When bikes collide with vehicles or vice versa, the results are almost always devastating. This is true regardless of how fast the vehicle was moving or even if it was moving at all. Because of how unprotected bicyclists are, it is not uncommon for bike accident victims to sustain head wounds, brain injuries, fractures, dislocation, nerve damage, dental injuries, or spinal cord injuries. Even less severe injuries such as road rash still cause extreme pain and long-term discomfort. In addition to having to deal with the pain of one’s injuries, bike accident victims must also contend with the mounting medical expenses and standard bills. Many times, accident victims are unable to work because of their injuries, thereby creating a dire financial situation.
If you or a loved one was injured in a bike accident in Idaho, you know firsthand how harmful another person’s negligence can be. Though you may feel frustrated, angry, and even alone at this difficult time in your life, know that you do have legal options. An experienced bike crash attorney can help you explore those options and work to ensure that the right party is held accountable for the harms he or she caused.
What To Do Immediately Following a Bike Accident
Ideally, you should begin building your bike accident case as soon after the crash as possible and when you are still at the site of the incident. If you’re involved in a bike crash, take many of the same steps that you would take if you were involved in a car accident, all of which can help you and your bike crash attorney build the strongest personal injury case possible. Those steps include the following:
- Get off the road. Whether you’re on a busy street or on a rural backroad, you should move your bike and yourself to the shoulder. Doing so can prevent more harm from coming your way. It can also help preserve what evidence you do have (your mangled bike).
- Gather contact information. You should always get the name, phone number, and driver’s license number of the other party, regardless of whether he or she has insurance or was at fault. If there were any witnesses to the event, take their names and numbers as well. You may need their testimonies when trying to prove your case in settlement negotiations or court.
- Take a picture of the license plate number. If the other party is uncooperative, take a photo of his or her vehicle’s license plate. This will help authorities track the car down in the event that the driver flees the scene or provides false contact information.
- Avoid negotiations. The other driver may attempt to bribe you into not filing an accident claim. Do not participate in negotiations. You do not yet know the extent of your damages at this point and may unwittingly forfeit your chance to recover compensation via a bike accident claim.
- Call the police. Too many people try to resolve accidents themselves by not involving the police. However, merely swapping insurance and contact information is not enough to protect your rights under the law. You may need a detailed police report to back your claim. In fact, insurance adjusters prefer official documents over handwritten accounts mailed to them by accident victims. This is because police focus on facts and are not motivated by personal best interest.
What To Do Days After Your Crash – Call a Bike Crash Attorney
If you’re reading this information days after the accident occurred, you can still take steps to have a bike crash attorney help you build a strong injury case. Some things you can do to help bolster your claim include the following:
- Create a detailed account of the incident. Though you have the police report to back your story, it doesn’t hurt to write down an account of the accident exactly as you remember it happening. Two similar accounts can lend more credibility to your case than one.
- Record how you feel. If your case goes to trial, journal entries that detail how you felt in the days, weeks, and months after the accident can earn you sympathy points. While insurance adjusters use formulas to calculate damages, jurors are only human and want to help the party that most needs it. Prove that you are that party by being completely transparent about your injuries, your pain, and how both have negatively impacted your life.
- Keep your bike broken. One of the first things you may want to do post-accident, aside from getting medical attention, is get your bike repaired. Refrain from doing so. The bike, along with your helmet, clothing, and other items involved in the incident, is evidence of just how bad the accident really was. Preserve that evidence until the close of your case.
- Meet with a bike crash attorney. An Idaho bike crash attorney can help you navigate the claims process and avoid any potential pitfalls. Though many cases settle without going to trial, insurance companies are wily and will attempt just about anything to pay out as little in claims money as possible. An experienced attorney will value your claim and ensure you do not accept anything less than what your case is actually worth.
What To Do Once You Have Healed – Take Precaution
As a bicyclist, you are always at risk of getting hit by or hitting a vehicle. Though vehicle operators should be on the lookout for bicyclists and motorcycle operators, the sad truth is that many are not. This is especially true in rural areas where biking is less common. Because of this, it is up to you to keep yourself safe when biking. You can do that by learning the rules of the road and brushing up on bike safety.
State of Idaho Bike Laws
The State of Idaho has a statute that details bicycling laws just as it has a code for vehicle operators. The rules of the road for bikers are pretty simple, as they’re similar to the law by which drivers must abide. For starters, the same traffic laws and duty of care that apply to vehicle operators also apply to bicyclists and other human-powered vehicles. For instance, if a light is red, a bicyclist must stop. If a lane says yield, a bicyclist must yield. If the walking signal is lit up in a crosswalk, bicyclists must stop and let pedestrians through before making a right turn. Some other laws by which cyclists must abide include but are not limited to the following:
No human-propelled vehicle shall be used to transport more persons at one time than the number for which the vehicle was designed and equipped.
- No person operating a human-propelled vehicle shall follow a vehicle so closely as to create a hazard for the rider.
- When riding on a road on which the speed limit is substantially faster than what the bicyclist can pedal, the cyclist must ride as close as possible to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.
- If riding on a one-way street that has two or more designated traffic lanes, the bicyclist must ride as close as possible to the left-hand edge of the road.
- Bicyclists shall not ride more than two abreast except in designated bike lanes. If riding two abreast impedes the normal movement or flow of traffic, riders must ride solo.
- Cyclists may not operate a bike while carrying a package, article, or bundle that prevents them from using at least one hand to control and operate the bike.
- Bicyclists must slow when approaching an intersection and stop according to traffic signals. They must yield the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection or that is approaching at such a speed as to pose a hazard if the bicyclist were to cross.
- Bicyclists must give signal of their intent to turn either right or left not less than 100 feet before the intended turn.
Bike laws are extensive. Before you get back behind the handlebars and on the road, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with the laws. Doing so may help you avoid future accidents and possible liability.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides some additional tips for what you can do to avoid future crashes. Before heading out, make sure that the following applies to you, your bike, or your situation:
- The bike fits you and is not too difficult to control.
- All components of the bike work.
- You are decked out in all the appropriate safety gear, including a helmet, bright clothing, and biking shoes.
- The bike is equipped with reflectors, a red rear light, and a white front light.
- You have a backpack or basket in which to carry any items you will need at your destination.
- Your shoelaces are tied and knotted, and your pant legs are tucked into your shoes.
- You have planned and know your route.
Call a Bike Crash Attorney From the Idaho Advocates
Bike accident injuries are often severe, life-changing, and permanent. Sometimes, they are debilitating. For this reason, you should take extreme measures to avoid bike accidents at all costs. However, if despite your best efforts you are involved in a bike crash, you should contact a bike crash attorney right away. Call The Idaho Advocates at 208-995-2444 or contact us online today to discuss your case in more detail.
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