Hit by a Car While Cycling in Utah? Follow These Steps

Utah is touted as a bike-friendly state, but a rash of fatalities earlier this year has cyclists feeling alarmed. By August of 2022, 11 cyclists have been killed. That’s more fatalities than have been reported during any full year in the past decade.

Vehicle drivers should share the road with cyclists, give ample clearance when passing bikes, and watch out for cyclists when opening their car door. Unfortunately, drivers don’t always respect and protect cyclists.

The uptick in cycling death tracks with a national trend of rising traffic fatalities. These deaths notched a 16-year high last year, and the first quarter of this year’s traffic fatalities had reached a 20-year high.

The surge has been blamed on distracted drivers, an increase in SUVs and big trucks on the road, and more aggressive driving.

At LifeLaw, we have seen too many cyclists injured by careless drivers. Our Utah personal injury attorneys urge you to cycle with increased caution and be prepared in the event that you are the victim of a cycling accident.

What to do if you are Injured in a Cycling Accident

The steps you take immediately after an accident can transform the outcome of your personal injury case. These steps may not be possible if you are unconscious or too badly injured, but if you are well enough to follow these steps, or have a friend or acquaintance help with these steps, you will have a far higher chance of recovering losses after your accident.

If you are injured, call 911.

Make this call immediately, or have someone make it for you. Do not decline an ambulance ride to the hospital if it is recommended to you. Driving yourself to the hospital while injured and rattled can be a recipe for disaster.
A lot of people worry about the cost of an ambulance, but driving to the emergency room yourself when you’re injured can be very risky and not worth the money saved. Remember that if someone else caused the accident, they will ultimately be responsible for paying for it.

Call the police.

Ask the police to come to the scene of the accident and make a report. Tell them what happened and describe any injuries that you sustained or discomfort that you may be experiencing–no matter how mild.
Don’t assume that their report is accurate. Double check it to make sure that they have all of the details correct. Ask how you can get a copy of the report.

Get the names and insurance information of all parties involved in the accident.

You can write it down, type it into your phone, or snap a picture of their insurance card.

Get the names and contact numbers of witnesses.

Get as many as possible. The person who hit you may be so nice and apologetic that it might seem impossible that they would ever change their story. However, countless times, we have seen people switch their account of the accident to protect their own interests. Having third party witnesses can ensure that the truth gets told.

Get medical help.

If your injuries are mild enough that you don’t think they merit a 911 call, it’s still best to talk to a doctor. We have seen many people sustain brain, neck, and back injuries that weren’t apparent at the scene of the accident.
Your doctor can often identify injuries before you do. They can keep you from injuring yourself further and recommend treatments and therapies that will help you heal faster.
This doctor’s visit is also critical for building your personal injury case if you decide to file one. Having a doctor identify your injuries immediately after the accident can bolster your case in the event that the opposing party’s insurance company tries to underplay your injuries or pass them off as pre-existing conditions.

Take photos.

Photos can provide critical evidence for determining who is at fault in the accident. Photograph your bike, your helmet (if it was affected), visible injuries to your body, the car that hit you, a wide shot of the road where you were hit (including skid marks), any other property damage (road signs, fences, etc.) Take pictures from multiple angles–think all four corners! If in doubt, photograph it.

Contact an attorney.

The quicker you contact a personal injury lawyer, the quicker they can start gathering the proper evidence to support your case. If you wait too long, critical windows for collecting the right evidence can close.

Avoid talking to insurance representatives.

The motorist’s insurance company may try to contact you right away, but tell them that you want them to talk to your attorney. The insurance company may try to get you to admit fault in the accident or claim that your injuries existed before the accident.
An experienced auto accident attorney will see through the strategies of Big Insurance. They can act as an intermediary between you and the insurance company and ensure that they don’t trick you into saying something that could hurt your case.
At LifeLaw, we understand the importance of advocating for cyclists. Our Director of Claims, David Francis, was a member of the U.S. Cycling Team for three years, racing alongside teammates like Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie, and Jonathan Vaughters. He continues to bike throughout Utah and beyond and takes great care in representing victims of cycling accidents and helping them get on the road to full physical and financial recovery.