Biking is the Future, But It Has Risks
More and more cities, Allentown included, are working to make traveling by bike easy, safe, and common. After all, biking is an inexpensive, and health conscious, way to get around the city. What’s more, it’s good for the environment, too. But, even as biking becomes common in many U.S. cities, there are risks. We’ve all seen or heard about terrible accidents involving bikers. Some drivers aren’t used to watching for or sharing the road with, bikers. Sometimes cities fail to keep the roads safe for bikers.
So what happens if you or a loved one is injured in a bike accident? It’s important that you contact an experienced Allentown bike accident attorney right away. The right attorney can help you recover compensation to cover your medical bills, damage to your bike, and more.
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What Should I Do If I’m In a Bike Accident?
There’s no way around it, being in an accident is scary and overwhelming. For that reason, our first thought after a bike accident is rarely “what evidence do I need to successfully recover for my injuries in a personal injury claim?” It’s completely understandable; injuries after a bike accident are often traumatic, and you and your family are focused on recovery. However, in the days, if not the moments, after a bike accident, sometimes vital evidence can be lost.
Contact First Responders
It’s important to involve law enforcement, even if you think doing so is overkill. The resulting accident report can be the key evidence to ensure your ability to recover compensation. Law enforcement can document the scene, interview the parties involved and witnesses, and more to ensure the accident is properly documented.
Furthermore, try to find out (you can ask) for which department the responding officers work. For example, are they Pennsylvania State Police? A Sheriff’s Office? Or do they work for a specific city or town? There are many different law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania (and across the country), so knowing where a police report was filed and where the officers work could be invaluable.
Seek Medical Attention
You should also get medical attention right away. Even if you think your injuries are minor, it’s important to be seen by a medical provider. There are many reasons for this.
First, sometimes you can’t immediately tell if you’ve been seriously injured. For example, symptoms of a brain injury sometimes take hours, if not days, to appear fully. A doctor can help determine whether you have a brain injury, and getting medical attention early is key.
Second, in a personal injury claim, you’ll have to prove that your injuries were caused by the bike accident. For that reason, a medical professional’s evaluation immediately after the accident can be key to eliminating the ability of an at-fault party or insurance company to argue that your injury was caused by something other than the accident.
Third, your medical records document the severity of your injuries and can be used to prove the extent of them in court.
Of course, after an accident, the first priority is your health. But, to the extent you can, you should try to photograph the scene of the accident. This means you should take pictures of the car that hit you, the intersection or part of the road on which the accident happened, and the damage done to your bike and the other vehicle. If your accident was caused by something in the road, for example, a large tree branch or a fallen sign or light pole, be sure to photograph it.
Take a picture of where your bike ended up after the accident as well as any injuries. Again, assuming you can, you should photograph your injuries at the scene of the accident, later when you seek medical care, and again when you return home and the full extent of your physical injuries (like bruises) are more visible.
Don’t stop at pictures. Feel free to take a video. Remember, quality over quantity. You want to be able to use these pictures to recreate what happened.
It’s also okay to take pictures even if law enforcement does, too. In fact, you still should. Better to have too many than not enough.
If there are other people around, be sure to write their names down, and contact information or address, if you can get it. You can just let them know that you’re not planning on contacting them, but you want to be able to in case the responsible party tries to dispute what happened.
What Do I Have To Prove After a Bike Accident?
Because every case will be different—because every accident is different—it is important to first understand what it means to bring a “personal injury” claim. While of course, your attorney will do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to the law, in many ways, it is helpful that you know the basic framework of your claim. For example, knowing the elements of your case may help you identify and preserve important evidence at the moment
What follows is just a brief introduction. If you have questions, the bike accident lawyers at Munley Law are more than happy to discuss your case with you free of charge. During an initial consultation, we can listen to what happened, explain your rights, and help explain what evidence we will need to prove your claim.
A Negligence Lawsuit
A personal injury lawsuit usually means a negligence lawsuit. That means you have to prove that the driver that hit you, or the city responsible for maintaining the road or bike lane, was negligent.
You’ve likely heard of “negligence” lawsuits before. Negligence is a legal concept and has a special meaning in the law. Typically, it just means that someone owed you a duty to act with a certain level of care, and they failed to act carefully, which caused you injuries.
There are four elements of a negligence claim: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
- Duty: this means that the defendant, the person who did wrong, owed you a duty not to cause harm. Whether a duty exists is a complex question. But generally, under the law, a person owes you a duty to not cause foreseeable harm by their actions. That means that you can hold a driver, or perhaps even the city, responsible because they owed you a duty as a biker on the road.
- Breach: to prove breach, you must prove that the wrongdoer failed to act according to a specific standard of care. Generally, all people must act as reasonably prudent people would in a given situation. If a driver hits you while you’re on your bike because they weren’t paying attention, or if the city fails to maintain its roads as it should, they might have breached a duty.
- Causation: causation is simple in theory, but often a complex factual and legal issue. You must prove that the breach of duty, what the wrongdoer did, caused your injuries. This can sometimes be difficult when it comes to medical injuries. That’s where expert witnesses come in.
- Damages: you must also prove that the breach of a duty caused you financial or emotional damages. This is where we must prove the amount of money involved.
How Can An Allentown Bike Accident Attorney Help?
Why do you need a lawyer? The right bike accident attorney is always going to work to make sure your rights are protected in the wake of an accident.
Here are just a few reasons you shouldn’t try to navigate the aftermath of a bike crash alone:
Allentown bicycle accident lawyers can help resolve a dispute before it really starts
Of course, lawyers are familiar with fighting bike accident cases in court. But, sometimes, the best option is to resolve a dispute well before a formal lawsuit.
Whether you’re fighting with an insurance company or an individual party involved in the accident, getting a lawyer involved early can help get the case resolved faster.
Sometimes, lawyers can do this just by being involved in negotiations. After all, people are sometimes more forthcoming if they know that you are armed and ready to take a dispute to court.
Lawyers can investigate your bike accident and gather evidence for your claim
While we just briefly explained the steps you should take to preserve evidence after a bike accident, there can be a lot of ground to cover. Let an experienced bike accident attorney help. For example:
- A lawyer can identify and interview witnesses. We’ll find witnesses with information, interview them, and preserve their testimony for use in court.
- An experienced lawyer will also help gather documents and other physical evidence.
- Furthermore, sometimes you will need an expert witness. This could be a medical expert who can testify to your injuries and how they will impact your life. It could also be an expert tasked with calculating the different ways the bike accident has cost you money. These witnesses can be the difference between winning and losing a case. Munley Law has worked with experts across Pennsylvania, and the country, to support our clients. We know how to do it effectively and efficiently.
Allentown bike accident attorneys will represent you in court and in negotiations with other parties
At Munley Law, we have experience working with, and against, many of the powerful players who stand in your way after a bike accident, be it insurance companies, the city, or high-powered defense attorneys. We can make sure these powerful entities don’t overpower your interests in any negotiations. And, if it comes time to fight in court, Munley Law’s attorneys are nationally recognized for their skills in the courtroom. We’re ready to put them to work to get you the compensation you deserve.
Lawyers can help you estimate how much money you could recover and help you weigh your options
After a bike accident, you and your family will undoubtedly have questions, and it’s completely common to not know whether, and how, to seek compensation from the at-fault party. An experienced lawyer can help. At Munley Law, during a free consultation, we can help you estimate how much money you could be entitled to, and we can help present your options in plain English.
What Can Munley Law Do To Help After a Bike Accident?
For more than 60 years, Munley Law has been the go-to firm for those injured in accidents and their families. The bike accident attorneys at Munley Law understand how bike accidents can change your life, and no firm is more experienced in representing accident victims, in Pennsylvania and around the country.
At Munley Law, we believe that cost should not stand in the way of justice for the injured. Therefore, we do not collect a fee for our services unless we recover benefits for you. As our client, you will not have to pay anything upfront or out of your pocket. Our fee gets paid exclusively out of the money we recover for you.
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