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What to Do After a Bicycle Accident Injury in California?

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Chuck Geerhart
what to do after a bicycle accident injury

There are any number of reasons to ride a bicycle in San Francisco.

The weather is generally bike friendly, parking is much easier to find, you are likely to spend less time in traffic, it is great exercise, and biking is good for the environment.

According to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, San Franciscans make 128,000 bicycle trips every day, and 16% of city residents are “frequent cyclists” who bike two or more days each week. 

With so many people driving and riding in a relatively small area, accidents are bound to happen.

Knowing what to do after a bike accident will ensure that you are safe and have all the necessary information you need to seek legal recovery if it is available.

If you sustained bike accident injuries in a crash caused by the negligence of another person or party, you may be entitled to compensation. 

Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in San Francisco

There are countless reasons that bicycle accidents occur. Many times, collisions are the result of negligent driving behavior, but in some cases, roadway conditions may be a contgributing cause.

Here are a few of the most common causes of bicycle accidents specific to San Francisco and the Bay Area: 

  • Excessive speed by the driver,
  • Distracted driving such as texting, 
  • Failure to stop at a stop sign or stoplight,
  • Driving too close to a bicycle,
  • Opening a car door without looking, 
  • Driver illegally entering a bike lane,
  • Bicyclist changing lanes without driver knowledge,
  • Biking or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
  • Lack of visibility around corners or hills,
  • Brake or other equipment malfunctions,
  • Open maintenance hole covers, and 
  • Poorly maintained or marked roadways

Bicycle accident injuries can vary from minor bumps and bruises to severe or life-altering injuries. Understanding the cause of your accident will help you determine who was responsible.

Sometimes accidents just happen, but you should not be held financially responsible for costly injuries that occurred because of someone else’s behavior.

An experienced attorney can help you evaluate whether you have legal grounds for a bicycle accident lawsuit

What to Do After a Bike Accident

If you are in a bicycle accident, the most important thing is your health and well-being. If you need to leave the scene of the accident to receive emergency medical attention, you should do so.

Depending on the circumstances of your accident and injuries, some of these steps may not apply. Here is a general overview of what to do after a bike accident involving a vehicle driver. 

Immediately Following Your Bike Accident 

  • Ask the driver to remain at the scene of the accident. If they refuse to do so, get as much information from them as possible (name, driver’s license, phone number, insurance, etc.). If they will not provide information, record all relevant details about their car and any other personal identifiers (license plate number, make, model, color, and description of the driver).
  • Call or ask someone to call 911 so that a law enforcement officer is sent to the scene of the accident.
  • Take photos of the accident scene, including damages to your body and your bicycle.
  • Request contact information of any witnesses who are willing to share what they saw. Ask them to wait for the police, but understand that may not be possible. They are not obligated to remain on the scene.

When the Police Arrive on the Scene

  • Request an incident report as required under SFPD General Order 9.02b. This will be important for any legal action or insurance claims.
  • Let the officer know about any injuries you have sustained or impact to your body that may later surface as an injury.
  • Ask the officer to record witness testimony if witnesses are available.
  • Write down the police officer’s name and badge number in case you need to reach them later. 

In the Next Few Days

  • Seek medical attention as soon as reasonably possible. Unless your accident was truly minor, you will likely experience pain that surfaces over the following weeks. Your doctor can help you determine what signs to look for even if you do not have immediate pain.
  • Request a copy of the accident report from the police. 
  • Contact witnesses and ask them to email you a record of what they remember seeing when the accident occurred. 

If you have injuries, seek counsel from an experienced bicycle attorney who can help you understand your legal options for compensation and whether you should consider a bicycle accident lawsuit. 

Bicycle Accident Attorney Near Me

If you have been in a serious bicycle accident, you could be facing expensive medical treatments, lost wages, pain and suffering, and much more.

Attorney Chuck Geerhart understands how to navigate the California legal system and has negotiated millions of dollars in settlements for clients impacted by negligent drivers on San Francisco roadways.

Contact the Law Office of Chuck Geerhart to schedule your free case consultation.

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