Hit and run accidents are notoriously common in San Diego. Some hit and run crashes involve pedestrians or bicyclists who die or suffer serious injuries. In the more serious cases, we hear about hit and run collisions on the news – such as the man in Guatay who was seriously injured in a hit and run bicycle crash last month. Other cases of hit and run bike crashes in San Diego involve fatalities.
If you or a loved one suffered harm in a hit and run, there are critical steps you should take immediately following the accident.
Contact the Police and Emergency Services
If you suffer injuries in a bicycle collision with a hit and run driver, then your first step should be to seek medical attention and notify the authorities. Depending on what you remember about the vehicle, police may be able to apprehend and arrest the driver.
You should seek medical attention after a bicycle crash of any kind, even if you believe you did not suffer injuries. Certain types of injuries, such as internal bleeding, can lead to even worse health outcomes.
Some types of injury symptoms can appear even weeks after your accident. For example, concussions can lead to depression, anxiety, dizziness and fatigue for days and weeks after the injury occurred. These symptoms can cause additional damages, such as lost income.
You also establish a record of your damages by seeking medical attention, which could become important later if you are able to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the driver.
Write Down or Tell Someone Else What You Remember
If you are able, you should try to write down what you remember as soon as possible after the crash. You may also be able to call a friend or loved one and tell them what you remember about the hit and run vehicle so they can write it down if you cannot. This information may be crucial for the authorities.
Due to the shock of being hit and the adrenaline, you can very easily forget critical information about the vehicle even minutes after the crash. Write down the make, color and model of the vehicle. Chances are you won’t be able to remember the license plate number, but that should not stop you from trying. Even getting a few numbers correct may help the authorities. If you saw what the driver looked like, write down any important details.
By having a record of what you remember, you can give yourself a better chance of finding the driver.
Identify Any Possible Witnesses
Witnesses may be able to give you and the police important information that can help locate the hit and run driver. Some storefronts and properties have video surveillance in place, which can also help locate the driver. Take note of any nearby businesses, as it may be necessary to return later to ask for the footage.
If you are able, ask any witnesses for their personal contact information. Try to obtain their phone numbers, emails and best time to be reached.
You can also ask witnesses to provide important information very soon after the accident before they forget any crucial details. This is additional information that you or another person can write down for use later.
Contact a San Diego Bicycle Accident Attorney
Your next step should be to contact a bicycle accident attorney, especially if you suffered injuries or lost a loved one. In fact, you should do this as soon as possible after the accident. The reason why you don’t want to wait is because crucial evidence could disappear from the crash scene very soon after the accident, even within hours or days. An attorney will be able to legally preserve this evidence for later.
It is important to pick an attorney who has extensive experience with bicycle accidents because he or she has likely taken on similar cases for other clients. An experienced attorney may be able to recover evidence the authorities overlooked when they investigated the crash scene. In addition, a bicycle accident attorney will know how to use any available evidence to maximize the amount of compensation you receive for an injury or loss.
About Our San Diego Bicycle Accident Attorney
Frederick M. Dudek is a San Diego bicyclist and personal injury attorney. As a member of the San Diego cycling community, he is committed to helping injured cyclists or their family members seek justice. If you have questions about how our law firm can help after a bicycle accident, then we encourage you to call us. We offer free consultations that can help explain your possible legal options.