Steps To Follow Immediately After A Crash
If you’re involved in a bicycle crash, there are important steps to follow immediately afterwards as well as in the hours and days that follow. Remember these steps so you understand your rights and can protect yourself in the event of a crash.
STEPS TO TAKE IMMEDIATELY
Seek Medical Attention
- Your health is the number one priority! Call 911 (or have it called on your behalf). Emergency personnel (and likely police officers) will be on their way.
Take It Seriously
Treat it like a car crash and obtain the following information.
- The license plate of the car.
- The names and phone numbers of any witnesses.
- The driver’s name, date of birth, contact information, and insurance information.
- If you choose to call the police – the responding police officer’s name and badge number.
If you choose to call 911, the motorist should wait for the police to arrive. If they refuse or do not provide ID, get their license plate number, state of issue, and a description of the person driving the car.
ONCE EMERGENCY PERSONNEL ARRIVE
An incident report from the police is often required for compensation if there is personal injury or property damage. This incident report will be essential to settling the case with the driver’s insurance company.
- Note: You do not need to take an ambulance in order for there to be an incident report. If you do take an ambulance, do not count on the paramedics taking down information for a police report.
- If you’ve been “doored” (hit by a driver or passenger opening their car door), ask the officer to cite the motorist for “dooring.”
Even in cases where cyclists are badly hurt, the police do not always identify the vehicle or driver involved. The ambulance personnel will not include this information in their report; you must make sure the information gets recorded by the police. If it is a hit and run, you need to file a police report as soon as you can.
IN THE DAYS AFTER THE CRASH
Contact witnesses and ask them to email you their version of what happened while it’s fresh in their mind.
Write your own detailed description of what happened, focusing on relevant information.
Take good photos of your injuries and any damage to your bicycle.
Get an estimate for bike repairs from a bike shop. This is important for insurance and legal proceedings.
Contact a lawyer. There are two firms in the Philadelphia area who support the Bicycle Coalition and who have experience in bicycle-related cases.
If your bike route has a history of harassment or reckless driving, consider documenting your trips with an action camera that fits on your helmet or handlebars.