How Do I Know If I Have a Good Bike Accident Insurance Claim?
Our San Diego Bicycle Accident Lawyer Has Tips for Injured Cyclists
If you are hit by a car while cycling, it is true that the at-fault driver’s insurance should cover your recovery expenses. However, getting money for a bicycle accident insurance claim can be difficult and confusing, even if you were clearly the victim. If you were hurt in a bike crash, use the following tips and suggestions to strengthen your bike accident insurance claim.
What Do I Need for a Bicycle Accident Insurance Claim?
The strength of your bike accident claim often rests on the evidence you have. Insurance companies can twist your own story around to avoid paying you, but it is much more difficult to dispute photos and medical reports. Therefore, you should document as much as you can directly after a bike crash, if possible, as well as in the days and months that follow. Smart phones make it easy to snap pictures and even take video, which you can use as evidence for your claim. Other things that will help your claim include:
- A police report. Always call the police after a bike crash, and get the information you need to obtain a copy of the report. Give your version of events to the police officer, but stick to the facts.
- Contact information. Get the insurance and contact information for the driver as well as any witnesses.
- A medical report. Even if you feel fine directly after a bike crash, go to the doctor or emergency room as soon as possible. This medical report will be the start to an assessment of your injuries right after the accident, as well as ongoing injuries.
- Your bike. Keep your bicycle in exactly the same condition as it was after the crash. This is the best evidence possible for your property damage claim and may help prove you were not at fault.
Insurance claims can take months to settle. During that time, it is important that you continue to document your injuries and how they affect your life. When it comes to insurance claims, you can never have too much evidence or too many pictures. It is often useful to keep a diary so that you can record how you feel each day and how much pain you are experiencing. This will establish an accurate timeline of your healing process.
What Can Hurt My Bike Accident Claim?
Insurance companies will do everything they can to dismiss your claim or offer you a low settlement. An insurance adjuster may ask misleading questions or imply that the bike accident was actually your fault. They may ask about your cycling experience, your riding habits and even your cycling gear. If you failed to fully stop at a stop sign before the crash, for example, that will hurt your claim. Other mistakes to avoid in order to ensure that you get the settlement you deserve include:
- Do not apologize. It is a natural reaction to apologize after an accident, even if you did not cause the wreck. However, the insurance company may take your apology as an admission of fault and may deny your claim.
- Do not ignore the law. Follow all California bicycle laws at all times. This includes obeying all traffic signs and lights and using hand signals. Additionally, California specifically outlaws cycling under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You should also take care to follow the rules regarding your bicycle itself, like the bike light law.
- Do not forget your helmet. California bicycle laws do not require cyclists over the age of 18 to wear bike helmets. However, after a cycling accident, an insurance adjuster may claim that your injuries would have been less serious if you wore a helmet.
- Do not speak to an insurance company before you call an attorney. You should always consult a San Diego bicycle accident lawyer before you speak to an insurance company. Insurance agents may try to convince you that you have a weak claim so that you agree to a low settlement. A lawyer will have your best interests at heart, unlike an insurance agent. But, even if you already talked to the insurance agent, it is not too late to get an attorney involved.
Hurt in a Bike Accident? Our San Diego Bicycle Accident Lawyer Can Help
Even if you are a responsible cyclist, you can still be injured in a bike crash caused by a negligent driver. If you are, San Diego bicycle accident lawyer Frederick M. Dudek can help. Because he is an enthusiastic cyclist himself, Fred knows California bicycle laws and he understands the unique challenges cyclists face every day. He has helped many injured cyclists in Southern California stand up to pushy insurance companies. Contact Fred online, or call his San Diego law office today to schedule a free consultation.