This is excerpted from
Is Cycling “Safe?”
By Steven M. Magas, Ohio’s Bike Lawyer
IF YOU ARE IN A BIKE CRASH…
1. Don’t Move. Many of my clients want to jump up and check on their bikes right away. Don’t do it. Just lie there and do a self-assessment. Have you lost consciousness? Can you feel/move your arms and legs? Are you bleeding? Do you have pain? Sharp pain? Shooting pain? Be able to describe how you are feeling to paramedics and EMT’s who will arrive.
2. Call the POLICE at 911. Always wait for the police to respond to the accident scene so that an official report will be filed. Do not let anyone talk you out of calling the police. Many times cyclists do not realize that they have been injured until several hours after the accident. By then, it may be too late to identify the at-fault driver or properly document the crash. Many drivers who cause accidents will initially apologize and accept blame for the accident at the scene, but later, after they have time to consider the ramifications, will deny that they were negligent. This is particularly true in bicycle crashes. The police accident report will include the driver’s statements as well as all other witness statements.
3. Seek medical attention. Riders tend to be very self sufficient and tough. Many will try to turn down offers of medical attention. DON’T DO IT. Accept help this time. Let the EMT’s treat you. This is proof that you were, in fact, injured and the medical records generated by the medical provider will help establish the extent of your injuries.
4. Take Photos. Take several photos from different angles and lighting of your injuries as soon as possible after the accident. You can’t have too many photos. Photograph the scene, the bike, the other vehicle or dog, your wounds. The grosser and yuckier the better!
5. Keep a Journal. Keep a journal (injury diary) of your physical symptoms starting immediately after the accident and make entries every day.
6. Don’t fix your bike right away. Riders tend to be tinkers and self sufficient. They want to get back to RIDING and get the bike fixed quickly. You need to keep your bike and clothing in the condition that it was in after the accident. Get the property damage assessed by an expert. Get a report of the damage AND of the “value” of the bike. Under Ohio law, your property damage recovery cannot be greater than the value of the bike. Thus, if an insurer says your used bike was only worth $100.00, they will try to cap your property damage claim at $100.00! Have a competent professional shop make an independent assessment of your bicycle and gear.
7. Stay Organized. Keep every single piece of paper relating to the crash, your injuries and your recovery organized. You will need them either in handling the claim or when you meet with an attorney...
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