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What To Do After A Bicycle Crash In Washington State

Bicycling is increasing in popularity as people seek alternative forms of exercise, transportation, and recreation; therefore, the number of bicycles on Washington State roads is increasing. Fortunately for Washington's cyclists, Washington is the most bicycle-friendly state in the US.

It is important for bicyclists and motorists to be aware of each other on the roads to avoid bicycle crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 743 individuals were killed in bicycle crashes and another 48,000 were injured during 2013. Bicyclists can reduce the risk of serious injury while riding by learning and following all Washington State Bicycle Laws.

Washington State Bicycle Laws

Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers do when riding on our roads and streets. Washington State has specific bicycle laws designed to keep bicyclists safe by preventing bicycle crashes. The state bicycle laws can be found in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Title 46 Chapter 46.61.750 through 46.61.991. Bicyclists should be familiar with all of the laws in this code section; however, some important laws that every bicyclist should know include:

What Should You Do If You Are In a Bicycle Crash in Washington State?

If you are involved in a bicycle crash in Washing State, it is important that you know what to do immediately following the crash to protect yourself and your legal rights.

Remain at the Scene and Contact the Police  Do not leave the crash scene until the police have completed their investigation and notified you that you are free to go unless remaining at the crash scene will endanger your life by prolong medical care.

Give Your Statement to the Police Officer  Make sure that the police offer takes your statement of events and notates them in the report. It is important that your version of events is included in the police report. If the officer refuses to take your statement, write your statement as soon as possible, contact the policed department and request that the report be amended to include your statement.

Obtain Contact Information for the Driver  Get the driver's name, address, and other contact information before leaving the crash scene. You also need to ask for the person's driver's license number and insurance information. It is also a good idea to notate the make, model, and color of the vehicle as well as the tag number for the vehicle.

Seek Medical Attention  If your injuries require immediate medical attention, go to the hospital. For minor injuries, see your family doctor as soon as possible. You must document your injuries regardless of the severity of the injury. Furthermore, you may not be aware of some injuries unless you seek medical attention.

Save Your Broken Equipment For Proof Of Damages  Take pictures of your bicycles and any other equipment or property that was damaged in the crash. Save everything to document your damages.

Collecting Damages From the Driver's Insurance Company

You are entitled to receive compensation for your damages in a bicycle crash from the driver responsible for the crash. Just as with an automobile crash, the insurance company for the motorist will pay your hospital bills and lost wages if you can prove that the driver was at fault for the crash.

When writing a demand letter to the insurance company for reimbursement of your hospital bills and lost wages, use a formal format and include detailed information regarding the crash and your damages. The letter should begin with your personal contact information, the date, contact information for the insurance adjuster, the name of the driver, the date of loss, and a claim number if one has been assigned.

Provide detailed information of the crash including what the at-fault driver did and what you did to try to avoid the crash. Provide as many details as you can describing how you were injured in the crash. For example, “I was thrown from my bicycle when the driver failed to stop at the intersection causing my head to forcefully hit the payment. Upon striking the pavement, my helmet cracked in two places as shown in the enclosed photographs.

Provide details of your medical care including whether you were transported to the hospital immediately after the crash. Include the contact information for each medical facility and physician who treated you for your injuries and a list of tests and treatments performed. Include copies of all medical records to substantiate your injuries.

With a carefully written demand letter and proof that you were following Washington’s rules of the road, you should have little difficulty getting reimbursed for your medical bills, lost wages, and more.

*This article was not written by an attorney, and the accuracy of the content is not warranted or guaranteed. If you wish to receive legal advice about a specific problem, you should contact a licensed attorney in your area.

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