The Cyclist Lawyer’s Advice on the Importance of Filing Police Reports

Cyclists, if you’re ever involved with a collision with a car, here are some tips from Megan Hottman, The Cyclist Lawyer, on what to do.

From The Cyclist Lawyer

Crash Advice

BEFORE YOU RIDE

Every time you leave for a ride, take your cell phone (fully charged) with you so that you can make an emergency call if need be. Also consider wearing ID on your person or on the bike, in case you are involved in an accident and a responder needs to contact your family or quickly ascertain if you have any allergies or Rx history. Start your GPS or cell phone map app, so you can track your route in case you need to prove point of impact, the direction you were riding, or the time you entered an intersection.

IF YOU ARE ON A BICYCLE AND ARE INVOLVED IN A COLLISION WITH A MOTOR VEHICLE, WHAT YOU DO AT THE ACCIDENT SCENE AND IMMEDIATELY AFTER IS CRUCIAL…
If you are involved in a crash while riding your bike, your adrenaline, injuries, fear and anger will keep you from thinking clearly. DO NOT SAY A WORD to the motorist. Instead, do the following:

1. Medical care comes first -are you injured?

Does an ambulance need to be called? Are you able to call or does someone need to call on your behalf. If you fear you have a neck/head/back injury, try to remain still and ask someone to block traffic/redirect traffic so that you do not risk further injury.

2. Hit and Run?

If the driver flees the scene, do your very best to note the vehicle type/color/plates/driver description or ask a bystander to help you with this.

If you are the bystander (whether in your car or on your bike) to a crash –stop! Make note of any fleeing vehicle make and model, the time of day, the intersection, license plate numbers, physical descriptions of the people involved and most importantly- what you observed. You may prove enormously helpful to the injured party and their case against the negligent party. Stay on the scene until the police arrive and give them your name, contact information and your statement. If you hope to have help from bystanders in the event you are injured, please do your part if you witness an accident!

3. Ambulance and Hospital documentation -keep the copies!

If you are injured, allow medical care providers to render care to you. This is why you have health insurance! This also documents your injuries and proves you were hurt in the accident. Do not decline an ambulance ride if you think you may have serious injuries. Make your medical care top priority. Document all of your healthcare needs and services provided to you. Keep copies of all of the paperwork given to you at the hospital. Keep receipts of deductibles you pay, prescriptions you fill, etc.

Why this matters: evidence of your injuries by ambulance ride, Emergency Room reports and records and healthcare provider documentation all substantiate the fact that you were injured in the accident. This will assist you when it comes time to deal with the driver’s insurance company.

4. Police report and investigation –be proactive!

Colorado law requires all motor vehicle accidents to be reported immediately. Your injuries and damages may not seem serious at the scene but often can be worse than you think. If the driver was clearly at fault and/or witness statements substantiate that the driver was at fault, they will be cited for hitting you. Keep the driver at the scene and get all of their contact and insurance information while you wait for the police. Do not negotiate with the driver regarding fault or damages.

Once the police officer begins his investigation, be sure it is accurate (do not assume the officer will see things from your perspective). Take your own photos of the scene with your cameraphone, such as: photos of the driver’s car, where your bike landed in the road and its condition, skid marks from the driver’s tires, speed limit signs. Ask the police officer to document or photograph if you are unable. Get the officer’s name, badge number and business card. Ask the officer if the driver will be cited, and for what. If not, why not?

Why this matters: if the driver is cited, it will make it easier for you to demonstrate to their insurance company that they were at fault.

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