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What To Do After a Bicycle-Vehicle Collision in Tennessee

6 steps for Tennesseans to take after being in a bicycle-car accident

As more Tennessee residents are becoming conscious of the environment and seeking to live a more active lifestyle, the number of bicyclists who use the roads is also increasing. The increase in bicycle activity means a greater need for everyone to exercise extra caution when sharing the roads. This is especially true of cars, trucks and larger vehicles.

Unfortunately, vehicles do occasionally collide with bicycles and cause severe injury to the bike rider.

A car may collide with a bicycle for several reasons. Speeding is one of the more common causes of bicycle accidents. Bicycles have a shorter stopping distance due to their compact size and light weight. In contrast, cars require a larger stopping distance to react to changing road conditions. If a bicycle enters the path of a speeding vehicle or makes an abrupt stop, the speeding vehicle is more likely to collide with the bicycle. Other causes of bicycle accidents include intoxication, road hazards and dangerous weather conditions.

The following guidelines will help bicyclists better understand what to do if a car collides with a bicycle.

Step 1: Call for help

In any motor vehicle accident, each party's safety and physical well-being should always be everyone's top concern. If you are the accident victim, call 911 to request police and emergency medical personnel to the scene. Common injuries in bicycle accidents may range from scratches, cuts and bruises to broken bones, internal damage to paralysis, severe brain trauma and death.

Step 2: Exchange information

If you are alert and able, exchange contact information with the other party and copy their license plate. When communicating with the other party, be certain to limit your conversation to avoid commenting on the accident. You should specifically aim to avoid apologizing or making statements that may be interpreted as an assumption of fault. In addition to collecting the other party's information, you should aim to collect the names and contact information of people who witnessed the accident.

Step 3: Document the accident scene

You should quickly take photos of the accident scene if it is safe to do so. If possible, you and the other party should work together to preserve the accident scene by leaving the vehicle and bicycle in the positions in which they landed after impact. Both parties may be required to move to the side of the road following an accident. By taking pictures prior to clearing the road, you will gather evidence from the scene that may prove useful if you decide to file a legal claim.

Step 4: See a doctor

As soon as possible, seek medical attention.

Even if you do not feel like you have sustained an injury, we urge you to undergo a medical evaluation as many injuries don’t display symptoms until hours or even a full day after the accident. Some injuries may also occur internally; therefore, you may not notice the injury on your own at first.

Step 5: Contact a bicycle accident attorney near you

After you call for medical personnel, your second call should be to a trustworthy Tennessee accident attorney near you. An attorney can take on the onerous work of ensuring your injuries are properly documented and help you file a claim to receive compensation.

Furthermore, an accident attorney understands Tennessee bicycle law and can represent you in negotiations with the insurance company and, if necessary, in court. Car accident victims may receive compensation for medical expenses as well as potentially for lost wages.

In cases in which the victim is deceased, the victim's certain members of the victim's immediate family may file a claim on the accident victim's behalf. Certain family members, such as the victim's spouse and children, may receive compensation for loss of companionship and loss of income. In some cases, the victim's parents may file a claim if they don’t have a spouse or children.

Step 6: Negotiate with insurance companies

While it may seem tempting to accept the first offer the other party's insurance company makes, the first offer is often an attempt on the plaintiff's insurance company's behalf to simply settle the case for as little as possible. Always consult an accident attorney before deciding to accept a settlement offer in order to determine exactly how much compensation you should rightfully receive.

Gilreath & Associates is experienced in negotiating with insurance companies to obtain fair settlements for bicycle accident victims. We will be your skillful legal advocate at the negotiating table. If we are unable to obtain a reasonable settlement for you, we will proceed to court and fight for your rights.

Contact us today for your free consultation.


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