Even Non-Car Owners Need to Know How to Handle Accident Claims
Whether they drive down a roadway, ride in a bike lane or walk down a sidewalk, all people face the risk of accidental injuries from the moment they step out of their homes. Vehicle accidents are not reserved for motorists; everyone needs to be prepared to effectively handle accidents.
Our Charlotte bicycle accident lawyers want everyone in North Carolina to know the basic steps that can get them the medical treatment they need and the compensation they deserve when their injuries are caused by the actions of other individuals.
The Importance of 911
For any accident, someone at the scene should call 911 right away. This call makes virtually any type of emergency personnel and equipment available to extricate trapped victims, get the injured to the hospital and document information about the accident. Nothing is more important than everyone’s health and safety.
Remaining at the Scene
NC bicyclists and pedestrians should review A Guide to North Carolina Bicycle and Pedestrian Laws, which explains the duty to stop in the event of an accident or collision. Of course, anyone with severe injuries cannot remain at the scene; however, anyone who can remain at the scene of an accident has three primary responsibilities:
• Offer assistance and information: This ranges from helping injury victims to providing information to police. This is not, however, the time to admit fault or offer theories about what might have caused the accident.
• Exchange identifying information: Individuals on bikes or on foot may not have licenses or insurance cards, but they should have a state ID or other official identifying document. When motor vehicles are involved in the accident, it is important to write down contact, license and insurance information. Obtaining contact information from witnesses is also helpful.
• Collect evidence: Use a cell phone camera to take pictures of the accident scene, including the positions of all vehicles, property damage, skid marks on the road, weather conditions and injuries. Ask police for a copy of the accident report, as well. Be sure to retain everything related to the accident, including damaged vehicles, clothing or other possessions. Never arrange for repairs until an insurance claims adjustor or your attorney advises you to do so.
• Take notes and retain medical records: As soon as possible, start recording recollections about the occurrences before, during and after the accident, including overheard conversations that may be helpful in establishing an insurance claim or a legal case down the road.
When to Call a Lawyer
For minimal injuries and property damage, the chances are that a simple insurance claim can effectively reimburse victims for their losses. However, if there are any signs of difficulty — or in the case of severe injuries —it costs nothing to consult with a motor vehicle accident attorney as soon as possible to help preserve your rights to full compensation.