A cycling collision with a car, truck, or roadway hazard can result in serious injuries. In the event you’re hurt in a collision, you can file a personal injury claim with the driver’s insurance company. The following tips will help you build a strong bicycle accident claim, and get fair compensation for your damages.
1. Take Action at the Scene
Always call 911 and report the accident, just as you would an auto collision. Ask for an ambulance if you’ve been injured.
Take down the driver’s personal and insurance information. You’ll need his name, address and telephone number. Don’t forget his insurance company’s name, phone number, and the policy number. You’ll need this information to file a bike accident claim with his auto insurer.
Don’t Discuss Fault
Anything you say may be used against you during settlement negotiations. Other than securing contact and insurance information from the driver, reserve your statements for the police officers dispatched to the scene. They will create a police report, which you can later use as evidence.
Ask the police for the service or reference number of the police report. The report should be available a few days after the collision for a nominal fee. It’s easier to get a copy if you already have the service or reference number.
Look for Witnesses
Point out to the officers any witnesses to the bicycle/car accident. The police should take their statements. If you don’t let the officers know who they are, you may lose the opportunity to have their statements included in the police report.
Get Medical Treatment
Accept medical care or transport to the emergency room. Immediately after a collision, your blood and adrenaline will be pumping. Adrenaline suppresses pain, and can even mask serious injuries.
You only have one chance to receive medical care right after a collision, so take it. Don’t be a tough guy (or girl). Let the paramedics and doctors decide how seriously you’re injured.
2. Gather Evidence to Build Your Case
Use a camera or your cell phone to take as many photos of the collision scene as possible. Include any broken parts from the car and your bicycle. Photograph skid marks, street signs, guardrails, or other objects that were damaged during the collision. Also take pictures of your injuries, and any torn or bloodied clothing.
More About Witness Statements
After pointing out any witnesses to the police, try to get their contact information yourself. See if they will write a brief statement at the scene about what they saw, and ask them to sign and date each page. If your injuries prevent you from speaking to witnesses, ask a good Samaritan to help.
Listen for any statements against interest the driver may make right after the collision. Motorists will often apologize for striking a bicyclist, saying things alike, “I’m sorry, I just didn’t see you,” or “It’s my fault.” Those are considered “res gestae” statements, and can be later admitted as evidence.
Check for Hazardous Road Conditions
If you collided with an object in the road, such as broken pavement, note the exact area where you were injured. Look for mile markers, street signs, and other landmarks. If you have a camera or cell phone, take photographs of the scene that include reference points like stores, cross street signs, and other identifiers.
This information will help you determine whether the state, or your local municipality was responsible for the roadway’s maintenance.
Once determined, you can file an injury claim with the responsible division of government; but do it quickly. Some state and county governments require injury claims to be filed in as little as 30 days after the accident.
3. Take Good Notes and Follow-up with Treatment
As soon as possible after the collision, write a detailed account of everything you can remember. Leave nothing out. It’s always better to have too much, rather than too little information. It’s common to forget important information after just a few days, and bicycle accident claims can take months, sometimes even years to settle.
Follow-up with any medical treatment ordered by the emergency room physician. If you didn’t go to the hospital immediately after the accident, see your primary care doctor as soon as possible. Adrenaline often masks the pain of serious injury.
If you wait too long to seek treatment, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may claim your injuries were caused by some other event. The only way to keep that from happening is to seek medical care immediately after the accident.
Don’t Dismiss the Accident
Treat a bicycle accident with the same gravity as a car accident. Too many motorists believe colliding with a bicycle doesn’t really count. The driver may slow down to see what happened, or drive away, blaming the cyclist for being in the road. If a motorist doesn’t stop after injuring a cyclist, it’s a felony hit and run. If this happens, alert the police immediately.
Don’t be distracted by the regret a motorist may express after a collision. Although well-meaning, their sorrow won’t pay your medical bills and other damages. Your initial reaction might be to want to forgive a motorist for hitting you, especially when the apology seems sincere. Don’t do it.
In nine out of ten bicycle accident claims, the driver won’t have to reimburse the injured cyclist out of their own pocket. Personal injury compensation comes from the driver’s insurance company, not from their personal assets.
See an example of a bicycle-car accident demand letter here.
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Visitor Questions on Car Accidents
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This incident happened in California. The individual got a minor concussion, when I held his bike and he fell off. It was an accident. He said he got a minor concussion and I said sorry to him. I went back to school, and he kept saying he was going to sue me, so I am scared, because I... Read More.
I was riding my bike with traffic where the sidewalk ended along the shoulder (literally rubbing the curb) when a vehicle traveling under the speed limit (55mph) for some reason swerved and struck me from behind. After getting safely off the road, I was transported by ambulance to the emergency room where I was admitted, and emergency... Read More.
I was injured in a car/bicycle crash. The car driver was totally at fault and was cited by the police. My bicycle was totaled ($600+ depreciated value). I was knocked to the pavement and pinned under the bicycle/car bumper. I don’t have billed medical costs because I went to my college health center where I... Read More.
On August 14, 2016 I was hit by an automobile while riding my bicycle. I was hospitalized for 14 days (ER, ICU and rehab). I suffered an L-2 and L-3 fracture, broken ankle, dislocated shoulder, and many bruises and road rash (car was going 45-50 mph). The driver’s insurance company has agreed to pay the... Read More.
A 14 year old minor riding a bicycle hit a stopped car at intersection. The bicyclist was heading west and the car was stopped at the stop sign at the south west point at the intersection. The bicyclist turned north coming off the sidewalk into the intersection, veered over and hit the car on its... Read More.
Our 16 yr old (does not have his driving license) was riding his bike to his Summer Day Camp, as he had been doing daily for 9 weeks. He was riding on the shoulder of a road against the traffic, as he did not know that he was to follow the same rules as cars... Read More.
I was riding my bike, crossing the intersection, and a man in a truck ran a stop sign and hit me. He looked left but not right. I was severely injured (fractured my L4 Lower Lumbar), have lost days at work, and now have to take pain meds. I’m so worried and scared that this... Read More.
About 16 months ago, a car turned across my path and struck me while I was riding my bicycle. I was transported by ambulance to the ER and suffered a broken shoulder and painful road rash. My shoulder did not need surgery. The driver was charged and plead guilty to a class 1 misdemeanor (careless... Read More.
My car was turned off and parked with the door opened (driver side). I did not get out of the car as I was still doing something inside. Moments later a cyclist crashed into the door. There was no police report and as far as I can tell no witnesses. I was with victim 100%... Read More.
I was riding my bike on the side walk when a car was driving out of the driveway – not backing out but driving out. There was a set of bushes at the end of her driveway BEFORE the sidewalk and she just continued going and hit me on the sidewalk. I flew up on... Read More.
I was in 7-11, and I had parked my bike outside the door. As I stood in line, a car came crashing into the front of the store. I was not injured in the accident, but my bike was totaled. When the police arrived, they did not take a statement from me, nor did they... Read More.
A man hit me while I was riding my Bicycle on Nov 13th 2014. I was checked by a paramedic, but due to the adrenaline I didn’t see fit to go to a hospital. I had sustained a minor injury to the spine and a minor injury to the upper right shoulder – noted in... Read More.
I was hit by a car while riding my bike and did not know what info I needed to gather. I only gathered the vehicle make, plate number, and their first name and phone number. I filed a police report afterwards when I learned I should treat it like any motor vehicle collision. Because there... Read More.
I was hit by a car while on my bicycle at a corner. The light changed red for the opposing cars and I proceeded to go, but the driver hit my front tire and I fell off the bike. She did not stop at the time, but returned approximately 30 minutes later. I had already... Read More.
I was on my bicycle traveling through an intersection on a green light. A taxi cab made a left turn directly in front of me. I took evasive action but was not able to avoid a collision. The driver was cited for failure to yield right of way. I had a broken right wrist (I... Read More.
I was riding my bike on the sidewalk going northbound on the left side, and I noticed a company owned vehicle coming out of its parking lot toward the street. I assumed it would stop, seeing as I had the right of way, and I kept going. I made eye contact with the driver and... Read More.
I was commuting home on my regular bike route when a car went through a stop sign and hit me doing about 20 MPH. I was taken to the hospital and given emergency surgery to place four screws to stabilize my hip. The fellow driving was cited and admitted fault. He was working for the... Read More.
I was in a car/street bike accident on July 28th. I was on the street bike when I was rear ended while waiting at a stoplight. The car went under the left side of the bike and I fell off the bike with enough force to break the foot peg off as I came off.... Read More.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to ask a question about my case. I currently live in Budapest, Hungary. One and a half years ago while in Ohio I was hit by a car as I rode my bicycle on the sidewalk. The car drove over my leg because he did not even notice... Read More.
On Wednesday, 1/18/2012 at 5:30pm my 19 year old brother was ridding his bike down a hill. He hit a bump in the sidewalk and his bike went out of control. He veered into the street and a car hit him, the impact threw my brother 20 feet away. My brother is now in coma... Read More.
I was hit by a car while riding my bike. Someone called 911 and the Fire Department, Paramedics and Police showed up. They said I was at fault but I do not think so. I’m okay, just chalking it up as a bad day, but I’m afraid that they might try and bill me for... Read More.
I was riding my mountain bike down the street when a FedEx truck took the corner too sharp causing his trailer to hit me and push me off my bike. I was thrown to the pavement and sustained abrasions, etc. The driver took off so I jumped on my bike and caught him at the... Read More.
My dad went for a bike ride. He was on the sidewalk riding then moved onto the grass for a passer by. When he did this his front tire dropped into a hole covered with grass. This caused him to flip over and now he has bumps and bruises on his face and legs. He... Read More.
I was riding my bike in the in the bike lane of a street, traveling north bound when a vehicle turned right to get into a store parking lot and struck me on my bike. I chipped my right ankle bone and bruised the left side of my leg from my hip to my ankle.... Read More.
On July 23rd of this year, my 3 year old son was riding his bike in the street in a very quiet residential area. One of our neighbors came driving down the street and hit him. He only sustained minimal injuries and is doing okay now. The insurance company is saying that the motor vehicle... Read More.