Bicycle Accidents in Colorado: Know Your Rights
From the eastern plains to the Rocky Mountains, Colorado has the beautiful weather, roads, paths, and trails that draw numerous bicyclists to the state, recreational riders and professional racers alike. But if you are unlucky enough to find yourself involved in a bicycle accident in Colorado, there are a few basic things you should be aware of:
- You have the right to ask law enforcement personnel to investigate the accident. Reporting the accident will initiate an investigation, and create an official record of the incident. Failing to report an accident can have a serious impact on your ability to recover any damages you may have sustained. If you were involved in a hit and run accident, it is even more important that you report the accident. Even if the hit and run driver cannot be located, you will still be able to pursue damages under the uninsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy.
- Exchange insurance information with the other party. Law enforcement personnel can help to ensure that you are getting accurate information. And always obtain legal advice before agreeing to give a recorded statement to any insurance company.
- Eyewitness testimony is often the most important evidence regarding how a bicycle accident occurred. If there are people available who saw the accident, ask them for their contact information, including name, address, and phone number. They may be able to provide valuable information later should you need to file a lawsuit to recover damages.
- Many times there is little or no physical evidence from which to reconstruct a bicycle accident. For this reason, it is important that you document the scene by photographing all visible injuries (such as road rash, contusions, broken bones, and lacerations), damaged equipment (bicycles, bicycle parts, and clothing showing damage from the accident), skid marks, and all involved bicycles and vehicles, showing them in their final resting positions after the accident.
- Don’t avoid or delay seeking medical attention. Get the care and treatment you need as soon as possible. If your injuries are serious enough, you should be transported from the scene in an ambulance for emergency medical care. Even if you don’t think you were injured or were not injured seriously, it is important that you get checked out as soon as possible, since some injuries will take days, weeks, or even months to manifest. Your medical payments coverage on your insurance policy may pay for some or all of your medical bills.
- If you do leave the scene in an ambulance, in Colorado you are entitled to file a statement as a supplement to the official traffic accident report prepared by the investigating law enforcement personnel. This can be an important tool to document your perspective of the accident, and make your own official record.
When an accident takes place between a bicycle and a car or truck, it is almost always the cyclist who fares the worst. No matter how minor or severe the collision may have been, you would be wise to contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney to discuss the accident, Colorado bicycle law, and any potential personal injury claim you might have against a negligent party.
Image by Salim Virji