When a bicycle accident happens, there is a lot to do including, but not limited to, seeking the counsel of a bicycle accident attorney in Gainesville, FL. When an automobile and a bicycle meet at any speed, there is bound to be damage done to the bicyclist. As the slowest and smallest participants in road travel, bicyclists are at a serious disadvantage. Some cyclists have even taken the step of adding to the legal aspects of their cases by installing small video cameras on their bikes, so there is no longer a need for eyewitnesses or for a jury to believe the cyclist's side of the story in court.
Steven A. Bagen Law Firm is a personal injury law firm with offices in Gainesville and Ocala to serve the surrounding North and Central Florida areas.
Take the Accident Seriously
As with any kind of serious injury, there are many aspects to a bicycle accident. As any bicycle accident attorney Gainesville, FL could tell you, these components include the legal aspect, the physical aspect and the aspect of time. Just like when an accident between two motor vehicles happens, a collision on a bike involves more than simply dusting yourself off and getting moving again. While you may not be seriously injured, in some cases this is not immediately evident.
If the driver flees the scene, do your best to memorize or record the offending vehicle's license plate number. Since many drivers believe that bicyclists are at fault universally without regard to what actually happened, it is necessary to be proactive in identifying who specifically was involved in the accident. If the driver stays at the scene, exchange contact information in the same way you would if this had been an accident involving two automobiles. As a bicycle accident attorney in Gainesville, FL or Ocala, FL would tell you, there is not much of a legal difference between these two types of accidents.
One of the major reasons that you need to exchange information, even if you are not obviously injured, and even if property, such as your bicycle, is not damaged is because some trauma may not be initially evident. Even something as serious as a traumatic brain injury can actually go unnoticed during the initial adrenaline rush and confusion of an accident. Always seek medical attention and have your bicycle inspected by a professional after an accident.
As any personal injury or bicycle accident attorney in Gainesville, FL could tell you, keeping a record of the damage done during the accident is an important part of the process. First, report your bicycle accident to the police and to your auto insurance company. You also need to photograph the damage to your property and have the manager of your local bicycle shop document the damage to your vehicle.
At this point, a bicycle accident attorney in Gainesville, FL would strongly suggest you make sure you have copies of everything that is relevant. You need to keep a copy of the police report, have the documentation your bicycle shop's manager puts together in your possession and keep the photographs. You also need to keep a copy of the insurance report you file. Do not forget to take photographs of the scene and any injuries you have sustained as a result of the accident.
Another step that may initially slip your mind is to get the names of any potential eyewitnesses. While bicycle accidents do not cause as much noise or take up as much space as accidents involving two automobiles, someone may have still seen what happened. This could be vital if the situation ends up in court.
Guard Your Innocence
In some cases, you may be assessed a ticket for being involved in an accident. While it may be tempting to simply pay this ticket and move on with your life, you would be wise to resist this urge and contest the ticket. While you know your level of involvement in and responsibility for the accident you got into, paying a citation or ticket for your involvement can be interpreted as an admission of guilt. If you are not responsible for the accident, you should not be paying for the accident beyond the damage that has already been done to your own body and property. In reality, you should not even have to pay for that if you are not responsible.
Contact a Bicycle Attorney
Your knowledge of the law is most likely that of a lay person, so you want to contact someone who specializes in accidents of this nature. A bicycle accident attorney Gainesville, FL is the right person to contact so that you can identify where your options lie and take your next step.