Unfortunately, not all cycling ends without injury, and many cyclists in Alaska find themselves in the terrible situation of going head-to-head with a moving car or truck.
If you’re ever in a collision with a car when cycling, there are certain steps you should and shouldn’t take. A recent article from Bicycling discusses how to handle this unfortunate situation.
First, whatever you do, don’t discuss any aspect of the crash with the driver of the car. This includes deciding who is at fault. Also, do not negotiate with the driver; from the moment of the collision, the driver’s insurance company becomes your biggest adversary.
Anything you say about the crash will be evaluated by the driver’s insurance company and can be used as evidence against you.
Even if the driver is obviously at fault, the opposing insurance company will try to turn you words and actions against you to minimize the amount they pay towards claims.
If law enforcement is present, give your account of what happened, while also providing pertinent information, like your name and address.
Try to remember everything the driver said after the crash. Often times they will apologize right after a collision, but later deny that they admitted fault.
Don’t let the driver leave without providing his or her license and proof of insurance information. If the driver refuses to provide these, call the police immediately.
Be sure to make a note of the make, model, and color of the driver’s vehicle, as well as the license plate number.
Next, get the names and contact information of any witnesses. If police arrive at the accident scene, they should get this information, but there’s no guarantee that the responding officer will be able to do so.
Don’t just assume that police have prepared or will prepare an accident report. These are typically only completed if they police investigate an accident. Also, make sure the report is accurate and not one-sided. Police often only interview the driver, especially if the cyclist is injured, and fail to get the cyclist’s side of the incident.
Whatever you do after the crash, do not discuss the accident with the driver’s insurance company before consulting an attorney. If you want to make a claim, the driver’s insurance company is not your friend.
If you’ve been severely injured in a bicycle accident, you may not be able to complete all of these tasks right away. Seek medical attention first if you are seriously hurt, and then try to achieve all other necessary steps accordingly.
If you have been involved in a bicycle accident or have questions about what to do in such a situation, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.