One of the best things the City of Chicago has done is to add bike lanes throughout the city. On Dearborn St.where our office is located there are scores of bikers there every single day heading in each direction.
Unfortunately, with thousands of people biking to and from work and to other places, we’ve seen a big increase in accidents. Here are five things you should do, if possible, if you are struck by a car while on your bike.
- Whip out your phone and take pictures of the scene. You want to do this from every angle possible. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the whole point is to gather evidence. If you can’t do it because you are hurt, have a friend come back or hire a law firm and they will do it for you.
- Get information from the driver and witnesses. Name, phone number, insurance info. Same for witnesses.
- Call 911, but don’t talk to anyone other than the police. You need them to create an accident report in order to protect yourself. Don’t let the driver or anyone else talk you out of that. And under no circumstance is it a good idea to discuss the case with the insurance company for the driver. Their sole purpose is to try and create a defense so they don’t have to pay you.
- Go to the emergency room if you are hurt. Of course this is really #1 as there’s nothing more important than your health. If you don’t start to feel pain until the next day or two, then go to the doctor then. The longer you wait, the harder it is to prove any injuries are related to the accident itself.
- Get an estimate for your property damage. Take your bike to a shop that is reputable. In most cases, three estimates is appropriate. Don’t fix the bike right away without speaking to an attorney because you may have to keep it as evidence. If you get rid of the bike you could damage your case. Same goes for ripped clothes, broken helmets or anything else when you have a severe accident.
Hopefully you never need these tips or an attorney, but if you do or if you just have questions, we’ll always talk with you for free and in confidence.
Written by Michael Helfand