The police report:
Hopefully, in any serious injury or death bicycle accident case, the police will be called to the scene and will conduct an investigation and prepare a police report. The police report is a public document and can be obtained by the plaintiff, or plaintiff’s attorneys or investigators a reasonable time after it is completed.
Although the police report itself cannot come into evidence at the time of the trial (it can come into evidence, however, at most arbitrations), the findings of the investigating officers can be elicited through the officer’s testimony at trial and can be utilized by the expert witnesses in the case.
Thus, a plaintiff should always obtain a police report in a bicycle accident case.
Investigation by the plaintiff attorney:
Whether or not a police report is created, a plaintiff’s attorney, either personally, through an investigator or both, should investigate the accident scene. It is normally useful if possible for the plaintiff to be present during the investigation.
Obviously, the sooner an accident scene can be investigated the better; however, even some time after an accident, there may be useful evidence to collect at a scene, such as skid marks, vehicle debris, ruts in the road and scrape marks.
In addition, the condition of the accident scene itself may provide useful information for the case, such as the existence of signs, lights and other factors that can contribute to an accident. Pictures should always be taken documenting the condition of the scene as close to the time of the accident as possible, and in appropriate cases, videotapes.
Maintaining the bicycle and helmet:
It is critical that the bicycle be maintained in the exact condition it was in when it came to rest at the time of the accident and, in cases involving head injuries, traumatic brain injuries or wrongful death, that the helmet the plaintiff was wearing at the time of the accident also be maintained. Failure to do so may seriously compromise a plaintiff’s case.
At the Injury Law Clinic, we can assist someone who has been injured as a result of a bicycle accident. Call today for a free consultation (877) 215-3LAW (3529).