What to Do After a Bike Accident in Missouri
Posted in Lawsuit on June 15, 2019
Bike accidents involving cars pose a serious threat to riders, more-so than they do to the car driver involved. Bicycles are lightweight and have very small frames compared to motor vehicles. This makes them extremely susceptible to severe injuries during car-bike impact. After a bike accident, tensions might run high, but it is important to remember several key tips after the collision.
Call the Police
After a collision, call the police. If either party sustained injuries that require immediate medical attention, mention this to the operator. Exchange insurance and contact information with the driver while waiting for law enforcement. After communicating with the officer, remember to ask how to request a copy of the police report. This is a form of evidence.
If you are well enough to do so, gather evidence. Take pictures of the accident location, the positioning of the vehicle/bike, and the damage caused by the accident. If any witnesses are around the accident scene, reach out to them. Ask if they will give a statement and/or provide their contact information. Witness testimony is a valuable form of evidence.
After addressing evidence available immediately at the scene, write down your account of the accident while it is still fresh in your mind. Having a solid, relevant account to refer to prevents you from accidentally omitting or adding details when giving your statement to insurance companies.
Begin seeking treating for your accident-related injuries. Take photos of any bruising or scarring the accident created. Medical bills, records, and photos of bodily damage are pieces of evidence proving the severity of your injuries.
Call an Attorney
Though you must contact your insurance company within a set time period, it is wise to consult with an attorney first. Even if it’s just a free consultation, consulting with a skilled Kansas City bike accident attorney can give you knowledge about how to talk to your insurance company and how to give your statement. If you can accomplish this within your insurance company’s statute of limitations, consult a lawyer for legal advice before calling the insurance company.
Missouri’s Fault-Based System
Because Missouri is a pure comparative fault-based system, the court assigns each driver a percentage that corresponds with the amount of damage they caused in the accident. A pure comparative fault system allows either party, no matter their fault rating, to pursue legal action. The only caveat to this rule is the court removes their fault percentage from their total compensation. For example, if a driver with a 50% fault rating receives a gross compensation of $20,000, their actual net compensation is $10,000.
Why Do I Need a Bike Accident Lawyer?
Drivers who choose to file against the other driver’s insurance company must negotiate with their claims adjustors. It can be risky to take part in settlement negotiation on your own. Insurance adjustors do not have your best interest in mind and try to save money by offering settlements that don’t accurately account for all damages caused by the accident.
An attorney not only helps you gather evidence to bring to the negotiation table as well. Many lawyers offer witness interviewing/testimony, expert witness consultation, and investigation into all evidence ensures your case is as sound as it could possibly be. In the mediation room, an attorney will help you during the negotiation process overall, advising you on what not to say and what offers not to take. And if you bring your case to court, they will represent and advise you in that context as well.
Bike accidents can be debilitating and cost more than medical bills when it comes to living with injury. The emotional told can be heady, especially in life-threatening situations. If you find yourself recovering from a bike accident and wish to seek compensation for your emotional and physical damage, consult a lawyer to explore your options.