Cycling accidents are not the kind of thing that one is usually prepared for - After recently being involved in a cycling collision of her own, Liana (web designer), provided us with five essential steps to ensure cyclist safety and to make filing a claim a little easier.
"First and foremost, a bike and vehicular accident should be treated like a car accident. You never know how bad things are in the moment, so always take all of the necessary precautions and get all of the information that you can upfront"
1. File a police report. Even if it's a small accident, it's better to be safe than sorry. It does not matter how nice the driver is who hit you or what they promise to do to help you out, call the police. There have been cases where drivers have asked cyclists they hit to purposely not call the police. This is a red flag that they may not have insurance or have a prior record of dangerous driving. If they are not responsible enough to have their own insurance or own up to their wrong doing in hitting you, then how responsible do you think they will be in paying you back privately? The odds are you will not be compensated for your medical bills so be cautious.
2. If the driver stops, be sure to take down all of their information. This includes the driver's name, address, phone number, license plate, car color, make, and model. If they do not stop, it is especially important to get witnesses around you to stick around to tell the police what they saw. Write down anything you can remember in the moment. Never try to chase a car down that has hit you and then drove off. In a moment of anger, some cyclists try to go after the car if it seems easy to reach them in a congested area with traffic.
3. Things are hectic in the moment, so remember to take photos to have a record for yourself. Snap a picture of the car, the part of the car that hit you, and the damage to your bike. Take photos of all of your injuries in case you end up pursuing a personal injury case.
4. When in doubt, go to the hospital and get checked out.
This is a no brainer but when you are in the moment, you may underestimate the impact of the crash. Remember that your mind will be under a major amount of stress and shock so you may not be thinking clearly. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of a concussion can be subtle and may not be immediately apparent. This is why we encourage you to get checked out and practice preventative care by wearing a bike helmet because it can save your life and reduce head injury by 75%!
5. Contact the driver's insurance company right away and make sure that your medical bills are linked to that claim. This is crucial and if not done properly can be very costly to you. So call immediately and follow up with the insurance company several times to make sure that your claim has not hit any walls or had errors in the system. If you run into any other issues, please contact a lawyer. If you don’t have the insurance information of the driver (aka "the insured"), then you can have your lawyer send your doctor and physical therapist a “letter of protection”. This will prevent you from having to pay out of pocket for your visit while things get resolved and guarantees that your lawyer will square away your bills when the case settles. Be safe out there!
-Dana | AnneeLondon
A special thanks to Liana for sharing her experience with us so it could help us all to be better prepared!