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.
How Much is Your Injury Claim Worth?
Find out now with a FREE case review from an attorney…
Visitor Questions on Car Accidents
Liability for falling off a bike? 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 >>
Struck from behind while riding my bike… 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 >>
How can I get compensated if I don’t have billed medical costs? 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 >>
Insurance denying coverage because I was riding an electric bike? I was hit by a car while riding an electric low speed bicycle (e-bike). I was traveling through a cross walk and I had the right of way when it happened. The insurance company won’t pay out on the Personal Injury Protection portion, because they’re saying my bicycle has a motor. The Registry of Motor... Read More >>
Hotel bike accident… While on vacation (12 hours from my home), I signed a waiver at the hotel desk before getting on the free bike. Within a block, the front wheel did something that made me fall off. It froze or locked up. I fell off and it resulting in a trip in an ambulance to the hospital,... Read More >>
Settling with health and short term disability insurance after payment? 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 >>
Bicycle hit stopped car… 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 >>
Son hit by car while riding bike… 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 >>
Hit while riding my bike by uninsured driver who ran a stop sign… 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 >>
Hit by car on bicycle – what is a reasonable settlement amount? 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 >>
Bicyclist crashed into open door of parked car? 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 >>
Hit by car while riding my bike on the sidewalk… 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 >>
Hit While Riding My Bike by a Car Making a Right Turn… 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 >>