In 2015, over 1,000 bicyclists were killed in bike accidents, and almost 467,000 received bicycle-related injuries. Getting into an accident with a car or truck can be jarring, but responding appropriately is critical. Here are seven steps to take if you are involved in bicycle accident with a motor vehicle.
- Don’t tell the driver that you’re uninjured.
If you’re injured in the crash, you may not realize it until several days later. Adrenaline can often mask the pain immediately following the injury. Just telling the driver that you’re “fine” or “okay” could complicate settlement negotiations later. If the driver asks if you’re hurt, tell him or her that you need to see a doctor to be sure.
- Call the police.
Call the police even if the accident is minor. A police report can be very helpful if you’ve suffered injuries or property damage from the accident. The police may refuse to come to the scene if you’re uninjured, but remember that you cannot be sure whether you’re injured or not until you’ve been to a doctor. Make that clear when calling the police. If an officer does arrive at the scene, make sure you get your version of the events in the accident report. Officers will sometimes only get the driver’s account and ignore the bicyclist.
- Get the driver’s information.
Make sure you write down the driver’s insurance information, address, phone number, and license plate number. Don’t just exchange cash or phone numbers at the scene, as you may not yet know the full extent of damages.
- Get witness information.
If there were any other people nearby to see the accident, ask them for their names and phone numbers. Their account of the crash could be useful later.
- Gather evidence.
Take photos of your bike, if damaged, and any injuries you received in the crash. Write down your account of the accident, including the location, time, traffic, and weather conditions. Take the bike to a mechanic for an inspection of its condition after the crash, but don’t fix anything until you’ve received your final settlement from the insurance company. Ask the mechanic to confirm in writing that the bike is damaged or un-rideable. If the driver is found at fault for the accident, his or her car insurance should cover the damage to your bike. If the bike is no longer rideable, they should pay you the bike’s market value.
- Go to the doctor as soon as possible.
You may not need the emergency room, but make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible after the accident. It’s best to catch any injuries early, and seeking medical attention soon after the accident will help insurance company negotiations later.
- When necessary, hire a bicycle accident attorney.
Many accidents between bikes and cars become legally complicated, meaning you risk receiving a lower settlement than you’re entitled to. Consider hiring a personal injury attorney who has experience with bike accident cases to advise you and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.
Are You the Victim of a Bike Accident in South Carolina?
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, our bicycle accident attorneys can help. To learn more, visit our page on South Carolina bicycle accidents. Contact us to schedule a free case evaluation online or call us at:
- 803-324-7200 (Rock Hill attorneys)
- 803-289-7202 (Lancaster attorneys)
- 803-396-5200 (Fort Mill attorneys)