With modern commuter solutions, bicycles are being used more often by individuals looking to take advantage of a cost-effective transportation method. Often sharing the road during peak time, cyclists have virtually no protection against a vehicle in an accident.
What should you do if you are a cyclist and in an accident with a vehicle?
First, call 911 to get both medical attention and a police report.
Second, do not talk about the crash to the other party or post about it on social media. Stating you are feeling ‘okay’ before a medical professional has a chance to properly diagnose any injuries will not destroy a case, but it will make things harder once an insurance company is involved. The driver’s insurance company will look for any and all evidence against you to minimize they financial responsibility they face.
This doesn’t mean you are playing the quiet game.
If police, other law enforcement or medical professionals arrive, it is okay to talk to them about the crash. Provide details as you remember them, knowing that your body will likely experience late-stage reactions to adrenaline – meaning, you will feel physically weak, emotional and cold.
Provide your full name and date of birth at a minimum if you have no government issued identification on you at the time of the accident. When sharing your version of events leading up to and following the crash, provide as much detail as possible. Small facts recorded at the time of the accident may trigger memories down the road.
Bystanders are witnesses, get their name and phone number
If there are any bystanders that witnessed the crash, ask them to stay and provide you or the officer their contact information. It often proves useful during a recreation of the event to have a third-party perspective to fill in any gaps that may be undocumented or conflicting.
After the crash: Finding an experienced attorney
After the crash, you may file a claim with the driver’s insurance company within 2 years of the accident to help cover any expenses incurred. However, HarshLaw recommends reaching out to an experienced attorney as soon as possible – specifically, before speaking with any insurance companies as what you say during your initial interviews will have significant weight in any future case or settlement.
Expect the driver’s insurance company to take an extreme adversarial position to any claim. Insurance companies are engineered to minimize the liability of themselves and their clients. Be careful what is said during any discussions and do not volunteer any information.
Insurance companies will act friendly, but they are not your friends. They are highly skilled at mitigating claims.
Top actions to take after a bicycle and vehicle collision
- Call 911 and request police and EMS to the scene
- Gather witness information (name, phone number)
- Ask police how you can obtain a copy of the police report
- Take pictures of the car and bike
- Take pictures of the scene
- Get the vehicle license plate number
- Do not make a statement to anyone except the police
- Call HarshLaw at (909) 793-6261
- Consult with an attorney before you make a claim with any insurance company