Bicycle riding in Indianapolis is something many people do when traveling a short distance, or longer distances for recreation. Indiana has many bike paths and trails throughout the State. However, often cyclists share the road with motorists. It is a very popular pastime in the warmer months in Indiana. Unfortunately sharing the roadways with vehicles is one of the most dangerous actions for riders.
Bicyclists can take many precautions to make themselves visible such as:
- Wearing high visibility clothing
- Having multiple reflectors on their bicycle
- Add a headlight to your bike
- Add brake lights to your bike
- Add LED lights to your wheels or bike frame
- Follow the local Indiana Traffic Laws
- Do not stop in other vehicles’ blind spots
- Place yourself in the middle of the lane so a vehicle must notice you or go around you
By doing the above items you are taking precautions to make yourself visible to vehicles on the roadway, thus decreasing the likelihood that they would strike you while riding.
What kind of injuries do bicyclists receive in car accidents?
There are several different kinds of injuries a bicyclist can sustain when struck by a vehicle. The injuries can be physical, mental, emotional, and financial. Below is a more comprehensive list of likely injuries a bicyclist could sustain when struck by a vehicle:
- Fatal injury
- Brain Injury (Concussion, TBI)
- Neck Injury (slipped discs, muscles, nerves, tendons)
- Back Injury
- Bone Fractures (feet, legs, pelvis, arm, skull fracture)
- Emotional Injuries (PTSD, anxiety)
- Facial injuries including facial fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Road Rash
- Scarring and disfigurement
If you suffer any injuries due to a car striking you while riding your bicycle you will want to make sure you seek treatment. Often those injured on their bicycles will present to the emergency room immediately following the crash. They are usually given instructions to follow up with their primary care physician, orthopedic physician, neurologist, and/or therapist. It is important to get the correct care following the crash so that you can prove that your injuries are related to the collision.
If you are not taken by ambulance to the emergency room, you will want to make sure you present to a physician as soon as symptoms arise, although with bicycle accidents it is likely that you would require emergency care following a crash. If you are given instructions to follow up after presenting to the emergency room, it’s important that you do that. Failure to follow medical advice can be used against you in Court.
What should I do after a bicycle accident?
The first thing is to call 911 if you are able. Once the police arrive be sure to provide them with your version of the accident. If there are any witnesses that come to your aid, and if you can, collect their names and phone numbers especially if they are leaving the scene prior to the police arriving. Following speaking with the police you should seek medical care. Even though you were not in your vehicle, you should still report the accident to your auto insurance for coverages such as medical reimbursements and uninsured/underinsured coverage.
Who is responsible for my medical bills?
Following a bicycle accident, it is likely you have incurred significant medical bills. Often people are mistaken to think that the person who hit you should pay those bills, that is incorrect. Your medical bills should be sent to your health insurance for payment. Any balances thereafter are your responsibility to pay to keep from going into collections. There are certain situations where a lawyer can protect those bills to be paid from a settlement once reached. You also may carry med pay or medical reimbursements on your auto policy that would pay up to your policy limit. Those limits vary and could be $1,000, $2,000, $5,000 or more. It will depend on what insurance coverage you have personally purchased. Even though the accident was not your fault, you have paid premiums for this coverage, and it is the best way to cover your deductible and co-pays with your health insurance. A personal injury attorney can advise the best way to use these coverages. The at-fault driver will reimburse medical expenses and other damages in a single settlement or judgment when your claim or lawsuit is concluded.
When should I call a bicycle accident attorney?
The next thing you should do is contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options following the bicycle accident. Bicycle injury lawyers can discuss the events that happened with you, assist with initial investigations and obtaining witness statements, and take the burden of handling the personal injury case off your shoulders. It is very important that within the first few days someone is able to start the investigation process to secure all evidence to prove how the accident happened.
Many times, there are witnesses that are not questioned at the scene but do provide their contact information to the injured person. You want to make sure that an expert is working on obtaining their statement as soon as possible after the accident. There may be businesses in the area that have captured video of the crash. Many of those businesses recycle their videos every 24-48 hours, so it is important to contact those facilities to make a formal request for them to keep a copy of the video. These are all things that a personal injury lawyer can do for you.
Speak with a few personal injury lawyers about your situation. It is good to make sure that the firm you choose to work with makes you feel comfortable. You will know who you trust once speaking with not only the attorney but also their paralegals. When you walk out of their firm, you should have a feeling of relief and know that someone is on your side fighting for you. Your only job is to work on your recovery.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a bicycle accident, call Tabor Law Firm for a free consultation at (317) 236-9000.