1. Make sure you are safe! Unless there are cars coming towards you or other forms of urgent danger, stay still. Check yourself from head to toe to make take inventory of any injuries you may have. If you hit your head, stay still if possible. If you are ok to move, get yourself to the sidewalk or a place that is out of the road.
2. Call 911 or ask that someone call 911 to report the crash. This will trigger two things: an ambulance will come to check you to make sure you are ok and it will trigger a police officer to come to the scene and take a report. While it may seem like too much for a small injury, it’s important to have the police come and file a report even if you think you are ok. Don’t be embarrassed!! I have had many clients who thought their injuries were “too minor” to call 911 or thought they were uninjured only to discover broken bones later once the adrenaline wore off. In one case, no information was exchanged because the person thought they were “fine” (but were not). Having a police report is not required but it can be very helpful—especially for collecting important information from the driver.
3. Make sure to collect the driver’s information. This includes the driver’s name, phone number, license plate number, and insurance information. If you have a phone, take a picture of their license, their license plate, and their insurance cards. If you think that the person has given you a false phone number, try calling it while you are still there.
4. Make sure to get contact information from anyone who witnessed the crash. Sometimes the police will not collect that information and it’s very important to have it. Even if the other party is admitting fault at the time, stories can and do change. Witnesses can provide critical information.
5. Take as many pictures as you can of the scene and your injuries. Take pictures of the car, your bike, where it happened, and anything else you think might be important. Take pictures of your injuries and/or ask a friend to do this if needed!
6. Keep any evidence you have from the crash. Even if your bike is beyond repair or your clothes are torn to shreds, keep them! They are proof of what happened and without them, it makes it harder to get you reimbursed for them.
7. Finally, seek advice from a bicycle attorney. You don’t need to hire an attorney right away but it is very important that you at least call someone who has experience with this and can advise you of your rights and how to preserve them. Do not talk to an insurance representative until you first talk to an attorney. Many bicycle attorneys, including myself, offer free (no pressure) consultations. A majority of the calls I receive require only a little assistance on the phone (at no cost) without the need to hire an attorney. If I can help you help yourself, I do my best to do that. If you do need the assistance of an attorney, we will do what needs to be done so that you can focus on healing.