Most cyclists understand that biking comes with certain inherent risks. But in Hawaii, bicyclists enjoy the same legal rights and responsibilities as any other driver. Unfortunately, motorists don’t always exercise the care and caution they should when sharing the road with cyclists.
By nature of the sport, bicyclists do not have the same physical protections that motorists do. That means riders are at a much greater risk of serious and catastrophic injuries when a bicycle accident occurs.
Did a negligent driver hit you on Oahu? You could be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but it’s crucial to take certain steps to protect your rights. Here are 10 tips for what to do after a crash from the Honolulu bicycle accident lawyers at Recovery Law Center.
Wait for Law Enforcement to Arrive
If there are any injuries, fatalities, or significant property damage, Hawaii law requires you to call the police. You may have injuries that need to be evaluated by emergency medical services, and if you leave the scene without talking to the police, you won’t get the chance to tell them what happened. Furthermore, you and the driver who hit you both have a legal obligation to stay at the scene in the event of an accident. Even a bicycle rider can be charged with a hit-and-run.
Never Negotiate with the Driver
The driver who hit you may offer to pay for your medical bills and other losses after an accident to avoid involving the police. Don’t accept any offer from the driver, even if they apologize and admit fault. You might not be fully aware of the extent of your injuries until you seek medical treatment. Instead, seek medical attention first, and contact an experienced bicycle accident lawyer to discuss your rights and legal options.
Obtain Driver Information
Make sure to get the driver’s name, phone number, address, and insurance information. You’ll also want to get the make, model, and license plate number for the vehicle. If they try to flee the scene, get as much information as you can about the driver and the car so the police can try to track them down.
Talk to Witnesses
Eyewitness accounts can be crucial evidence since they can support your story or fill in gaps about the crash that you and your lawyer don’t yet have. If any third parties witnessed the collision, get their name, phone number, email address, and address.
Document What Happened
The more evidence you have from the scene of the accident, the better. If you’re able, take as many pictures of the crash scene as possible. Include photos of the damage to your bike, the damage to the car that hit you, any debris left at the scene, and the surrounding environment. If your injuries prevent you from taking pictures, ask someone else to take some for you.
Make Sure the Police Take Your Report
Don’t leave the scene of the crash without giving the police your account of what happened. Keep your statement brief, and don’t accept any blame for the accident. Unless you offer your side of the story, the police will rely on the other driver’s report.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention and Document Your Injuries
See a doctor as soon as possible after the crash. You’ll need to make sure that your injuries are promptly diagnosed and treated. You’ll also want to have an official medical record created right away. This medical record is often vital to any injury claim you have to make. Insurance companies are often skeptical of any “gap” in treatment, so a medical record links your injuries to the bicycle accident.
To get full compensation for your injuries, you’ll need strong evidence in support of your claim. Make sure to keep the pictures from the scene, your medical records, contact information for any witnesses, and any other evidence you have. You can also contact the police and ask them for a copy of their accident investigation report.
Never Negotiate with an Insurance Company
Don’t accept an insurance settlement without talking to a lawyer first. Insurance companies make money by paying out as little as possible in a claim unless they’re compelled to pay more. They may offer a quick settlement because they know you need the money, but accepting their initial offer may bar you from recovering additional compensation later on.
Seek Advice from an Experienced Bike Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been hurt in a bike accident in Hawaii, contact the Recovery Law Center right away for help. Our Honolulu bicycle accident lawyers will provide you with a free case evaluation to discuss your rights and legal options. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain by scheduling a free consultation with our compassionate legal team. Call or contact us today.