Nobody wants to be involved in a bicycle accident. Unfortunately, bicycle accidents can happen no matter how safety-conscious you are. The physical pain and emotional trauma you experience right after the accident can make it hard to think clearly.
Although bicycle accidents can be a jarring experience, knowing what to do at the scene or immediately after is important. It will make a difference in how well you protect your rights and how much you recover for your injuries. The following guide will help you in navigating the aftermath of bicycle accidents and show you what to do.
What Are the Common Types of Bicycle Accidents?
Bicycle accidents come in different forms. It includes instances when a cyclist is riding against oncoming traffic. There’s also the right cross collision, which occurs when you’re moving with the traffic on the right side of the road and a vehicle pulls out of a driveway or side street from the right side of the cyclist.
A bicycle accident can also happen when a cyclist travels with the flow of traffic and an oncoming vehicle makes a left turn, or the cyclist fails to brake correctly when approaching a vehicle from behind at a red light or stop sign. Additionally, a crash can happen if a motorist overtakes a bicyclist on the left or opens the left side door when a bicyclist passes.
Physical Injuries from Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can cause grave, long-term injuries that can significantly impact the victim’s life. You may suffer from the following injuries:
- Torn muscles and sprains – These injuries may not be life-threatening, but it is still advisable to have the aching muscles checked by a medical professional because some injuries require therapy.
- Broken bones– This type of injury can range from minor fractures to major breaks requiring medical intervention.
- Head trauma–Victims suffering from head trauma may experience concussion-like symptoms, like dizziness and headaches.
- Spinal cord injury–This injury warrants serious medical attention because it can lead to loss of other bodily functions or paralysis if left unchecked.
- Internal organ injuries–They also require immediate medical attention. These injuries may restrict the victim for a long time.
- Internal bleeding–This injury poses significant dangers, including organ failure and seizure. That’s why it’s important to seek medical attention even in the absence of visible blood after the accident.
Psychological Trauma From Bicycle Accidents
The impact of a bicycle accident on a victim can go far beyond just physical injuries. Bicycle accidents can also cause psychological effects, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Various treatments are available for those suffering psychological trauma. You may have to undergo therapy or take prescription medication. The ongoing treatment can often become costly.
Chicago laws are designed to protect you if you get into a bicycle accident. If a motorist was negligent, then you can pursue a personal injury claim to recover your losses. In case of a tragic bike collision where a victim loses his or her life, relatives can pursue a wrongful death claim with the help of a qualified lawyer.
In Illinois, victims of bicycle accidents have two years from the date of the accident to take legal action for claiming financial compensation. The type of compensation you can seek includes economic and non-economic damages.
The amount you can get will vary depending on several factors. These include the cost of your medical bills, the extent of your injuries, how much your life was affected by the accident, and the amount of insurance coverage the liable party has at the time of the accident or crash.
What to Do In the Aftermath of a Bicycle Accident?
The immediate aftermath of a bicycle accident is often chaotic. Nevertheless, taking the right steps to protect your safety and rights is crucial.
Prioritize Medical Treatment
You must seek medical care after the accident even if you don’t think your injuries are serious. Some injuries can be asymptomatic and can cause complications if left untreated. If you pursue a claim, you will also need records of injuries or evidence of medical treatment.
Notify Your Insurance Company
If you are covered under your auto insurance or home policies, you should notify your insurance provider about the bicycle accident as soon as you can. They will likely ask many questions, but ensure you avoid speculation and stick to the facts.
Document Your Loss
Documenting your losses will help you get the compensation you deserve. Losses, formally called damages, fall into two main categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages cover the monetary losses a person experiences because of the accident. It can include past and future medical bills, lost earning capacity, and lost wages because of missed work.
On the other hand, non-economic damages cover intangible losses a person endured due to a bicycle accident. It can include physical pain and emotional suffering. Assigning a dollar value to non-economic damages can be difficult. You can consult a bicycle accident attorney to determine the full extent of your non-economic losses.
Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer
Calculating and proving the value of your case and engaging in negotiations can be daunting, especially when you’re still recovering from your injuries. A qualified lawyer can handle all aspects of your claim so you can recuperate and direct your attention to your health and well-being.
Can You Be Found at Fault For Causing a Bicycle Accident?
While you have rights when riding your bicycle on Chicago roads, you also have legal responsibilities. You are always required to adhere to the rules of the road.
When you file a lawsuit, an investigation will be carried out. Even if you are injured in the accident, you may still be found partially at fault for causing it. Your percentage of blame will affect the amount of compensation you can get based on the modified comparative negligence rule.
However, note that it is not up to the insurance adjuster or the police officer to write the report to determine who is at fault in the accident.