When you’re a cyclist, there are a lot of risks you can face on the roadways.
Even a simple mistake on the part of vehicle drivers can lead to serious injuries for cyclists. You’ll often hear horror stories, such as trucks hitting multiple cyclists. At the same time, not every accident is severe. It’s not uncommon to be hit by a vehicle without sustaining serious injuries as a cyclist.
Around 55,000 cyclists are injured by vehicles every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
So what should you do if you find yourself in that situation?
The following are some of the things you should know if a car hits you while you’re riding your bike.
What to Do Right After You’re Hit
If you’re conscious and able to do so, there are certain things you should do right away if you’re hit by a vehicle.
First, assess whether or not you’re injured. Do a systems check to see if you can move your arms and legs and whether there are any injuries preventing you from moving.
If you can move, go to the sidewalk or shoulder of the road.
Certainly, the last thing you want to do is stay in the path of another car if you can help it.
Even if you don’t notice any significant injuries right away, you should still call 911. Adrenaline might prevent you from noticing pain or injuries immediately following an accident.
Some of the injuries that might not be apparent when you’re first hit include traumatic brain injuries and injuries to your spine and back.
When you call 911 regardless of injuries or potential injuries, then you’re getting a legal record going that will show what happened.
If you can, gather details about the collision and make notes for yourself on your phone. Take a lot of photos showing the situation surrounding the accident, the other vehicle, and anything else that might be relevant.
If you think someone witnessed what happened or there are bystanders, ask for their contact information.
If you’re not seriously hurt, your first inclination after being hit by a vehicle might be to feel angry. It’s important that you stay calm, however.
If you have to, just avoid the other driver until the police come.
Ask How to Get a Copy of the Police Report
Once the police respond to the scene of the accident, you should speak to the officer and go over the details of the accident to make sure they’re correct.
You should also ask the responding officer how you can get a copy of the police report.
Dealing with Insurance
If you were on a bike and you were hit by a car, you could file a personal injury lawsuit, but you may not need to.
It depends on the specifics of the situation.
For example, you may be able to get compensation for injuries by filing a claim with the driver’s insurance. Then, you might be able to reach a settlement without court.
This would be referred to as a third-party claim.
A third-party claim should allow you to recover compensation for your medical treatment, the repairs of your bike, lost income, and pain and suffering associated with the accident.
You should get all the necessary medical treatment so you have a record of that, and then gather everything that could be used as evidence. This includes photos of the accident scene and of your injuries, the police report, and any medical bills.
You’ll likely need to speak to a lawyer at this point, so they can put together a demand letter to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You can do this on your own, but it’ll make things easier and smoother if a lawyer works with you.
You should be aware that just because you’re on a bike and a vehicle hits you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t atfault. You still have to follow the rules of the road.
What if the Driver Fled the Scene?
Finally, if you’re the victim of a hit and run, your options become a lot more limited to deal with the accident. If the driver didn’t stop, you’re probably going to have to rely primarily on your health insurance to cover the costs of your medical bills. Then, law enforcement may successfully track down the driver that hit you, but they might not.