Although bicyclists are a part of traffic, motorists often don't share the road properly with bike lanes — That's especially true in busy cities like New Orleans. In fact, New Orleans continues to be one of the most dangerous places to bicycle in America, with four cyclist deaths per 100,000 people.
If you live in New Orleans and have been involved in a bicycle accident, then it's time to contact the New Orleans bike accident lawyers at Schwartz Law. As leading New Orleans auto accident attorneys, we're equipped to handle any case—no matter how complicated your situation.
New Orleans Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Founded in 1997, with offices in Metairie and Baton Rouge, Schwartz Law specializes in workers' compensation and personal injury, including auto accidents like bicycles.
Schwartz Law Firm was ranked Top 20 Best Car Accident Attorneys in the New Orleans area, with thousands of cases settled and more than $1 million in client damages recovered every year.
What To Do If You're Involved in a Bicycle Accident
No matter the severity, getting into a bicycle-related accident is a scary time for just about anybody.
In the minutes following the crash, it's easy to feel confused and unsure, but your next steps are potentially the most crucial moments in your life. How you handle the interaction after the accident will affect potential lawsuits, charges, and damages.
Step 1 | Call the New Orleans Police
If you're involved in an auto-related accident, you are obligated to remain at the scene of the incident until the police arrive. This is true of bike accidents as well.
Even if you haven't sustained injuries or the damage isn't too severe, any sound legal advice would tell you that New Orleans police must take their report and obtain both parties information.
Allowing the police to make a formal report may even help you in the long run. Many bicyclists overlook injuries until later on, and even small ones can turn into significant problems down the line. Be thorough and honest when sharing your report with the police.
Step 2 | Talk With the Other Motorist or Injured Bicyclist
Although you may be seeing red after an accident, try to keep your cool and speak with the other motorist about exchanging information.
Write down their name, address, phone number, driver's license number, license plate number, and insurance policy number. If you're unable to do this because you're hurt, ask a bystander for help.
Don't forget one of the most important rules of being in an auto accident or bicycle accident: Even if you think you're at fault, never admit fault. A bicycle accident lawyer will tell you that anything you say can be used against you by the other motorist's lawyers. It's as though you're admitting guilt for causing the situation.
That being said, you should also avoid negotiating with the other party and refuse to take any money intended to cover any damages or medical expenses. This could hurt a potential bicycle accident case you may choose to pursue later. Instead, economic damages and monetary compensation are details best handled by our New Orleans bicycle accident lawyers.
Step 3 | Collect Evidence and Document What Happened
It's critical to document the bike accident scene and collect as much evidence as possible — especially if it's before the police arrive. Without proof of how everything happened, you could get into an intense game of “he said, she said” with the driver's insurance company or attorneys.
Here's what you can do to document the scene of an accident in New Orleans bike accident:
- Obtain the names and phone numbers of any witnesses at the scene
- Take plenty of photos of the scene
- Account for all the details, including when and how it happened
- Make notes about the road, traffic, and weather conditions
- Take pictures of the scene, which includes streets, signs, bike lanes, no passing zones, and traffic lights
- Capture photos of any property damage, damage to your vehicle or bike, and any injuries on your body (make them as detailed as possible)
Don't assume that the police will ask all the right questions: Share everything with law enforcement so they can document your experience in the official police report as well.
Step 4 | Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Seeing a doctor is one of the most important things you can do after you've been in a bicycle accident. Even if you don't feel you have serious injuries, you should receive a physical to ensure no underlying issues like a concussion.
It's also helpful to have a written evaluation and proof that you visited the doctor, especially if an injury flares up later on. This way, you'll have recorded evidence of your physical and health status after the accident. If you need to support ongoing medical bills, this paper trail will be essential.
Step 5 | Get a New Orleans Bicycle Accident Lawyer On Your Side
The best way to protect yourself in something as significant as a car accident is to get advice from a professional personal injury attorney with experience helping bicycle riders receive the justice they deserve.
A New Orleans bicycle accident lawyer can help you assess potential economic and non-economic damages during a free case review.
Legal assistance is also essential when it's time to combat the car insurance companies, which are notorious for minimizing bike accidents and diminishing your case's value. Your insurance company, as well as insurers of the other party, will always try to offer lower settlements than you deserve and use anything against you if you decide to press charges.
This is why the attorney-client relationship is so essential — the fact is that insurance companies are not your friend, even if you pay to have insurance coverage.
They aim to retain their money, and the result is that they'll devalue and downplay the circumstances of your experience as much as possible. So be sure that you don't speak with any insurance company before consulting with an attorney.
Your lawyer can also investigate the bicycle accident and represent you if a lawsuit comes about. They will help you make the right decisions so that you can get the best settlement possible.
Schwartz Law Firm Can Help You Today
Bicyclists are treated the same as drivers, which means that you have the same rights as any motorist. Unfortunately, bicycle accidents happen, and not every driver chooses to obey traffic laws.
It's not fair that you should be treated any differently regarding your health, property, and general wellbeing if you've been in a bicycle accident. That's why you need bicycle accident attorneys who will fight for your rights until the very end.
With over 25 years of combined experience, Christopher Schwartz and William Brierre can
- Determine the best path to a desirable outcome that works for you
- Help you proceed with the process if you decide to press charges
- Negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf
- Represent you if the case reaches the stages of a lawsuit
There's a reason why attorneys at Schwartz Law Firm make the list of New Orleans's Top 20 Best Car Accident Attorneys. With over $1 million recovered annually in client damages, we are as effective in litigation as we are compassionate with our clients.
If you're involved in an accident in New Orleans, you must take these essential steps right away and seek expert bicycle accident attorneys in Metairie and Baton Rouge at Schwartz Law Firm.
Contact Schwartz Law Firm for a free consultation.