Unfortunately, the day might come when you’re hit by a car while riding your bike.
Here’s some things to do if you’re in a bike accident:
1) Document everything while it is still fresh in your mind. Take photographs of bike, injuries, crash scene. Get witness accounts in writing. Write down everything you remember. Save clothes, helmet, bike parts – even if they are trashed.
2) Get a copy of the police report.
3) Do not admit to any fault – even if you’re unsure.
4) Do not settle with the driver’s insurance company. They will want to do so quickly. A case rep will call you and ask about your injuries, damages, etc. Do not offer information. They work for the driver, not you. You have 2 years to settle or file suit. There is no rush. You do not yet know the extent of your injuries and their long term effects. The insurance company will be calling you in the next 36 hours. DO NOT talk to them. Their entire job is to mitigate payment and close the case as quickly as possible. Just politely tell them you are still evaluating your options and that they will here from you or a representative of you in the future.
5) Contact an Attorney. A consultation is usually free. You generally will note have to pay anything out of pocket for an attorney in this type of incident.
6) Try to follow the traffic case as it progresses. If the guy just pays the ticket great. If it gets set for trial try to find and contact the prosecutor, and let him/her know that you are the victim, that you were injured, and that you suffered property loss. Traffic cases are often dismissed or pleaded down which could affect a future civil case.
7) Depending on your car insurance company, your car policy might cover any expenses that the defendant’s insurance doesn’t cover.
8) It can definitely take time for other injuries to appear. I (team member) had an accident a few years ago, where a dog off leash took me down. I didn’t file a claim. 4 months later I woke up with a very stiff neck. It took me about a month to connect it back to the cycling accident, because I felt fine after all the visible injuries healed. Turns out I had a whiplash injury, 3 herniated discs in my cervical spine and I ended up in traction and off the bike for 6 months. It was a slow recovery and 3 years later, I’m riding, feel competitive on the bike, but still have neck pain. Stay in tune with how you feel and don’t dismiss the pain if it shows up 6 months from now
Thanks to Hungry Riders: John Gatch, Eric Buchakjian, Tim Delgado and Team Members for help in creating this content!