If you were hit by a motor vehicle while you were riding a bicycle in Florida, here are ten useful tips from a bicycle accident lawyer to follow:
1. First things first: Is anyone injured? If so, take steps to prevent further injury; call for emergency assistance; get medical treatment and attention immediately if you or anyone else needs it.
2. Prevent further injury: Make sure everyone is safe from being injured further; if you are in the road or in the line of traffic, get to the side of the road as quickly as possible. If you are unable to move the vehicles and they are creating a traffic hazard, then put flares or some other type of accident warning device in the road to warn other drivers of the danger; and get away from the vehicles as quickly as possible. Call the police and let them know that there are vehicles in the roadway.
3. Call the police. It is best to get an accident report so that your accident is properly documented, some insurance companies have indicated that they will not process a claim without an accident report. Tell the police whether you are injured. Answer the police officer's questions honestly. If you are shocked, dazed, lightheaded or confused, let the police know that you need medical treatment and how you are feeling and that you aren't able to answer questions at that time. Remember, anything you say can and will be used against you so it is important to tell the truth and to do so when you are clear-headed.
4. Gather Inforrmation: Get the other driver’s information including their names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, make and model of their vehicles, license plate numbers, and their insurance company name and policy number. If there are witnesses, get their names, addresses and telephone numbers - witnesses are very important. Write down anything the other driver says, especially if they admit fault. Keep a notepad and pen or pencil on your bike in a weatherproof container so that you are prepared in case of an accident. If you need a form for this, please email our office at [email protected] for a sample form that we can email to you.
5. Take pictures with your cell phone; if your cell phone does not have a camera then make sure to keep a disposable camera in a weatherproof container on your bike.
6. Get medical treatment if you are hurt. Don’t decline the ambulance or emergency room if you are hurt. It is important to get immediate treatment for your injuries.
7. Call an attorney with experience handling bicycle accidents; ask your friends and family or your doctor if they can recommend a qualified attorney. Bicycle accidents have unique issues and you need an attorney who knows what those issues are. Attorneys handling bicycle accidents in Florida work the same way auto accident attorneys do - on a contingency fee basis - in other words, if the attorney does not make a recovery for you then the attorney is not owed any fees - and most attorneys don't charge for costs either, but you need to check. You should also ask your attorney if they can guarantee that the attorney won't put more in his/her pocket than you receive when all is said and done; this can happen with a contingency fee contract.
8. Report the accident to your insurance company. Your carrier will want a recorded statement, you should have your attorney present when you give your own insurance company a statement; talk to your attorney about whether to give a statement to the at fault driver's insurance company.
9. Do not settle your claim until you know the full extent of your injuries; many insurance companies will try to offer you money in the beginning but the money and/or a release may mean you are prevented from recovering the full value of your claim. Some insurance carriers are aggressive about trying to get you to settle early because it saves them money; do not fall into this trap.
10. Know your rights, the best way to do this is to consult with an attorney - most personal injury attorneys will provide a free consultation. Make sure the person you are talking to is actually a member of the Florida Bar (if your accident was in Florida), that the person is an attorney - and not a paralegal or runner - many of the high volume / frequent advertising attorneys hire paralegals or runners to handle their intake process and the attorney is not involved; this is not your best bet for a law firm. Make sure that the attorney is there at the initial meeting to sign the contract with you and answer your questions and make sure that an attorney - not a paralegal or case manager - is going to handle your case.
If you’ve had a bicycle accident, auto accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, pedestrian vs. auto accident, or any other injury claim in Pinellas County: St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, Gulfport, South Pasadena, St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, Madeira Beach, Seminole, Kenneth City, Tierra Verde, Palm Harbor, Clearwater, Safety Harbor, Dunedin, Passagrille, Indian Rocks, Belleair Bluffs, Northeast St. Pete, or anywhere else in Pinellas County!; Hillsborough County: Tampa, Temple Terrace, Ybor, Valrico, or anywhere else in Hillsborough County!; Manatee County, Sarasota County, Pasco County or anywhere in Florida!, please feel free to email us at [email protected], visit our website at www.scottandfenderson.com or call the office 727-321-0099; or call me, Attorney Kathryn Fenderson Scott, on my cell phone at 2727-439-3694 or my partner, Charles Scott, on his cell phone at 727-445-0439. We offer personal service to personal injury victims in Florida.