Bicycling is a fun, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly way to get around and exercise in Fort Lauderdale. However, the streets can be treacherous, and accidents involving bicyclists are not uncommon in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), bicyclists are one of the most vulnerable road users. In 2019 alone, 846 bicyclists lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes.
When a bicyclist gets involved in an accident, they can sustain serious injuries, lose their bikes, and incur medical bills that add up quickly. That’s why it’s important to seek help as soon as possible after an accident, especially in the case of a hit-and-run or if the driver of the car that hit them is uninsured or underinsured. A Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident attorney from Schilling & Silvers can offer invaluable help and support during this period.
Bicyclists Involved in Accidents
The following are a few such scenarios that bicyclists may be involved in, based on common testimonies:
Scenario 1: The bicyclist was headed to work when a car turned right at a red light and hit them from behind. They fell off the bike and broke their arm, but the driver didn’t stop, and there were no witnesses around. Being alone and scared, they called the police and went to the hospital. The police didn’t find the driver, but they filed a report, which helped the bicyclist with their insurance claim. It was a terrible experience, but luckily, they were able to get the help they needed.
Scenario 2: The bicyclist was in a bike lane, but a distracted driver veered into it and hit them. They hit their head and passed out for a few moments. Upon waking up, they found the driver arguing with another bicyclist who saw the accident. The other bicyclist gave them their number in case they needed a witness. Being dizzy and in pain, the bicyclist was unable to capture photographic evidence and asked a bystander to call an ambulance. The driver was uninsured, and his car was badly damaged, but thankfully, the other bicyclist was willing to be a witness, which helped the bicyclist recover their medical expenses.
Scenario 3: The bicyclist was on a group ride when a car ran a red light and hit them and their friends. They were all thrown off the bikes, with one of them suffering a broken collarbone. However, the driver immediately stopped and offered to call an ambulance. The bicyclists took him up on his offer, and the police came soon after. The driver was very apologetic and had valid insurance. As such, they exchanged information and went their separate ways, with the victims successfully receiving compensation from the driver’s insurance company.
Steps Bicyclists Can Take When They Are Involved in Accidents
Now that we have discussed some of the commonly encountered scenarios, here’s a guide to what bicyclists can do when they are involved in an accident:
- Get Medical Assistance: If you are injured, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you think you are okay, it’s important to get checked out since some injuries may not show up right away.
- Contact the Police/Authorities: If the driver stops, ask them to call the police. If they don’t, call 911 or your local emergency number and report the accident. The police will file a report, which will be helpful for insurance purposes and potential legal action. If you have any witness information or a license plate number, provide that to the police as well.
- Take Pictures: If possible, take pictures of the scene, the car involved, and any injuries you sustained. This can be helpful evidence for insurance claims and legal proceedings.
- Get Legal Help: You may also want to consider legal assistance depending on the circumstances of the accident. An attorney can help you navigate the legal system and pursue compensation for your injuries, damages, and lost wages.
- Contact Your Insurance Company: If you have insurance, contact your provider and report the accident. They will advise you on the next steps and help you file a claim.
Being in an accident, especially one involving a car, can be a scary and confusing experience. But by seeking help from the authorities, getting medical attention, taking pictures, and consulting legal help, you can protect yourself and pursue justice. It’s also important to maintain your composure and remember that accidents can happen to anyone. Stay safe on the roads, wear a helmet, and follow traffic laws. And don’t forget to enjoy the ride!