It’s the perfect time of year to take a bike ride, and cyclists across Wisconsin are seizing the opportunity. If you’re one of them, chances are that you’ve had numerous close calls with drivers who were driving too fast or not paying attention. Sometimes those run-ins turn into a bike versus car accident, it can be hard to know what to do—and a bicycle accident can feel very different from any car accident you’ve been involved in.
While a bike accident may be different, the consequences of the accident can be similar—and some serious consequences may not show up immediately, such as a serious injury. A bike-car accident can result in lawsuits and legal action, making it imperative to take the necessary steps to protect yourself after an accident.
If you have a phone or camera, take as many photos as possible. Take pictures of the damage (to your bike, vehicle, clothing, and helmet), car license plate, any skid marks or landmarks, the accident scene, and any injuries. While you wait for the police to arrive, do not say anything to bystanders or the other person involved in the accident, except to collect contact and insurance information.
Make a statement.
While you shouldn’t say anything to other people on the scene, make sure that you do make a statement to the police officer on scene. Tell the police officer all details about the accident, including any injuries that you may have (even minor ones). Once the report is filed, request a copy for your records. Seek medical attention for any injuries stemming from the accident; be aware that not all injuries show up right away. Some injuries can take hours to show up or can progress from a minor condition to serious over time.
Save all documentation.
Start a file with all documentation related to the accident: photos, police report, contact information. Write down a full and complete recollection of the accident (even the most minor details), as well as information about any pain or injuries that present themselves after the accident.
Consult a lawyer.
Because it can take time to resolve issues that arise from a bicycle accident, don’t make a statement to the other motorist’s insurance company until you have contacted a local and experienced lawyer. Make sure you bring all documentation to the meeting so the lawyer gets a full picture of the situation—and you can get to the final step of a satisfactory resolution.