Every morning before work, you wake up to log some miles on your road bike. You have been training for the last few months for the annual century ride in the spring. Usually, traffic is not very heavy, so you have become a little too complacent about the risk of cycling every morning.
Why should you be worried? You wear all the proper gear, including a top-of-the-line helmet and reflective gear, and your bicycle is lit up like a Christmas tree. In addition, you always ride in the bike lane. Unfortunately, taking every available precaution will not keep you safe from every driver. At some point, there could be that one driver who did not see you in the blind spot, or the motorist who was too busy checking his email on his phone to pay attention.
Many cyclists do not know how to handle an accident involving a car. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. A local Salt Lake City personal injury attorney can advise you on what to do after an accident with a vehicle. Read further for basic information to handle a bicycle-car incident.
Common types of accidents
Some bicycle-car accidents are more common than others. The two that happen most often are the left-hand turn and the right hook. The left-hand turn occurs when a car turns left directly into your path as you are coming from the opposite direction. A right hook happens when a car passes you riding in the right lane or the bike lane before it makes a right turn directly in front of you.
Other common accidents include doors opening into your path and getting hit from behind. Regardless of the type of accident, any encounter with a car can have devastating consequences for the cyclist.
While at the scene
Regardless of how minor an accident seems, you should always call the police to report it. You may need an official police report in order to file a claim with the driver's insurance company. In addition, you should gather the driver's information, including contact details, insurance information, the license plate number and a description of the car. While at the scene, do not admit fault or minimize your injuries or the damage to your bike. Exchange only the required information and make no other statements until you speak with an attorney.
See a doctor
While you may not notice any physical damage to your body at first, it is possible that you have internal injuries that could prove deadly without medical treatment. Muscle strains and some other soft tissue injuries may not be apparent immediately. Go to the emergency room or see your doctor immediately for a medical evaluation.
If the motorist was at fault for the accident, you may be able to be compensated for your injuries, the damages to your bike and possibly lost wages if you have to miss work. Be sure to take your bike to a reputable repair shop for an inspection and damage estimate. Even if it does not seem that the accident damaged your bike, take it in for a maintenance check. It is possible that you will not be aware of the damage until a problem develops on a ride.
If you have been involved in an accident with a car while riding your bike, it is important that you understand all of your options when filing a claim. Contact a local Utah attorney experienced with personal injury claims for advice on your case.