5 Things to Do When You’re in a Bike Crash
- Assess the Situation – The first thing you want to do is make sure you are okay. Check yourself out and only try to move if it is safe to do so. If you feel that you may be seriously injured, do not try to leave the scene on your own, or you could end up injuring yourself even more.
- Call the Police – There are a couple of reasons to call the police after a bike accident. First, the police will create a neutral report of the crash. Insist that the officer write one, even if you do not initially believe the situation merits it. Whether or not you feel it is necessary, you should always ask for a police report. You never know when it could come in handy, either for insurance purposes or for a legal case in the future.
- Gather Witness Information – This is related to #2, but you’ll always want to speak with anyone else who was involved in the accident or any witnesses nearby. For anyone else involved in the accident, you’ll want to have (1) their address and contact information; (2) their insurance information; (3) vehicle information, including license plate number; and (4) the responding police officer’s name and badge number.
- Take Pictures – Take pictures of the accident scene. These will be helpful in dealing with insurance companies and for your potential court case. Having photographic evidence of the scene can be really helpful to a jury in supporting a cyclist’s case.
- Report the Incident – The Washington Area Bicyclist Association tracks and reports bike incidents. It may seem insignificant, but reporting incidents to them and other organizations helps to make roads safer in DC and surrounding areas. Struck in DC (https://struckdc.wordpress.com/) is a website dedicated to tracking pedestrians and cyclists hit in the District. Consider reporting your crash to them if you get hit by a car.
- Contact an Attorney – If you have questions, or believe your injuries are serious enough to merit further investigation, contact an attorney. Ideally, you want to contact a law firm that has experience in handling serious bicycle accidents in DC, Maryland and Virginia. There are issues unique to bike injury cases that require specialized knowledge. A lawyer can help guide you through the process of recovering money to pay for your medical bills and pain and suffering.