If you are ever involved in an accident on your bicycle that involves injuries and/or property damage, it is prudent to summon authorities to the scene and obtain a police report even if the law does not require it. It can help protect you from legal trouble and may also assist you in obtaining compensation, particularly if you have collided with a motor vehicle.
Difficulties in Obtaining a Police Report
The consequences of a collision between a bicycle and a car are similar to those between two motor vehicles. In some cases they may even be worse because the chance of injury in a collision between a bicycle and an automobile is so much greater for the bicyclist than for the driver of a car.
Nevertheless, sometimes a police officer responding to the scene will fail to take a statement from the bicyclist, only from the driver of the vehicle. You have a right to have your version of the story be heard, which means that you should ask the officer to take your statement as well. However, you need to be careful in approaching the officer. Be assertive but not aggressive, and also treat the officer with the utmost respect.
If the police officer refuses to take your statement, do not press the issue. Rather, take steps to document the accident just as you would if you had been the driver of a car. This means taking pictures of the scene and obtaining contact information from witnesses. It also involves describing the crash in writing as soon as you are able following the accident, using as much factual detail as possible.
Writing down your description of the crash will help you remember all the details. The next step is to then go to the police station and ask to have the report amended to include your side of the story. This is especially important if you file an insurance claim.
Considerations for Filing a Claim
As a bicyclist involved in a collision with a car, you should hire an attorney before communicating with the motorist’s insurance company. Insurers record phone conversations and could use your words against you.
You can file a claim for damages to your bicycle as well as compensation for any injuries you receive. You should always obtain a medical evaluation after a bike accident because the symptoms of injuries, even serious injuries, may not manifest for hours or days after the crash. To find out more about what to do after a bike accident, contact a law office right away.