accident. Regarding liability, it is important to understand that Louisiana is a pure comparative fault state, which means that if the victim contributed to their own injury or accident, then their recovery will be reduced by their own percentage of fault. Basically, a victim’s claim would be limited to the amount they did not contribute to the accident or injury, so if a victim is found to be 40% at-fault for the accident or their injury, then their recovery would be reduced by 40%.
- Call 911, and Wait for the Police to Arrive
Bicycle accidents are just as serious as other vehicular accidents, so you should call 911 as soon as the accident has occurred.
Since bicycles are considered vehicles under Louisiana laws, the biker and the motorist are legally obligated to remain at the scene after the accident, especially if there have been damages to either party. However, it is important to note that you do not leave the scene even if you feel or think that you are not injured since many traumas from a bicycle or vehicular accidents are not obvious at the outset.
- Obtain the Other Party’s Information
Another critical action to do is to exchange information with the other motorist. Both parties must provide the following information: name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, make of car, and insurance policy number.
It is also important to note that you should not negotiate with the other motorist even if they express responsibility for the accident since you may not be fully aware of the damage and injuries caused by the accident. More so, it is prudent to let a sound legal professional handle the negotiations.
- Obtain Witness Information
Another essential party to your bicycle accident is the witness. If they are available at the scene, you must obtain their information, including their name and contact information. It is also a good idea to ask them to stay at the scene until the police arrive to provide their witness account on the police report.
- Document the Accident and the Damages
In order to preserve the documentation’s integrity, information about the accident must be written down as soon as possible.
- Facilitate and Obtain a Copy of the Police Report
A police report is a required document for all insurance or court claims. Therefore, you must make sure that the police report contains only an accurate depiction of the accident. It is also vital that you report any injury and damage, no matter how minor or insignificant it may be, as it may develop into something major later on. Make sure to triple-check and confirm all the information on the police report before you sign it. Please do not sign the report unless you have confirmed its content.
It is critical that you also take the police officer’s information in the event that you need to clarify or modify the report.
It is important that you also keep a copy of the report for your records.
- Seek Medical Attention
As mentioned above, not all injuries are obvious right after the accident. Thus, it is important to consult a doctor and get a written evaluation immediately after the accident, even if the injuries are minor. It is also good to have your injuries photographed and record any symptoms you may have for several days or weeks.
- Preserve All Evidence From the Accident
To assist your legal claim and rights, it is essential to you preserve all evidence from the accident. This might include keeping the clothes at the same condition as when it was worn at the time of the accident even if they were not damaged.
It is also critical that the bicycle, accessories, and parts are preserved in the same condition as they were right after the accident. If possible, keep the damaged bike, parts, and accessories as is. If it is necessary to have them repaired, take photographs of the damaged items, and get a written document of the damages before repair.
- Seek Guidance From an Experienced Bicycle Accident Lawyer
The next big and important step to take after a bicycle accident is to retain a competent legal representative.
As with any motor accidents, the process is full of negotiations, paperwork, and claims. An experienced personal injury attorney could not only guide you on this complicated process, but they can also advocate on your behalf to get the claim you rightfully deserve.
If you or a loved one have been in a bicycle accident in Louisiana, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. Please feel free to give us a call (225) 963-9638, or click here to contact us about scheduling a free consultation.