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What to Do After a Bicycle Accident

Published at September 9, 2019 by administrator.

If you’re an avid biker, either trekking to work each day or taking a casual spin through the local park, you’re probably well aware of bike safety practices. But even with the best intentions, you can’t always control other drivers on the road. And with the growing number of distractions, bicyclists need to be extra careful.

So, to help you feel prepared in case it happens, we wanted to share exactly what to do after a bicycle accident. Follow these eight steps and you’ll have a much better chance of being compensated for your injuries and the damage to your bike.

1. Get off the road

After the crash, it’s important to get yourself out of harm’s way by moving to a sidewalk or other pedestrian-friendly spot. However, that being said, you should leave your bicycle in its original position so you can photograph the scene. More on that in step four.

2. Dial 9-1-1

As soon as you’re physically safe, call 9-1-1 so the police will arrive as quickly as possible. If you don’t have your phone with you, ask the driver or bystander to do so on your behalf.

Don’t negotiate with the driver. They might say calling 9-1-1 isn’t necessary, but it absolutely is. Even if you don’t have any visible injuries, something could arise later, especially if you have a concussion. And unfortunately, in some cases, drivers might deny their involvement later. If you leave the accident scene without a police report you may never hear from the driver again.

what to do after a bicycle accident
Don’t let the driver talk you out of calling 9-1-1, even if you don’t think you’re injured. They could deny their fault later, leaving you to foot the bill.

3. Gather information from the driver and any witnesses

While you wait for the police officer, gather the following information:

  • Driver’s name, phone number, and insurance information
  • Any witnesses’ names and phone numbers
  • Car’s license plate, make, model, and color

If you’re not physically able to do this, see if there’s a bystander who can assist you. Or ask the driver and witnesses to type the information directly into your phone or on a piece of paper. Although much of this will be included in the police report, it’s smart to have your own records in case something is overlooked.

4. Document the scene and leave it undisturbed

It’s best for the police officer to see the scene exactly as it happened. If you have to move anything, be sure to take photographs first. You want to have shots of your bicycle, the car, your injuries, and anything else that might be relevant. 

Here are a few other items to document:

  • Location of the bike lane (if there was one) and if there were any obstacles in your path
  • Street name or intersection where the crash occurred
  • Volume of traffic
  • Weather conditions

5. Provide your report to the police officer

The police officer should interview you, the driver, and any witnesses. If there’s a discrepancy between your story and the driver’s, make sure they incorporate your version into the report. However, if you don’t feel they’ve correctly documented the event, you can file an amended report later. 

Don’t forget to ask for the police officer’s card, so you can forward them your photographs and obtain the official police report. Also ask if the driver will receive a ticket, as this could be useful when settling the case with an insurance company.

6. Get medical attention

As soon as the police officer is finished, head to the doctor that same day — even if you feel fine. It’s critical that you get a full medical evaluation. If you can’t get in to see your regular doctor, head to an urgent care center or emergency room. This will provide proof you were injured and document the extent of your injuries.

It’s also important to be conscious of any aches or pains that arise the next day. Document everything and stay in touch with your medical provider. Ask for copies of your medical records, so you can provide them to your attorney or the insurance company. Be sure to keep track of any prescriptions or follow-up visits as well.

7. Preserve all evidence of the crash

Since most people aren’t sure what to do after a bicycle accident, they often dispose of their clothes and damaged equipment when they get home. However, it’s important to keep everything while the case is open. You should also refrain from repairing your bike. The police or insurance company might need these items to make decisions about who’s to blame and the cost of a settlement.

what to do after a bicycle accident
Don’t dispose of your damaged bike. Depending on how the case goes, the insurance company might want additional photos to better understand what happened.

8. Speak to an attorney before talking to insurance companies

Keep in mind that anything you say to the insurance company can be used against you. In fact, they’ll even record the call. It’s in their best interest to find a reason not to compensate you.

It’s best to consult a personal injury attorney first. Sometimes you simply need a letter from an attorney to the insurance company. An experienced bike accident lawyer can help you navigate any legal pitfalls and get an appropriate settlement. Fortunately, most bicycle injury cases are settled without ever going to trial.

What you do after a bike collision can have a big impact on how you recover. If you’re in this situation and are not sure what to do after a bicycle accident, contact us for a free consultation. We know you want to get this resolved quickly. The Stafford Firm has a strict 24-hour call policy, which means if you leave a message for an attorney, you’ll get a return phone call within 24 hours. 

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