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Next, don’t talk to anyone about the crash, especially who could be at fault. When the crash happens anything you say might be evaluated by the driver’s insurance company for its potential as evidence against you.
However, you won’t want to remain silent after the crash. If a law enforcement officer is at the accident site asking questions about the crash, make sure you give the officer your version of what happened along with providing your name and address.
Don’t assume that the police have prepared or will prepare an accident report. These reports are only completed if the police investigate an accident, and policies on accident reports will vary from one law enforcement agency to another. If an accident report is prepared, make sure that it is accurate.
If injured and you cannot get the names of witnesses ask someone to do it for you. When the police respond to the accident they should gather the drivers information. Make sure that the police have the information before the driver leaves.
I witnessed a bicycle versus auto accident where the car driver admitted running the red light and causing the accident. I gave the bike rider my card and told her I was a witness and that she was riding through a green light. She didn't want to take my card because the driver was being so nice and admitting fault, but I insisted.
An hour later the cop who took the accident report called me for my version of the accident because the car driver and the cyclist stories were polar opposites. The car driver told the cop that the cyclist ran the red light. After I explained how the accident actually happened the car driver was cited for running a red light and causing the accident. ALWAYS find and document witnesses.
There are statutes (laws) in most states that require a driver to pass a cyclist at a safe distance as well as give warning and exercise care to avoid colliding with a cyclist. If the driver hit you with a car then the driver has violated these laws. Remember this and tell the police that you are aware of the law regarding cyclists and motor vehicles and why the driver should be ticketed.
The police should collect this information, but there’s no guarantee that the responding officer will do a good job or even write the driver a ticket, so if you’re not seriously injured, make sure that the police have the correct information and ask the police to write the driver a ticket.
Talk with the officer to make sure he/she has correct details of the accident and let the police know that you know what laws the driver has violated.
After the crash, you may decide that you want to file a claim with the driver’s insurance company. However, do not discuss the accident with the driver’s insurance company before speaking with an attorney. Again, the driver’s insurance company may take an adversarial position so be careful what you say and to whom you say it. Insurance companies are highly skilled at mitigating claims; so do not discuss the accident until you have consulted with an attorney.
- Call 911 and request police and EMS to the scene
- Gather witness information
- Ask the police to write the driver a ticket
- Take pictures of the car and bike
- Take pictures of the scene
- Get the car license plate number
- Do not make a statement to anyone except the police
- Consult with an attorney before you make a claim on the drivers insurance company
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