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Old 09-28-06, 10:17 AM   #1
LeGall215
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What should I do if I get hit? (by a car)

Hello All,

I was wondering if anyone out there could fill me in on what one should do in the event of a car on bicycle collision. I would like information on what to do right after the initial accident, what to do to file a claim (with or without a lawyer), etc... Basically any information I could get from this forum would be helpful. Thank you.
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Old 09-28-06, 10:23 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeGall215
Hello All,

I was wondering if anyone out there could fill me in on what one should do in the event of a car on bicycle collision. I would like information on what to do right after the initial accident, what to do to file a claim (with or without a lawyer), etc... Basically any information I could get from this forum would be helpful. Thank you.
At the scene:
  • Do not rush to say you are OK.
  • Do not admit any fault.
  • Get the driver's info.
  • Call the cops if there is any damage.

When I was hit, cops and ambulance showed up. Because there was a police report filed, dealing with insurance was easy. The drivers insurance covered 100% of my repair and medical costs, plus $150. If I had not gone through official channels, or admitted any fault at any time, this would probably would not have turned out so well. (If it really was your fault, don't lie about it, but don't needlessly or incorrectly incriminate yourself)

I'm not a lawyer, this is just from my own experience.
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Old 09-28-06, 11:38 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by recursive
At the scene:
  • Do not rush to say you are OK.
  • Do not admit any fault.
  • Get the driver's info.
  • Call the cops if there is any damage.

When I was hit, cops and ambulance showed up. Because there was a police report filed, dealing with insurance was easy. The drivers insurance covered 100% of my repair and medical costs, plus $150. If I had not gone through official channels, or admitted any fault at any time, this would probably would not have turned out so well. (If it really was your fault, don't lie about it, but don't needlessly or incorrectly incriminate yourself)

I'm not a lawyer, this is just from my own experience.
Very good advice (and I am a lawyer ).

I would add, assuming the driver was at fault, to be very wary of someone who says "Let's not call the cops, I'll take care of you". They almost always, to a person, will balk when it comes to paying, and with no police report, it makes it harder to prove your claim. If they were at fault, insist on calling the cops. You will then get a police report with the person's insurance info. Write to their insurance right away, don't assume he or she will. Their ins co. can deny coverage if they are not notified within a reasonable time.

If you were hurt and you want to make a claim for personal injuries, be sure to see a doctor so your injuries are documented. Insurance companies will not pay (or pay very little) if you make a claim where your only evidence is your statement that "well my shoulder and neck hurt for three weeks after the crash and it still is not 100% now."
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Old 09-28-06, 11:55 AM   #4
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First thing I would do, after making sure all my limbs were still attached, is to get the license plate number. I hear alot about people who have bike vs. vehicle accidents where the motorist stops, sees the cyclist get back on there feet, then drives off as quickly as possible so as to avoid any responsibility because "he seemed to be alright so I didn't think there was a problem".
From there treat it THE SAME WAY as a vehicle accident. Call the police if there appears to be harm to your person or bike, if you took a nasty fall or even think you hit your noggin ask for paramedics as well, you are probably not a doctor and not qualified to diagnose injuries on your own. Injuries some times take a while to manifest.
File the report and follow thru with it.
And as mentioned previously, DO NOT ASSUME FAULT, even if you are at fault, you have rights, and even though fault may have been yours, the driver could be a drunk escaped convict strung out on snorting draino who had been involved in 20 previous incidents who didn't see you because he was sodomizing a poodle at the time he was driving... and the lesser of two evils prevails
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Old 09-28-06, 12:22 PM   #5
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Get the names and numbers of any witnesses.
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Old 09-28-06, 12:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeGall215
Hello All,

I was wondering if anyone out there could fill me in on what one should do in the event of a car on bicycle collision. I would like information on what to do right after the initial accident, what to do to file a claim (with or without a lawyer), etc... Basically any information I could get from this forum would be helpful. Thank you.
I wrote a comprehensive article on this very topic! It describes what to do at the crash scene, getting medical care, getting your bike fixed, handling the insurance claim, deciding when to and how to find a lawyer, and so on.

You'll find it at
http://www.massbike.org/resources/crash.htm

Hope this helps!

Tom Revay
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Old 09-28-06, 01:50 PM   #7
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My father was hit by a car backing out of a driveway last summer, ambulances showed up but he refused their service saying he was OK. His bike did recieve some damage.

Cops and ambulance came, filed report and ticketed driver. My father contacted his insurance company that day, off the bat they offered him $1000 for him to sign a paper saying he would not sue for injuries, and after a week they also bought him a new bicycle. He did get to keep his old bike (Roubaix like mine) and used part of the $1000 to repair his old one, and I got the new model

It was scary hearing he got in an accident, and then seeing him later that day with his face covered in blood (just some minor cuts) but I am glad he did not get seriosly hurt and everything worked out great in the end.
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Old 09-28-06, 06:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by epix1718
off the bat they offered him $1000 for him to sign a paper saying he would not sue for injuries
If you get an offer like this, make sure you see a doctor or two. Make them very aware of this offer, and find out if there's any possibility of underlying injuries that could pop up later. Oftentimes, troubleshooting and testing will exceed this amount even if no major issues are discovered!

No one mentions this one enough! If you bonk your head, and feel ill afterwards, or confused, or are unconcious, even for a few seconds following a smack to the head, go directly to the hospital. (mom was an ER nurse) Any blow to the head strong enough to cause even a minor concussion can potentially lead to bleeding or swelling of the brain.

If you have a car and car insurance, personal injury protection and un(der)insured motorist coverage can really come in handy if the fargin bastich gets away. Not to mention, a decent insurance company will fight for you, if only to dodge the claim, when the other guy's insurance gives you the runaround.
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Old 09-29-06, 07:32 AM   #9
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Don't be afraid to have someone call 911 and get yourself checked out. I mean, you just got hit by a CAR for goodness sake! I think the first reaction of most people, is to mmediately say "No no, I'm okay, I'm okay" (I know I caught myself doing that once, even though I was leaving a pool of blood on the road from my nose).

jw
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Old 09-29-06, 08:01 PM   #10
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I assume you carry your cell phone - check to see if it has a GPS module in it and make sure it is activated. I was hit from behind this summer in a stretch of road where I could not see any addresses. When I called 911, they didn't understand where I was until I told them my cell number and that it has GPS - they located me with it. Not all areas have the capability yet, but if so, it can speed help to you.
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Old 09-30-06, 08:00 AM   #11
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Note: Sometimes when you crash (whether or not you've been hit), you may not be in any shape to be playing around with a cellphone. You may not be necessarily on your death bed, but you may be rolling around on the ground trying to catch your breath, or just be happy to curl up in a ball trying to get out of the road.

When I hit another cyclist head on while riding a bike path, neither of us were in any hurry to get up off the ground.

Just something to keep in mind.

jw
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Old 09-30-06, 09:43 AM   #12
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Don't be afraid to have someone call 911 and get yourself checked out. I mean, you just got hit by a CAR for goodness sake! I think the first reaction of most people, is to mmediately say "No no, I'm okay, I'm okay"
I pull on my Nomex and begin my rant:

Paramedics cannot definitively "check you out." I learned to hate those words over twenty years, although had I been paid $1 for every time they were uttered to me, I would be incredibly rich now. Going to the ER for very minor injuries gets you tests that may be ordered not for your good, but to limit the possibility of malpractice suits. Needless tests get paid for every day, and that is part of why medical/insurance costs are so high. Calling 911 for minor injuries ties up a unit that may be needed for someone with serious problems.

If you're hurt, can't tell because you dinged your head, or legitimately cannot tell if something is really broken, by all means seek treatment. If you know that there is nothing wrong with you that Tylenol and a bandaid cannot fix, do what your grandparents would have done-deal with it.

No matter what else you do, make sure you can get the bike fixed or replaced. Flesh heals, aluminum and carbon fiber do not.

End of rant.
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Old 09-30-06, 09:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recursive
At the scene:
  • Do not rush to say you are OK.
  • Do not admit any fault.
  • Get the driver's info.
  • Call the cops if there is any damage.

When I was hit, cops and ambulance showed up. Because there was a police report filed, dealing with insurance was easy. The drivers insurance covered 100% of my repair and medical costs, plus $150. If I had not gone through official channels, or admitted any fault at any time, this would probably would not have turned out so well. (If it really was your fault, don't lie about it, but don't needlessly or incorrectly incriminate yourself)

I'm not a lawyer, this is just from my own experience.

This is exactly what to do if a car vs car crash occures. Treat a bike vs car crash the same way and INSIST that the person who strikes you follows this well established proceedure.
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Old 09-30-06, 10:03 AM   #14
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I agree with just about all of this, except the part of call the cops IF there is damage. Always call the cops. You may not immediately be aware of damage either to yourself or to the bike. The car driver may be a crooked individual and claim that you damaged his car and that you should pay.

The circumstances can immediately be documented by a non-biased third party. Yes, some cops will balk at coming out, but if you insist they will come out.
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Old 09-30-06, 10:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeGall215
Hello All,

I was wondering if anyone out there could fill me in on what one should do in the event of a car on bicycle collision. I would like information on what to do right after the initial accident, what to do to file a claim (with or without a lawyer), etc... Basically any information I could get from this forum would be helpful. Thank you.
DO NOT REMOVE YOUR HELMET.
Call 911, report a auto/bicycle collision, you should get both an EMS and police response, the police will
gather all evidence that is needed, and write a report. EMS will check you out, probably put a Collar on you and transport to hospital, you will also get a report from the hospital. The reason you do not remove your helmet is in case of head or neck injuries.

Your police and emergency room reports are evidence, that could be used in a court case. It's a good idea to take your reports, and go visit your lawyer, any attempted contact by the driver or his insurance company should be deferred to your lawyer. Most often insurance companies want get as much as they can, from each penny of settlement, so they want to remove any rights you might have. If your lawyer is part of a larger firm, (s)he will usually refer you to another member of the firm, who is more specialized in such agreements.
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Old 09-30-06, 12:14 PM   #16
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Posted by Wogsterca: It's a good idea to take your reports, and go visit your lawyer, any attempted contact by the driver or his insurance company should be deferred to your lawyer. Most often insurance companies want get as much as they can, from each penny of settlement, so they want to remove any rights you might have.
_______________________________________________________________________________________

Attorneys do this for free, right? Wrong - they also have a financial interest in it and while many times it may be appropriate to utilize an attorney, it's not always needed. There's absolutely nothing wrong with conferring with one, but in less serious situations many can do just fine without paying the attorney for representative. Do some insurance companies take advantage of people and situations? Yes, certainly - but many seek simply to be fair. Naturally everyone's definition of "fair" differs. After my accident this year, many people say "sue the crap out of them..." However, they've been fair so far. They've paid every penny I asked so far. I haven't dealt with the injury settlement yet, so there's definitely still room error and needed assistance, but I don't feel it's correct to say "refer any attempt of contact to your attorney". However, don't jump to settle, be careful about what you say and the information you release (don't volunteer info not asked) and reserve your right for an attorney if needed.
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Old 10-01-06, 11:44 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by slowandsteady
I agree with just about all of this, except the part of call the cops IF there is damage. Always call the cops. You may not immediately be aware of damage either to yourself or to the bike. The car driver may be a crooked individual and claim that you damaged his car and that you should pay.

The circumstances can immediately be documented by a non-biased third party. Yes, some cops will balk at coming out, but if you insist they will come out.
Not always. Check the legislation of your state or province.

In Ontario, you only call a cop if the damage is over $1,000 and/or someone is injured and ambulance has to be called, otherwise exchange information such as name and address, insurance policy #, license plate, etc. and report to the nearest police station later.

The adjuster of your own insurance company (if any) will sort out the mess with the insurance company of the other party. If you do not have a car, you will have to depend on the insurance adjuster from the other party.

I had an accident last year and the driver from Quebec was a crook. He sweared at me after backing up into me. But in the end, his insurance company in Quebec had to pay all damages to me via my insurance company. I do not know if his premium went up, but my did not.

NOTE: for injuries, you can choose your own doctor for treatment, but the insurance companies have the right to sent you to their own doctors or medical centres for reports on your recovery.
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Old 10-02-06, 12:03 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by SSIndyRider
Posted by Wogsterca: It's a good idea to take your reports, and go visit your lawyer, any attempted contact by the driver or his insurance company should be deferred to your lawyer. Most often insurance companies want get as much as they can, from each penny of settlement, so they want to remove any rights you might have.
Not quite true. In an accident, you should be represented firstly by your own insurance company to deal with the insurance company of the other driver. When the adjusters of two insurance companies sit together to sort out the aftermess of an accident, each adjuster will try to get the most benefit from the other party, just like what lawyers did. Bwteen the two, they will have to come to a settlement who pay what (for instance, is it 50-50% or 100-0% or 25%-75% "at fault" for both parties), according to insurance industry standards. The premiums of course will be adjusted accordingly for both parties.

The problem is if only one party is insured (usually the motorist), then what you say may happen.

The next level is of course a lawyer, if either one parties are not satisfied with the settlement. Depending on legislation, you can sue the other driver, the employer of the other driver (if he is on official duty), the city, the insurance companies, etc., or whoever you or your lawyer think can be sued.

That is why I strongly recommend all readers to review their own insurance coverages and try to find a good insurance agent.

Last edited by yuhoo; 10-02-06 at 07:41 AM.
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Old 10-02-06, 12:39 PM   #19
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Not always. Check the legislation of your state or province.

In Ontario, you only call a cop if the damage is over $1,000 and/or someone is injured and ambulance has to be called, otherwise exchange information such as name and address, insurance policy #, license plate, etc. and report to the nearest police station later
And how are you supposed to know what the quotes for the damage will be or if you are injured? When my miata was hit from behind by a tracter trailer, I was quite surprised that the estimate to fix the damage was over $4,000.

Call the cops anyway you have noting to lose and everything to gain.
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Old 10-02-06, 01:28 PM   #20
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Not sure where everyone is from but I've been in a couple of accidents, MC not bike, 1 where the driver had no license and the other where the driver refused to show it. 911 calls would not go through. Lost out both times. Do you keep local Police numbers in your cell phones?
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Old 10-02-06, 02:05 PM   #21
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to repeat: don't get back on your bike right away... shock has a way of masking damage, not to mention being shaky from adrenaline and distracted by anger! sure, you're in a rush and don't want to be there making a scene etc., but not having to say "if only i'd..." is (IMHO) worth it!
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Old 10-02-06, 03:15 PM   #22
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one more comment....if the ins company offers settlement for your bike be VERY careful before signing the check. Most have release of further liability statements on them, and you could eliminate your right to recover for medical treatment.
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