As a cyclist and bicycle crash lawyer, here are the best things you should do and know in case you are ever involved in a bike crash.
With what appears to be record numbers of bicycle crashes and more and more people riding bikes, it seems important to review what every cyclist should know from a legal perspective about hi/her bike crash. There are important things that can help preserve your rights and protect you in BOTH the immediate moments after your crash and the long ensuing court battles ahead.
1. DO call 911. Hopefully by now you know how valuable your cell phone can be when cycling. Its not just useful for cool aps such as Strava! Your cell phone is your best tool in your accident for many reasons, first and foremost it is important to immediately call 911 for any medical assistance needed. Call a relative and/or a close friend as well to come out and provide any assistance you may need, such as photographing the accident, collecting your bike, providing you a ride back home, meeting you at the hospital, etc. These calls provide a clear trail that documents your injuries and often ignites the police into action for police reports and investigations if necessary. Of course there is the ambulance issue as well. Calling 911 will trigger a response from medical providers at the scene. They will make sure to check out how injured you are and may even transport you to the nearest hospital. Many of my clients don’t like the ambulance and refuse their offer of transport. I know, I get it- cyclists are tough. We all know that soccer players pretend to be injured while cyclists pretend not to be injured. But in the case of a bike crash it is best to make sure you are not injured by the appropriate medical professionals. Allow yourself to be seen, treated, and transported if necessary. Worst case is they release you that same day form your local hospital. At least all of your future rides that you suffer on will not cause any question or concern whether the “pain” and “suffering” you feel are related to your bicycle crash or just simply due to your incredibly hard training efforts! Any insurance and medical bill concerns should come second to your priority of ensuring you’re injuries are taken care of.
2. DO Get Medical Help. Seek any necessary medical attention as soon as possible. When arriving home again after the accident you should make immediate appointments with any and all necessary medical professionals to begin treatment for your injuries sustained in the bicycle accident. Any delays in treatment will be negatively viewed by the insurance companies as simply not relating to your bicycle crash. Some common medical treatments will be chiropractic care, physical therapy, orthopedic care, and more. It is important to continue seeing these doctors until they officially release you form their care. Many of my clients have to be reminded to actually go to the doctor! They sit at home with broken bones and open wounds hoping time will make it all better. While I generally applaud this mentality in every other context, it makes your legal case hell. Insurance companies are looking for any reason NOT to pay you or to pay you as little as possible. Not seeing doctors or even completing their recommended treatment plans is a recipe for legal disaster when it comes time to argue your injuries. I wish it was more plain and simple, and that good old fashioned common sense was still a prevailing mindset. But it is isn’t, and your case will need a paper trail. Your doctor visits and treatments all make up the necessary paper trail.
3. DO take lots of photos. Again, your cell phone is an important tool. Use it to capture as many photos of the accident scene as possible. Try to capture the damage to the car, the bike, and of course to your person. Take photos of the streets, the lighting, the road conditions, and anything else that may look important. If you are too injured to take photos try and ask for help from a nearby witness, or anyone who is there and willing to do so. The more pictures taken the better. If at all possible, try not to move the bicycle or the vehicle until after a few photos are taken. Use your phone to take photos of the driver’s license and insurance card as well. If you are too hurt then hopefully a riding companion or a witness nearby can take these photos for you at your request. It is ok to ask for help in doing this.
4. DO collect the names and contact information for all witnesses. Don’t assume they will be easy to contact from a police report, or by finding them on Facebook. Take the time to get their current contact information so your attorney can contact them later. Ask them to stick around until the police arrive so they can make a statement for the official report. Take pictures of their contact info if that is faster, and of them if they permit it. Tracking down witnesses later is more difficult than you think. Collect as much info as possible so you or you bicycle attorney can find them later.
5. DO get all of the contact information possible on the driver, including the make, model, color, and license plate number of the driver’s vehicle as well as all contact and insurance information for the driver. Use your cell phone to help collect this information and take photos of these important documents if you are able. As always, ask someone nearby to help and assist you in collecting this information if you are too injured to do so. If you are involved in a bike crash with NO driver- then collect as much info as possible for the bad road condition, debris, etc. as you can. It may be a construction issue and you can collect that construction company’s info, etc. Just collect all contact info you can. Later one it may prove to be much more difficult.
6. STAY OFF OF SOCIAL MEDIA. In our society social media seems to be the only way we connect or even communicate with some people. Don’t use ANY Social Media platforms to discuss the case. Don’t post about it or explain to anyone what you think happened, etc. Don’t post medical updates about your recovery, don’t post any physical activities you may or may not be doing. Stay off. Stay off. Stay off. Many of the large insurance companies have whole divisions of employees whose sole job is to scan and collect social media statements from the parties involved in accidents. They use this information to help support their positions. I have seen clients get tagged by their friends on Instagram and Face Book posts where weeks after their accident they were making a statement about how they feel a little better now. These statements are blown out of proportion and taken out of context to make it sound like no other medical treatment after such statement is even necessary. It gets crazy. Or worse, you say you’re hurt then a week later you pist a picture of yourself rock climbing, or at another bike race, etc. True story. Also- stay off strava, map my ride, my fitness pal, garmin connect, and all other platforms for tracking your rides. After your bike crash you should not be posting any rides until your doctor says you are cleared to ride again.
7. DO keep all of the GPS and Strava data from that ride. This information stored in your GPS devices (such as a Garmin, etc.) can provide helpful information about the events immediately prior to and during your bicycle accident. Many of these devices record helpful information about the % grade of the road, your speed, the time of day, the weather, and much more. This information can be helpful in establishing your own innocence in a bicycle accident, and can provide much needed details when fighting with an insurance company. Sometimes police officers wrongly issue citations to cyclists and these citations be better overturned when we have data to support our position.
8. DON’T discuss any aspect of the bicycle accident case with the driver. I wish I didn’t have to even discuss this topic, because moral decency integrity, and ethics seem to have faded away from many in our society. Nevertheless, as your lawyer it is better to err on the side of caution when you speak with the driver. Sometimes we inadvertently say sorry to the driver even though we cyclists aren’t at fault. It is human to be sorry that an crash happened, it shouldn’t mean you’re claiming responsibility. But in our day and age, that is what a jury thinks. These and other similar statements can and will be seized by the insurance companies and at fault drivers as some sort of confessional to liability. When the cops arrive and start taking statements the driver may inform the cop of your “sorry” statement and may begin to assume that you are at fault. It is certainly OK to listen to the driver go on and on about the accident, especially if he/she is admitting fault. But you should never say anything about the accident. Seriously, say nothing at all – don’t talk about how curvy the road was right there, or how crazy fast the light changed, etc. Say nothing. Just collect his/her info.
9. DON’T leave the scene of the accident until the police have told you that you are free to go. Unfortunately, leaving the scene of an accident is actually a criminal violation in many states. It is for sure in Arizona. Never leave until you have been told you are free to go. Additionally, you may be so nervous and anxious that you just want to get right on your bike in spite of the pain and the injuries you suffered and just quickly ride home (if the bike is still even somewhat functional). Such a decision is not only criminal but can actually reduce or hurt your bicycle accident claim in a serious manner as the insurance company may simply use it as evidence that you are not really injured. Many of us are pretty amped up after a bike wreck and the adrenaline alone can carry us home. Then a few days or hours later and we are in agonizing pain. Be smart and stick around until you are free to go and it is safe to do so. True story: A client of mine was hit and broke his leg in two places. He hopped up, limped to his bike and out of fear, confusion, and an overwhelming desire to get the heck out of there- he just pedaled away in agonizing pain. We settled that case, but it wasn’t easy when we were claiming how much it hurt and they kept saying it couldn’t have hurt that bad since he still rode his bike afterwards.
10. DO call an experienced bicycle accident attorney. Bicycle wrecks are unique. There isn’t a personal injury attorney on the planet who would turn your case down. Personal Injury lawyers are often like cockroaches- they’re everywhere. Every billboard, every t.v and radio commercial, every bus stop, sides of buses, just everywhere! But they don’t know a thing about cycling. They don’t know a thing about the bias and how to deal with it in our legal system. They don;t understand how your bicycle can be worth more than their receptionist’s car. And they just treat every personal injury case the same with a standard red car vs blue car scenario where the fastest settlement is what is best for them. Most lawyers are so scared of the court room they only take settlement offers. Many personal injury lawyers brag about how they can wear blue jeans and a t-shirt to work because all they do is make phone calls and write letters to get some stupid settlement offer out of the insurance company- then they sell that “offer” to you their client as the “best possible scenario give all the circumstances,” etc. It is all B.S.
That is not what you need. You need someone who knows the cycling community. Who knows your local cycling ordinances, statutes, and regulations. You need someone who actually rides bicycles. You need someone who actually goes to court and isn’t afraid to stick it to every idiot insurance company out there with a law suit. There is a very real bias out there that drivers feel towards cyclists. There is a belief that as cyclists we are somehow at fault for these “accidents.” As if we are “stupid enough” to ride on streets where cars also drive then we somehow deserve to get hit. This bias is not limited to just the drivers out there – I have seen it in police officers and insurance adjusters as well. Educating the police officers, the drivers, and the insurance companies on cyclists’ rights is the only way these cases end up receiving fair treatment. OFTEN that education comes via my lawsuit. I take them to court. I show them the laws and make the arguments necessary for my client’s success. An experienced bicycle accident lawyer will be able to help identify the key issues in a bike accident that lend to a stronger medical and financial recovery. No cyclist should have to settle for less just because when they were in an accident they were riding a bike and not driving a car.
Enjoy the ride! Hopefully you’ll never need us, but if you are ever involved in a wreck- we are here for you. My practice is exclusively for cyclists. I manage a national network of cycling attorneys who represent cyclists in every state. I ride. I race. I advocate. I choose to live and ride. #mylawyerdoesntsuck #arizonabicyclelawyer #bicyclelawyer #BAA
Ben Dodge, Esq., Endurance/Ultra Cyclist
Bicycle crash and bicycle accident lawyer Ben Dodge
A bicycle crash is not always an accident. If you, or someone you know has been injured in a bicycle crash or accident caused by a road hazard or dangerous road condition, hire a personal injury attorney who is experienced and has a successful track record. Ben Dodge, a licensed Arizona bicycle accident lawyer, has dedicated his entire firm to one purpose: representing cyclists. Bicycle accident cases are the only cases Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC handles. Home based out of the great state of Arizona, Ben can still help cyclists in the entire United States. Ben also founded Bike Accident Attorneys Network, a national network of attorneys who focus on representing cyclists. He can find you help anywhere in the country.
Ben Dodge has represented and assisted bicycle accident victims across the entire United States. As an avid and competitive cyclist himself, Mr. Dodge currently participates in national and local cycling events all over the world. It isn’t uncommon to spot him in early morning hours out riding his bike. Having competed in 8 Ironman triathlons, numerous local and national cycling races, and a successful finish in the Race Across the West 2016, he really knows what it’s like to ride and race a bike. Ben competed in the first ever Race Across France – 2018. This was a non stop 1500+ mile race across the entire country of France. He and his teammate finished 3rd. He is registered for a 2 man Race Across America (RAAM) team as well in 2019.
The day he fell in love with his job was the day he devoted himself completely to bicycle accident cases. Ben represents cyclists injured in bicycle accidents, at the police station, with insurance companies, and in the courts. He advocates for the rights of all cyclists, not just his clients. He teaches police about bike laws and bike safety, he educates drivers about the rules of the road, and he trains cyclists and clubs to ride more safely.
A consultation with experienced Arizona bicycle accident attorney Ben Dodge is free
In recent years there has been approximately 700 bicycle fatalities in the United States every single year. Approximately 2,000 bicycle accidents are reported in Arizona every year. Approximately 30 fatal bicycle accidents are reported in Arizona every year. Bicycle fatalities are terrible and horrific tragedies that affect the lives of too many families and friends to count. Understanding your rights and obligations as a cyclist can bring clarity to your specific accident situation. It will always be in your best interest to be represented by an attorney who knows the bicycle laws and has a successful track record of winning bicycle accident cases. The negotiation tactics and strategies of winning a case are extremely important, but should always take a back row seat to the litigation experience and knowledge of court room rules, local, state, and federal rules of civil procedure that can have significant impact on your bicycle accident case. Ben is certified through the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) as having completed extensive litigation courses and has demonstrated these skills over and over again. Most lawyers are pencil pushers and shouldn’t be in a court room… not Ben Dodge. He is a gifted and aggressive litigator. It is wise to be represented by someone well versed in bicycle accident law, local and state bicycle ordinances, rules, regulations, policies, and laws. You should hire someone very familiar with negligence and tort law, civil procedure, and the rules of evidence as they all relate specifically to bicycle accident cases.
Ben Dodge always offers a complimentary in person consultation to all local cyclists and a complimentary phone consultation to any cyclist injured in a bike accident. Typically the consultations are schedule from 30-60 minutes depending on the severity of the accident. You can expect to get answers to questions, clarity, information, and reassurance of your personal bike accident liability and potential for recovery. In your free consultation you can generally expect to discuss such topics as:
- Your specific bike accident details, diagrams, and pictures from your perspective and then from the perspective of your bike accident attorney.
- The applicable local, state, and federal laws underlying your case.
- Your rights as a cyclist, obligations, and any potential liability.
- The process, procedure (in and out of court), and the time frame required to conclude your case.
- The value of your case and what you might expect as compensation.
You can call Arizona bicycle lawyer Ben Dodge of Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC at 1.855.663.3922. Mr. Dodge’s staff is standing and ready to accept your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day of the year. Ben will personally return your call within 24 hours. There is never an obligation past a complimentary consultation with Mr. Dodge. His passion is in representing cyclists and his entire office stands ready to serve with kindness and patience.
Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC
Call Ben Dodge, the Bicycle Lawyer today at 1.855.663.3922. Reach him by fax at 1.800.958.8902.
Mr. Dodge can also be reached by email at email@example.com
His main Arizona offices are located at:
Mesa Arizona (home base office)
4824 E. Baseline Rd., Suite 124
Mesa, Arizona 85206
Phoenix Arizona office
2415 e. Camelback Rd., suite 700
Phoenix, Arizona 85016
Tucson Arizona office
One South Church Avenue, 12th Floor
Tucson, Arizona 85701
Mr. Dodge represents cyclists in the entire state of Arizona including but not limited to Mesa, Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma, Gilbert, Peoria, Glendale, Scottsdale, Ahwatukee, Tempe, Chandler, Prescott, Sedona, Flagstaff, Surprise, Kingman, Page, Lake Havasu City, Payson, Goodyear, Buckeye, Queen Creek, Paradise Valley, Show Low, Winslow, Maricopa, Nogales, Globe, Avondale, Cave Creek, Fountain Hills, Apache Junction, Carefree, Wickenburg, Pinetop-Lakeside, Strawberry, Anthem, Safford, and more. Ben Dodge is currently involved with bicycle accident cases all over the country and has founded BikeAccidentAttorneys.com a National Network of independent and incredible bicycle lawyers that can assist in representation in all 50 states.