There are certain steps you must take to successfully file a bicycle insurance claim. Any error in the filing process can result in your compensation being delayed or denied. So, it’s important to meticulously follow each of the key steps outlined below.
Step 1: Gather evidence at the accident scene
Prioritize safety immediately after a bicycle-car accident. Get yourself and your bicycle out of the line of traffic to prevent another collision. Then:
- Call the police and wait for them to arrive. A police report will serve as an official record of the incident.
- Take photographs of the accident scene. Include visible injuries, the position of the vehicle, and damage to your bike.
- Collect contact and insurance information from the other party involved.
- Get witness statements and contact information.
Step 2: Seek medical attention
It’s always best practice to get immediate medical attention, even if you don’t feel injured or your condition seems minor. Injury symptoms may not be immediately apparent, especially if you’re feeling adrenaline or shock.
Getting prompt medical attention allows you to identify and treat your injury before it worsens. Plus, you can get an official diagnosis, linking your injury to your bicycle accident. This will be important when proving the legitimacy of your injury.
Step 3: Notify your insurance company
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report that you were involved in a bicycle accident. Provide them with basic details such as the time and date of the accident, where it occurred, and that you’ve sustained injuries.
If your injuries were caused by a driver’s negligence, their insurance company is responsible for compensating you. However, these companies often aim to keep their costs down. They might contact you for a statement or information about the accident. Avoid admitting fault or making statements that could be interpreted as such.
Additionally, it's important not to accept the first settlement offer, especially if it doesn't cover all your expenses and losses. Wait until your attorney has completed the negotiation process to ensure that you’re fairly compensated.
Step 4: Documentation is key
Having documentation of your injuries is important for a successful bicycle accident claim. This provides proof of your damages and helps your attorney place an accurate value on your claim. The documentation you should keep includes:
- Bills and receipts from hospital and doctor visits.
- Medication prescriptions.
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation visits.
- Imaging and test results.
- A pain diary and journal.
- Pay stubs and records of missed work.
- Property damage estimates, bills, or receipts.
Step 5: Get legal representation
You could possibly handle a bicycle accident claim on your own, but it’s not recommended. Insurance companies often take advantage of injured bicyclists who don’t fully understand their rights or the claims process. Any error in your claim or communications with insurance companies can result in your compensation being reduced, delayed, or denied.
That’s why it’s crucial to have a strong legal advocate on your side every step of the way. An attorney can thoroughly investigate your bicycle accident by:
- Obtaining the police report.
- Taking photos of the crash scene.
- Interviewing witnesses.
- Examining medical records.
- Subpoenaing the driver’s cellphone records.
- Checking surveillance camera footage.
- Consulting crash reconstruction experts.
Once an attorney has gathered enough evidence to strengthen your case, they will begin negotiating with the driver’s insurance company for a settlement. Most bicycle accident cases are settled without going to trial. However, your attorney will be prepared for the litigation process if a settlement can’t be reached.