One of the first things that anyone should do after a bicycle accident is to call the police. Even if you don’t think you’re injured, an officer’s presence can be beneficial. Here are the responsibilities of the police on the scene.
Investigating the Scene
An officer will investigate the scene as soon as he or she arrives. First, it is the officer’s job to make sure that everyone is safe. If an ambulance or EMTs are needed on the scene, they will also be called. The officer will make sure that all pedestrians and vehicles are out of the way of danger. Then, the officer must analyze what happened. He or she may take pictures or determine the cause of the accident based on where the vehicle and bicycle are positioned and the road conditions.
Questioning the Parties Involved
During the investigation, the police will question everyone on the scene. They will ask you, the driver, and the witnesses what happened. Generally, these conversations will take place separately. If you are feeling up to it, answer as honestly as possible. Never apologize, however. If you apologize for an accident, it could be misconstrued as you being at fault.
While on the scene, the officer may issue citations. If a vehicle was speeding or ran a red light and struck you, the officer may issue a citation. Drivers who were under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be arrested on the scene and issued charges.
In most car accidents, a police officer must prepare a police report. In a bicycle accident, it may be more of a gray area. In some states, police officers do not have to file a police report if the damages were under $1,500 and if there were no injuries. With extensive damages and injuries, however, they have to prepare a report. Even if they are not obligated to write a report, the police will prepare one upon request. Before you leave the scene, make sure to request a report. This is a critical element in any personal injury lawsuit.
A police presence at an accident scene can be a valuable resource. Not only are they there to help ensure that everyone on the scene is safe, but they can provide a valuable investigation that you can use as evidence later. If you were recently injured in a bicycle accident, it may be in your best interests to set up a consultation with a lawyer, like a bicycle accident lawyer in Indianapolis, IN from Ward & Ward Law Firm.