It’s a terrifying experience when bikes get into accidents with larger vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that bike-car collisions comprise 30 percent of all bike-related accidents.
If you’re the one riding the bicycle, what you do right after the crash is important because this can help make a claim for a bike accident settlement. You’ll need compensation for the damage and injuries you sustained, especially if you can’t come to work for weeks or you’ll need physical therapy.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do after you get into a bike-car crash.
Call 911, and ask for the police and emergency medical services (EMS)
Don’t immediately get up and ride away from the scene after the crash because you may not be able to identify the driver at fault if you leave. Wait for the police to arrive so they can file a report about the incident. If you can, check the details of the report to make sure they’re accurate.
Be sure to get your version of the events into the report. Sometimes, police officers will talk to the motorist but not bother to get a statement from the cyclist. Don’t let this happen because a document of your side of the story will help your case when you ask for compensation. Report all of your injuries, even if they seem minor.
It’s also crucial that you wait for a medical professional to come and check your vitals. The adrenaline sometimes masks the pain from the injuries, so they manifest a little later. In other cases, minor injuries worsen when they’re not treated immediately.
Have your own documentation of what happened
There are situations where the police may take a while to arrive on the scene. When this happens, the responsibility of documentation falls on you. As much as possible, get the details of the driver involved. Take note of his or her name, address, phone number, plate number, license number, and insurance information.
It’s also helpful to find witnesses and have a version of the incident from their perspective. Note their names and contact information.
Get everything down in writing. Your memory may not be as reliable several months after the accident when you retell the story. A written report of what happened will be helpful when you decide to pursue bike accident compensation. Take videos and photos of the aftermath of the crash, including all your injuries, the damage to your bike, and the scene itself.
Seek legal advice
A personal injury lawyer who specializes in auto accidents will determine how to proceed with your claim for compensation, negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf, and help you prove who’s at fault in the accident.
Don’t talk to insurance companies before consulting your lawyer because they can use anything you say against you. For example, if you say that you didn’t see the car coming, what they may hear is that you may not have been paying attention to the road. Your lawyer can write to the insurance company on your behalf to resolve the issue.
Know your rights as a cyclist. You are entitled to share the road with other motorists, although having a smaller vehicle makes you vulnerable. Do your part and observe the rules of the road, but also know when to demand your rights and compensation should an incident occur.