By Personal Injury Attorney Lindsey Glantz.
1. Get out of a dangerous situation. The seconds after a bicycle accident can be the most dangerous. Unlike a car accident where you have a car protecting you from other dangers, a cyclist can get thrown off his bicycle and put into an even more threatening situation.
2. Call the police and/or ambulance. Should you need medical attention, it is important to call the ambulance immediately. The police should always be called to the scene of a bicycle accident, even if the drivers wish to handle the situation “informally.” Often stories will change and a driver who initially took fault for the accident, might deny it later on. Having the police there will ensure a proper exchange of information, including both parties’ accounts of the accident. If for some reason the police don’t arrive on site, it is very important to get all the contact information of the opposing party.
3. Check for witnesses. If there are witnesses around be sure to get all of their contact information. Without contact information you will have no way to contact a witness after the accident and relay their account of the accident.
4. Get medical attention when necessary. Seeking medical attention after an accident is the most important thing to do. You might not think you are injured at the time, but the adrenaline of the fall could prevent you from realizing the extent of your injury. Take the time to get checked out by a doctor, especially if the fall impacted your head.
5. Have your bicycle/helmet checked out even if it doesn’t appear broken. Bicycles and helmets are made with tiny fibers that can tear in the course of an accident. It is important to bring your bicycle to a shop to make sure it is in proper working order. If your head made impact during the fall, it is important to replace your helmet. The micro fibers in the helmet can break causing your helmet to be less effective. Contact your local bike shop if you have further questions about getting a new helmet or assessing your bicycle for damage.
6. Take pictures. Make sure to take pictures of your bicycle and the accident scene. If there was something in the road that caused the accident, it could be gone by the next day. Your bicycle should also be photographed to document the extent of the damage, if any.
7. Assess your property damage. It is important to assess the total amount of property damage and document the loss. Whether you have your own bicycle insurance or the opposing party will be covering the damage, make sure to accurately total your loss. Document if you have new tires that were more expensive than your original ones or any new features to the bike that would increase the value of it.
8. Contact your insurance company to report the claim. If an automobile was involved in your bicycle accident, it is important to contact your own insurance carrier because you might be entitled to PIP benefits under your policy. Failure to seek medical treatment in a timely fashion or report the accident to your carrier, could prevent full coverage under the law. Make sure to contact an attorney for further questions regarding time limits and possible insurance coverage available.
9. Don’t speak to the opposing party’s insurance company. If the opposing party’s insurance company contacts you, don’t give them any information without first consulting an attorney. They might attempt to get you to say something that could work against your case or even sign an agreement that could release the opposing party from liability as a result of your accident. It is important to fully understand everything in a document before you sign it. Always be fully informed of the implications of any decision you make with respect to your accident.
10. Contact an attorney. Bicycle accidents can be complicated and the medical bills can get costly. If you have any questions about your rights, you should contact an attorney to make sure you are getting the best possible outcome for your bicycle injury.