Attorney James E. Swingley Illustrates Accident Aftermath Procedures

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Personal injury attorney James E. Swingley, in light of an increase in bicycle traffic in San Diego and the advent of Memorial Day weekend, lists the top five tips to take if involved in an automobile-bicycle accident.

James E. Swingley

With Memorial Day weekend approaching, there will surely be even more bicycle traffic, as lots of people get out and take long bike rides during this time of year, which has the potential to greatly increase automobile-bicycle accidents.

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“There seems to be a war between motorists and bicyclists in San Diego, as well as an uptick in bicycle traffic,” said attorney James E. Swingley, founder of the Law Office of James E. Swingley. “With Memorial Day weekend approaching, there will surely be even more bicycle traffic, as lots of people get out and take long bike rides during this time of year, which has the potential to greatly increase automobile-bicycle accidents.”

In fact, despite the holiday, California typically ranks either first or second in total bike accident fatalities nationwide. If drivers aren’t paying attention, adds Swingley, bad things can happen. However, the rules of the road apply to everyone, including bicyclists who need to ensure they are seen. If involved in an accident, Swingley lists the following five actions to take:

No. 1: Find a safe spot. “If it is a minor accident, and if you can, pull your vehicle or bike over to a safe place nearby before talking with the other person, driver, cyclist or the police,” said Swingley.

No. 2: Provide the necessary information. Swingley stresses always being prepared to provide the required information if involved in an accident, such as name, telephone number, insurance company name, policy number, registration and driver’s license. The other driver or cyclist should also provide their information, no matter who caused the collision.

No. 3. Take pictures. It is always wise to take photos of the vehicles involved in a collision, any injuries, or anything that might explain how the accident occurred at the scene.

No. 4: Do not leave the scene. “If anyone is hurt, or if the damage is more than $500, which it almost always is these days, it is illegal to leave the scene without providing information,” said Swingley. “If it is a bad accident, or you think there is going to be trouble about whose fault it is, call 911. Get the police there to help you sort it out.”

No. 5: Be factual, but not incriminating. Swingley suggests always asking if the other party is OK, unless it is obvious they are not. “However, avoid making any incriminating statements,” he adds. “If you think the collision was your fault, be factual and succinct in all discussions with the police (the less talking the better). If you think the other party is at fault, see if they won’t admit it, but don’t get in a fight at the scene about it. To a certain extent, you may need to be an advocate for yourself at the scene. The names and phone numbers of any witnesses should be written down, or take a business card from them.”

About James E. Swingley, Law Office of James E. Swingley
James E. Swingley focuses on personal injury plaintiff work, and has significant business litigation experience, representing both plaintiffs and defendants. He has also tried medical malpractice, legal malpractice, breach of contract and construction cases. For more information, please call (619) 233-1808. The law office is located at 2320 Fifth Ave., Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92101.

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