If you’re out riding your bike one day and a negligent driver suddenly strikes you, an idyllic experience can suddenly turn into a nightmare. You would hope that a driver who hit a cyclist would behave like a responsible member of society and make reparations if they were to blame, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. Here’s what to do if you’re involved in this unfortunate situation.
Remain at the Scene
Just as is the case when two cars collide, you need to stay at the scene until the authorities arrive to take a report of what happened. If you are injured, try not to move until help comes. If you’re able to, you can call 911 if you have a cell phone on you, or you can see if the driver can do so.
Try to be Calm and Courteous with the Driver
Even if it is evident that the driver was in the wrong when they hit you, try not to yell and scream at them. It’s not going to do any good, and the best thing is to try and control your temper. If the driver is the one doing the vocalizing, don’t respond in kind. Just speak to them in a normal tone of voice, or don’t say anything at all until they have calmed down.
Contact the Driver’s Insurance Policy Holder
It is always your prerogative whether you want to file a personal injury claim with the driver, but while you’re waiting to decide on that, you can contact the insurance policyholder of the driver who hit you. It’s possible that you’ll be able to reach an agreeable settlement with the policyholder without having to ever go to court. This is what’s called a “third-party claim,” and you can usually use it to recoup lost wages, pay for medical bills, and replace your bicycle if it was severely damaged.
You’ll Need to Prove Negligence If You Take the Driver to Court
If you decide to file a claim against the driver, you will have to prove that they were negligent in their actions. You’ll need to retain a skilled accident attorney who has experience in these types of cases. Even though the vehicle that hit you was much larger than your bike, the rules of the road still apply. Footage from traffic cameras and eyewitness accounts might be helpful in proving the driver was in the wrong.
If the Driver Did Not Stop
In the case of a hit-and-run, your options are going to be more limited. You’ll again need to turn to eyewitnesses and traffic cameras to see if the license plate number of the fleeing vehicle was captured. If you can figure out who was driving then you’ll be able to pursue criminal charges against them, but in the meantime, you will need to turn to your health insurance coverage to pay your bills.
As a bike rider, you have the same right to be on the road as larger vehicles. Remember always to obey all traffic signals and to wear safety gear as the law requires.