Check to See If You Sustained Any Injuries from the Crash
In the unfortunate event of a bike crash with a vehicle, the first thing to do is to evaluate any damage to your body. Did you hit your head in the fall? Check your helmet for any cracks. See if you can stand. Take your time getting up and moving around. Try moving your arms and legs and check for any bleeding or broken bones. All your joints should be able to sustain weight-bearing moves.
If you can’t stand upright, crawl to the side of the road, call for medical help, and wait for it to arrive. Be mindful that if cars aren’t aware of you when you’re riding upright, they won’t be able to see you on the ground. In the event of a concussion, you may be confused or unaware of familiar surroundings. Ask any bystanders for their assistance in making the necessary calls.
Check to See if There was Any Damage to Your Bike
If you’re physically able, check to see if your bike has sustained significant damage. That means evaluating the handlebars, the brake levers and shifters, the seat, the wheels, the spokes, the chain, and the frame. If any of these parts or components are not fully functional, don’t attempt to get back on and ride.
Were There Any Witnesses?
When your head is clear, identify any witnesses to the crash and obtain their names and contact information. Report the crash to the police and write down the driver’s name, address, phone number, and insurance company name and location. It’s also important to document the scene of the accident by taking photos—the more the better—that would be useful in establishing any subsequent claim. This means pictures of your bike, your injuries, the vehicle involved, and the street or intersection location.
Obtain the Drivers Indentifying Information
Be sure to note the driver’s license plate number, and do not attempt to negotiate with the driver or respond to his or her attempt to negotiate a settlement. If you feel able, write down any details that stand out about the timing and circumstances of the crash. (Key elements may slip your mind in the event you experienced any type of shock at the scene.) Lastly, unless you’re going to the hospital or a clinic, call for someone to come and pick you up.
Preserve Evidence & Document Your Injuries
In the aftermath of a crash involving a car, you may be tempted to make quick repairs to your bicycle. That would be a mistake because the damaged bike and ancillary equipment (helmet, air pump, carrying racks) are part of the crash evidence. It’s also critical to document your own aftereffects such as headaches, delayed onset of muscle, neck or back pain, nerve pressure or damage, and periodic or chronic dizziness.
Dealing with the Insurance Companies After a Bicycle Accident
Although it’s not always easy or pleasant to deal with insurance companies, you need to report the accident as soon as possible to your own insurer and to the insurer of the vehicle driver. When speaking to the police at the scene of the incident, make sure they take down all the details and include them in their accident report. It’s the official record of what happened and is vitally important.
Contact an Experienced Bicycle Accident Lawyer
And finally, consult with a personal injury attorney who is also an active cyclist. This move will insure that you receive expert advice and commensurate compensation for any economic and non-economic damages for loss of income, medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering.