What should I do immediately
after an accident?
If you are involved in a bicycle accident with another vehicle, remain calm; do not get angry; do not yell or swear at the other driver; and follow these suggestions:
- If hit and run, immediately ask any available witness to call 911 and to get the license plate number of the vehicle that hit you & write it down. Ask the witness to chase/follow the vehicle until an identification can be made for police.
- Check all involved parties for injuries. Everyone who can walk should move to a safe location.
- Before moving your bicycle and body, mark the location where you and your bicycle came to rest.
- Call 911 for police and medical assistance. The police will advise you if their response to the scene is necessary. Contact the police if the accident involves a hit and run, if there is property damage, if there are injuries to people, or if it is apparent that liability will be disputed. If police are present, get the police officer's name, phone number, and the police report number.
- Collect the name, address, phone numbers, email address of both the other driver and the owner of the vehicle.
- If your bicycle is taken from the scene, get the name, address, and phone number of the person taking the bicycle.
- Give the other driver your contact information (names, addresses, and phone numbers).
- Get the year, make, model, license plate number, owner's name, insurance carrier, and insurance policy number for all vehicles involved.
- If the other driver was "on-the-job," get the name, address and phone number of her employer.
- Identify any witnesses to the accident and gather their contact information.
- Do not admit fault. Give details of the accident and cooperate with the police in providing answers to their questions; do not discuss the accident with others;
- If you or a bystander has a camera, take photos of the damage to the vehicles, the accident scene, and people involved.
- As soon as possible, seek medical care;
- Contact a lawyer experienced in handling bicycle accident claims for a free consultation whether you intend to hire a lawyer or not. It's free!
- If you anticipate making a claim, take photos of your injuries and preserve all evidence (bicycle, book bag, clothing, shoes, glasses, computer, back pack, etc.) without cleaning or altering it.
In case of emergency you should always keep the following in a saddle bag or on your person:
After the accident:
- A copy of your medical insurance card;
- A medical ID card with allergies or special medical conditions;
- A list of emergency contacts;
- Cell phone with the name "ICE" (in case of emergency) in your phone directory linked to the number of your primary emergency contact; and
- Small amount of emergency cash.
- Do not give recorded statements to any insurance adjuster until after you have talked with an experienced bicycle lawyer.
- Do not sign anything that would give your health insurance carrier the right to be reimbursed from any settlement without first discussing it with your bicycle attorney.
- Obtain photos of your injuries, the bicycle, your clothing and helmet and the accident scene.
- Keep all documents received from your care givers and health insurance.
- Keep your bicycle and clothing in the same condition they were in immediately after the accident. Don't wash your clothing. Bag it and keep it for evidence of your visibility and injury. Don't alter or disassemble your bicycle until you receive the okay from your attorney.
- Keep your prescription bottles and any medical apparatus associated with your injury and recovery (such as crutches, braces, slings, neck brace, head halo, casts, walker, cane, etc.)
- Write down an account of the accident.
- Start keeping a daily Pain Diary for your attorney. Periodically describe how you are feeling, what limitations you have on your activities, how much pain you are experiencing, where you are experiencing that pain, whether you are taking any medication or undergoing any treatment, and how the injuries and/or pain have affected your occupation and your lifestyle. Try to do this everyday during the initial stages of medical treatment. Include details of specific incidents that may later be related to a jury as examples. Photos showing the limitations under which you have had to suffer can also be helpful. Take a photograph of yourself wearing or using any medical apparatus and of the area that you have been spending most of your convalescence. Also note the names of any witnesses who might be able to describe your condition during such times.
Important Information: The making of the above suggestions does not create an attorney-client relationship with the reader. The information should not be considered legal advice and should not be relied on as if it were.
Attorney, Ken Rosskopf is licensed to practice in Georgia, and has his own firm: Kenneth A. Rosskopf, P.C.
He represents bicyclists injured through the negligence of others. His office is located at 119 N. McDonough St., Suite 150, Decatur, GA 30030. Telephone (404) 378-0955 or toll free 1-(800) RUN-BIKE (786-2453).