Colorado Bicycle Accident Lawyers: Litigation
Many of us live in Colorado because of the beauty and the ability to get outdoors. One of the best ways to do this is on a bike. Unfortunately, many dangers lurk for those of us that ride bikes on a regular basis including other bikes, cars, roadway obstacles and pedestrians. Regardless how safe you ride or what safety equipment you use, bike crashes happen. When they do, it’s important to know what to do and who to contact.
Take Action Immediately
When a bike crash happens, if you are able, you must take immediate action. This means calling the police immediately. Do not move any vehicles until the police arrive and fully cooperate with the police. Request an ambulance even if you think you are only slightly hurt. Oftentimes, adrenaline and outside factors take over and the body attempts to shield the brain from thinking you are hurt. It is only later that evening or the next day that you realize you are injured.
While still at the scene, if you are able, document everything conceivable. This includes all information about the person that caused you to crash. Get their name, phone number and insurance information. Write down the license plate of the car they are in. Photograph everything, including the other car, the roadway, the obstruction, your injuries, your equipment and anything else you feel could be important.
If you have any suspicion of being injured, go see a health care professional immediately. This can be the emergency room, urgent care or your primary care physician, but see someone right away. They will be able to evaluate the injury and get you to the right specialist if need be. Common mistakes people make is trying to “push through the pain”. Many times, the pain gets worse the days after an accident and waiting only prolongs the suffering and, in many cases, actually makes the injury worse. Don’t be afraid to use an ambulance if you feel you need to seek immediate care. Remember, the longer you wait to receive the care you need, the worse off your legal case becomes.
Document Your Case
Bicycle cases must be proven. One of the best ways to prove something is by using evidence of what you are trying to prove. The days, weeks and months following an accident can be very traumatic, but like many traumatic events, the memory of the trauma fades with time. It is extremely important to document everything, especially in the days and weeks immediately after the traumatic event. Write down and photograph everything possible from the accident. Cuts, abrasions, and bruises go away so they must be documented. Keep a log or diary of all appointments, events missed, wages lost, and even conversations you may have so this information is not lost with time.
Immediately following a biking accident or crash, you may be contacted by an insurance company or insurance companies. Speaking with the insurance company can be a crucial mistake. Put simply, do not speak to anyone, either in writing or verbally, about your accident without first consulting with an attorney. Insurance adjusters frequently call potential claimants to try to get information and attempt to settle cases early. They know the claimants probably haven’t retained an attorney yet and this is their opportunity to get rid of the case quickly and cheaply. The insurance company will attempt to record your conversation, get you to make admissions, get you to sign a medical authorization, and may try to trick you into settling your claim before you know the full extent of your damages. Remember, even if it’s your own insurance company, do not speak to them without consulting with an attorney.
The insurance company wants to settle your case as quickly as they can and for as little as they can. Before they can do this, they need your signature. Be extremely careful because you could be giving up a lot more than you had originally thought when you sign on the dotted line. For example, if you give the insurance company a signed medical authorization, you are allowing them access to your entire medical history including things that have nothing to do with your claim. Unless you are prepared to settle your entire claim, do not accept any checks from the insurance company that purport to be a release for your “entire claim”. Even if you think it’s only to get your bike fixed. Remember, insurance companies are very skilled at what they do, you are not. Consult with an attorney before you sign anything.
Avoid Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. are great ways to keep up with your circle of friends and acquaintances. Unfortunately, like everything on the internet, they perpetually exist and cannot be completely erased. They are also all discoverable in litigation. People are drawn to telling their friends all about an accident and the injuries they incurred. They also may try to maintain a positive attitude about their injuries and tell everyone how well they are doing. Because social media only gives little snippets of what is truly taking place, oftentimes these posting can be twisted and misconstrued to cause serious damage to a bodily injury biking claim. Before posting, think long and hard as to how other can perceive the information.
The vast majority of people have never hired a lawyer and many of them never will. There is something inherently “weak” about admitting you need help. Many people think they can trust the insurance company more than a lawyer or they feel they will end up with more money in their pocket if they don’t have to pay an attorney. This is what the insurance company wants you to believe. The fact is, the insurance company has a team of adjusters, investigators and attorneys who are all working against you and trying to minimize their payout. You need an attorney to even the playing field because you are completely outgunned and outmatched by the insurance company. They know what they are doing and if you don’t, things can turn out very badly. Hiring an attorney will level this playing field and will put a partner and an advocate on your side.
At Zinda Law Group, we have provided counsel to many bicycle accident victims and their loved ones throughout Colorado. We are avid cyclists ourselves and are keenly aware of the legal nuances involved as well as the emotional support necessary to help the biking victims and their loved ones cope with their loss.
We provide a free initial consultation to all of our clients. You can contact us through our website or call us at 303-800-1501. We handle all of our cases on a contingency fee arrangement. There is no charge to our clients unless a recovery is obtained.