What to do if you are in a Collision with a Motor Vehicle
Most cycling accidents do not involve a motor vehicle, but unfortunately some do. It is very important to know how to handle the situation if you are ever found in an accident involving a motor vehicle. According to Tom Revay with assistance from Andrew Fischer and Sheldon Brown, here is a list of the proper steps to take:
1. Make sure that you are safe
After the accident, you need to ensure that you are not seruously hurt. Try not to move for a few minutes other than to make sure that you are not intensely bleeding or that you do not have any broken or dislocated bones. If you lying in a safe area, stay there for a few minutes to recollect yourself and relax. If you are in harms way, you should try and move to a safe location. Before moving yourself or your bike, try and take a mental note of where you and/or the bike were so that you will be able to correctly provide this information to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the police. Do not refuse medical care unless you are positive that you are not injured. Never refuse medical attention if you have suffered a blow to your head or face or if your back or neck hace been bent or turned.
2. Identify other principals involved in the accident
- Ask to see the driver's licenses and vehicle registrations of the drivers of all motor vehicles involved in the accident.
- Write down the names, addresses, and driver's license numbers of each driver involved. Gather the names of the motorists' insurance companies from their vehicle registrations.
- Look for witnesses to the accident and ask for their names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
- Write down any injuries suffered by you or anyone else involved in the accident.
- Cooperate with the police. Tell them everything that you saw and avoid drawing conclusions as to who is at fault.
Be prepared to identify yourself to anyone else involved in the accident. Avoid getting angry with another party because this may make the process longer and might work against you.
3. Check our your bike
Even if you feel like you are able to ride your bike, you need to check out the bike itself first. You may not have suffered any injuries, but the bike could be seriously damaged.
4. After the crash
After leaving the scene, you want to take care of yourself and your bike. You should seek proper medical care, complying with the accident reporting laws, and document any damage to your bicycle and equipment.
5. Handling the insurance company
Call the insurance companies of all the motorists involved in the accident ASAP. Inform each one that you were part of an accident with one of their clients and give the motorist's name. Follow the steps of filing a claim that differ from company to company.
6. Getting a lawyer
You now have the choice of hiring an attorney. This could be very helpful if the insurance company decides against you, because the lawyer will be on your side. They can also help you through the legal process of the accident.