I got Into a Bike Accident in Chicago. Now what?
Panic. Pain. Adrenaline. Fear. Anger. These are some of the most common words our clients use to describe how they felt in the immediate aftermath of their bike crashes. These kinds of feelings aren't inherently bad of course, and are certainly understandable after a traumatic event such as a bike accident. The problem, from a legal standpoint, is that it is often tough to make rational decisions when one is emotionally distraught, and this can sometimes lead to mistakes that can have a negative impact on an injured cyclist's ability to be compensated for the medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering they face after an accident.
Cyclists should have a pre-Crash plan as to what they'll do if they ever have the misfortunate of getting into a bike accident with a vehicle on the streets of Chicago. Here's are some suggestions based on common mistakes we've seen past clients make before coming to us:
1) Always Call the Police: If you're Injured, even slightly, call the police as soon as you're able and make sure you file a police report. Once you make your statement, make sure you get a copy of the "motorist report," or at least write down what is called the "RD number" off of the top right corner of the report. If you have that number, a bicycle accident injury lawyer will be able to get a copy of the report for you later on. A police report isn't absolutely necessary in order to win your case (and are often not even admissible in court), but it can make the settlement process much easier and could possibly save you months worth of time and stress. If you aren't well enough to file a police report at the scene, go into your local station as soon as possible after the crash and file one there.
2) Get In An Ambulance: If you think it's even possible that you might have sustained a serious injury, even if you aren't in a lot of pain, make sure an ambulance comes and takes you to the hospital to be examined. While this can be a frightening financial proposition for those with poor or no health insurance, a Chicago bike injury lawyer has tools available to help make sure you don't end up financially on the hook for the cost of your hospital bills. I've honestly never had a single client who's ended up regretting taking an ambulance to the hospital from the scene of the crash, but several who've regretted refusing medical service at the scene. Sometimes injuries don't even exhibit a lot of symptoms until the next day, so it's really better safe than sorry.
3) Save All Documents: From the police, the hospital, any medical facility, and the driver. There's no point in listing what is important and what is not here, because you should save whatever you can. This can help your lawyer find important evidence and information later down the road, so just save whatever you can, no matter how small.
4) Document The Scene of the Accident and All Property Damage with Photographs or Video
5) Don't Speak to the Driver's Insurance Company For Any Reason: The driver's auto insurance company will make it seem like you have to give them a recorded statement, but it's important to remember that it's their job to do whatever it takes to compensate you as little as possible, and preferably not at all. You're under no duty to cooperate with them at all, and we highly recommend that you don't do so until you've spoken to a lawyer.
6) Call A Lawyer: If your case needs a lawyer, then you need to call one. If your case doesn't need a lawyer, the best way to find that out is... to call a lawyer. If your case is too small/easy to handle, a bike accident injury lawyer won't take your case because personal injury lawyers only get paid as a percentage of the total value of your claim. If you don't need a lawyer, they'll tell you. But if you do, then you absolutely need to get into contact with one as soon as possible. Bike accident lawyers take a percentage of your settlement for their payment, but in almost every case you'll come out ahead with a lawyer. Our bicycle accident firm offers free consultations to anyone who calls us, so please don't hesitate. We'll listen and advise you as to the best course of action. Call us at 872-588-0727 any time for a free consultation. We'll give you all the details on how we can help you.