As bicyclists, you may all be aware that safety is the top priority. However, bad things may happen. In the event of a collision, knowing what to do in the immediate aftermath is crucial to protect cyclists medically, financially, and legally. This article will arm you with 6 paramount steps to do to maintain control and preserve critical information in case of being involved in a bicycle accident.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
The first and foremost thing to do after leaving the scene is to have a general health assessment. One of the massive mistakes of injured cyclists is that they are overconfident about their health and underestimate their personal injuries; help yourself! It is much better to consult a doctor immediately and get a written evaluation. An immediate health check will ensure you are safe from any unnoticed breaks or fractures and work wonders for your recovery with proper treatment.
Also, record symptoms for several days. Not only does it help you track your health, but also be a useful document to file an insurance claim for your injuries.
Stay Calm And Wait For The Police
A police accident report is an important form of documentation of the accident which can help you strike up with the driver’s insurance company in case of injuries or property damage. So call the police then and there.
It’s easier said than done to keep calm in that situation but try to control your emotions. Calmly ask the driver to remain at the scene and wait for the police to arrive. If it is possible, you may ask witnesses gathering around you to stay, too.
Even if you assume that you’re unharmed, it is never a good idea to shake off the driver. A lot of times, although injuries may seem minor at first glance, they can mask serious physical harm. Plus, once you have left the scene, it may be impossible to track down the driver.
If it’s a hit and run, try to take a photo of the car’s license plate, or at least aim to make a mental note of its identity details like make and color.
Document Crucial Details
While waiting for the police to come, don’t forget to obtain some critical information. Exchange information with the driver, including name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, make of car, and insurance policy number. It is also important to note down witnesses’ contact information.
Jot down every detail about the accident as soon as possible: when, where, and how it happened. The images should include the position, direction, and road, traffic, weather conditions, the scene, injuries, damages, and the vehicles involved.
Furthermore, preserve evidence by keeping any damaged clothing, damaged bike parts, etc. If it is necessary to have it repaired, take photos first and get a written document of the damages.
Don’t be so trusting. Agree with no settlements, even if the driver apologizes and accepts the blame, as you may not be aware of the full extent of your injuries and damage to your property. In worse cases, the driver may change his or her mind later and deny the accident.
The same applies to insurance companies. The driver’s insurance company will probably call you and attempt to settle before you are well-prepared with all necessary information for a claim. Don’t negotiate directly with any insurance company.
Make Sure The Report Is Accurate
Police may sometimes be more concerned with recording a driver’s version of events than a cyclist’s. Make sure your statements of any injury, no matter how minor it may seem as it may turn into something major later on, are included in the report.
In case you cannot do so at the scene, you can ask the police to see if you can review a copy of the report to make sure it’s accurate.
Just because it’s written doesn’t mean it’s not amendable; thus, make an immediate response if any untrue details may be disadvantageous for you later.
Seek Advice From A Professional
If your situation seems overwhelming for you to handle on your own, it’s time to seek professional help to preserve your rights. You had better consult a personal injury attorney experienced in bicycle accident cases before contacting your insurance company. As anything you say to insurance companies may be used against you later.
A trustworthy attorney can help negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, hire a bicycle accident expert to investigate the accident, and represent you in a lawsuit if necessary.
Protect Your Rights
A bicyclist legally has the same rights and responsibilities as the drivers of motor vehicles. It is obligated that drivers need to respect the rights of bicyclists and be mindful of sharing the road and avoiding accidents.
But it is also in your best interests to take the proper steps in the aftermath of an accident to make sure your rights are protected.