Biking in and around Washington DC is a great way to take in the scenery of our beautiful city, and can be a great alternative to the DC Metro for commuting when you’d like to enjoy the fresh air on your way to and from your destination. Unfortunately, even the safest cyclist is not immune to being hurt in an accident caused by reckless or negligent drivers. If you are injured in a cycling accident, it is important that you know your rights and you understand the optimal paths towards getting the compensation that you deserve. No amount of money will undo your injuries, but it will help you to move forward with the financial support that you need and deserve.
Biking accidents are most common at intersections, whether at an intersection of a side road and main road, a 4-way intersection, or any other time when the possibility is introduced that a car crosses the path of a bike lane. However, accidents happen for many more reasons than a car and bike crossing paths at an intersection and can be contributed to a range of things such as drunk driving, texting, and speeding. If you’ve been injured in a bicycling accident, contact Balkin & Mausner today.
What To Do After a Bicycle Accident in DC
The following are some general guidelines about the most important steps to take after a biking accident. Throughout every step of the process, it is important that you prioritize your health over anything else, because your health is the one thing that you can’t put off in these early days and weeks.
This step is important no matter how minor your accident may be. If an accident is serious, it is a no-brainer to call 911 so that the injured party can get medical help from the EMTs, but in a minor accident, it is equally important, even if the driver tries to downplay the accident and you might feel like you are overreacting. When the police arrive at the scene, they will interview everyone involved in the crash in order to write an accident report, which will be central to your insurance claim.
At the same time, EMTs will be able to examine your injuries, no matter how minor or major, which will also become part of the official record. Remember that the more official documentation you can gather about your accident, the clearer your claim will be when you begin working with the insurance company.
See a Doctor
Again, if your injuries are serious then this is an obvious step. However, even in the event that you suffered seemingly minor injuries, it is important that you get medical care to help them heal, and it is equally important that you establish further documentation about your injuries. If you do not have clear evidence of every injury that you will include in your insurance claim, you can expect that the insurance company will push back aggressively on compensating you for each undocumented injury.
This is a crucial step in the early days following your accident, especially because you may have suffered from an injury that takes a few days to fully show–such as whiplash or other soft-tissue injuries.
Call a Lawyer
Once you have seen your doctor and you are ready to take the next step, many people believe that the logical next step is to file an insurance claim. This will happen soon enough, but you will be setting yourself up for success if you hire an attorney before you even initiate the process. From the moment you begin working with the insurance company, know that they will be poring over every detail of your case looking for details and loopholes with which to limit your settlement amount, and an attorney can help you combat these actions.
If you are not working with an attorney during the claim investigation, the adjuster that you are working with will ask you to submit a series of statements, undergo an independent medical exam, and much more – all while trying to poke holes in your case. With an attorney representing you through this process, you will have the guidance of an experienced legal professional to keep you from falling into any common pitfalls that come from making seemingly-innocent statements or simple missteps.