Hit by a car while bike riding? Now what?

Cyclists ride bicycles for a variety of reasons. Maybe's it's how you stay physically fit. Maybe you admire the athleticism of professional racers. Perhaps you aspire to complete a triathlon someday, want to reduce your carbon footprint or just find your commute to work more pleasant on a bike. Whatever your motivation when you climb on your bike, chances are that you try to bike safely. You comply with California laws about biking on public roads, wear appropriate footwear and a helmet to reduce your risk of serious injury and try to get to your destination safely.

Unfortunately, many bike collisions with motor vehicles are caused by the people driving the much larger vehicles. No matter how attentive you are, you probably can't get out of the way before a car suddenly turns or merges into you. Negligent drivers could cause you serious, even life-threatening injuries while incurring only minor damage to their vehicle. There are certain things you can do to protect yourself after a serious bicycle accident.

Get medical attention right away

In cases where you suffer broken bones, a concussion, a neck or back injury or a head injury, you may get taken to a hospital by ambulance. Regardless of where you were heading, you should take time to have thorough and adequate medical attention after an accident.

Concussions and traumatic brain injuries can take a while to produce symptoms. Early detection can reduce the severity of symptoms in some cases. Additionally, adequate records of your injuries can help you with a future insurance claim or a civil lawsuit.

Make sure you protect your future insurance claim

When you speak with law enforcement, make sure to provide as much detail as you recall. It's important not to apologize for the accident or assume any blame if it was caused by the person in the car, truck or SUV that hit you.

Instead, point out the steps you took to be safe and explain what you recall, like suddenly seeing an open door blocking your lane or trying to move to the side when a car cut into the bike lane. If the officer's report in any way implies that you were at fault, even partially, it could limit your insurance coverage or result in a less-optimal outcome to your claim.

Explore all your options for compensation

An insurance company could try to pressure you into taking a low settlement. Be careful about agreeing to anything before fully reviewing the terms. Many times, first offers are far too low. Depending on the situation, insurance alone may not cover your financial losses. When that happens, you may need to consider taking civil action against the driver who caused the accident.

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